Former Aggie basketball players reunite Saturday

LOGAN – Before Stew Morrill took the court for his final home game Saturday night, more than 50 former players and coaches gathered in Logan for a reunion. Players from the Morrill era – and many from before – met to celebrate and reminisce.

Toraino Johnson, who played for Morrill from 2001 to 2003, was one of them. He said he hadn’t been back to Logan since he graduated Utah State, but didn’t want to miss his old coach’s last home game. Johnson and his family arrived late Friday night from Texas and hadn’t seen Morrill yet, but was looking forward to speaking with him.

“I’m going to just tell him that I enjoyed his time that he had with me and also the legacy that he’s left here,” he said.

Part of the reunion included a “Legends Game” in the Wayne Estes Center. Some of the former players took the court once again and competed against each other. It was the first time many of the former players had laced up their sneakers for Aggie fans in years, but the cheers were probably different than what they were used to. Instead of the regular chants heard at basketball games, shouts of “Come on Dad!” and “Dunk it Grandpa!” were more of the norm. Johnson said Morrill was a big part of helping many of these men learn and grow into what they are now.

“He’s implemented a lot of things and he’s grown up a lot of men,” Johnson said. “From young men to men now with their own families and he was a big part of that.”

Even though Morrill will soon be retired, his basketball techniques and life lessons will be passed on through former players like Johnson, who coaches a basketball team of his own at a high school in El Paso, Texas.

“He’s done so much for me as a player also as a young man,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from him and even some of the stuff that I’ve learned from him I implement with my team as well.”

Later in the evening the former players were brought into the Spectrum and recognized at halftime of Morrill’s last home game. The 1965 teammates of All-American Wayne Estes were invited to step forward as the sold-out crowd honored the Aggie great who unexpectedly died 50 years ago, hours after his record-breaking game.

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