UTAH STATE AGGIES

Hard Work Paying Off For Former Utah State Standout Sam Merrill

Dec 26, 2023, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:16 pm

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Former Utah State shooting guard Sam Merrill is taking full advantage of his opportunity with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the Cavs reeling from recent injuries, Merrill scored back-to-back career-highs in wins over the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz in the week leading up to Christmas.

RELATED: career-highCavaliers Outshoot Jazz Behind Merrill Career-High

 

Two nights after scoring 19 points and hitting 5-of-10 threes in a 135-130 win over the Houston Rockets, Merrill exploded against his hometown Utah Jazz.

“We all work too hard to not enjoy moments like this,” Merrill said after hitting 8-of-14 threes on his way to 27 points in a 124-116 shorthanded Cavaliers win over Utah.

RELATED: Merrill’s Career-High Helps Cavs Beat Rockets In OT

“I’ve worked as hard as I could and felt like there were times when maybe this wasn’t going to work out… In high school, my goal was to play division one basketball. The NBA was never even in my sights.”

Former Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang credited Merrill’s even-keeled approach for the recent success. “The best part about Sam is that he’s never too high, never too low. He just comes in and does his work. I think it’s good that the world gets to see that Sam Merrill is a really good basketball player.”

After playing 54 combined minutes against the Rockets and Jazz, Merrill left the Cavs game against New Orleans on December 21 with a wrist injury. He hasn’t played since.

About Sam Merrill

Before his professional career, the Bountiful High product was a star for the Aggies. During his time at USU, Merrill was honored as AP Honorable Mention All-American (2019), Mountain West Conference Player of the Year (2019), first-team All-Mountain West (2019 & 2020), and Mountain West tournament MVP (2019 & 2020).

After a standout career at USU, Merrill was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the No. 60 overall pick during the 2020 NBA Draft. Merrill was sent to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a draft day trade.

RELATED: Former Utah State Guard Sam Merrill Selected By Milwaukee Bucks In 2020 NBA Draft

Since his rookie season, Merrill has played for the Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Cavaliers. He’s also played in the G League for the Memphis Hustle and Cleveland Charge.

In 2021, Merrill helped the Bucks win the NBA Finals.

During his NBA career, the Utah State alum has averaged 3.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.3 steals in his first 54 games played.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State opens Mountain West play against Air Force (7-5) on Tuesday, January 2. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MT).

USU is 25-7 all-time against the Falcons and 9-7 in Colorado Springs. The Aggies have won the last four games in the series after sweeping AFA in two games last season.

Listen to USU basketball games on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics here. 

Take us with you, wherever you go.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, and video and stay updated on all your favorite teams.

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

  • Utah State Aggies Team Leaders

  • Utah State Aggies Standings

Utah State Aggies

Isaac-Johnson-Utah-State-Aggies...

Brian Preece

Jerrod Calhoun To Lead Utah State Basketball On European Tour

First-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun and the Aggies will play teams from across Europe on a tour that spans August 9-19.

16 hours ago

utah state guard mason falslev...

Brian Preece

Utah State Guard Mason Falslev Named One Of Nation’s Top Sophomores

Mason Falslev has been a Utah State fan favorite since debuting as a redshirt freshman for the MW regular season champs in November 2023. 

2 days ago

nate dreiling utah state...

Brian Preece

Utah State Football Interim Head Coach Nate Dreiling Focused On Moving Forward After ‘Whirlwind’ Past Two Weeks

It may not be how he wanted to become a head coach, but Utah State interim head coach Nate Dreiling has the keys to the car

5 days ago

mountain west football trophy...

Brian Preece

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez Embracing Change In College Athletics

Mountain West Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez is ready to lead the charge into the next era of Mountain West athletics.

5 days ago

utah state afety ike larsen...

Brian Preece

Two Aggie Stars Talk Coaching Changes & The Immediate Future Of Utah State Football

Safety Ike Larsen and graduate senior QB Spencer Petras headline the 2024 Utah State football team in 2024.

6 days ago

utah state end zone pylon Nate Dreiling...

Brian Preece

Who Is Utah State Football’s Interim Head Coach Nate Dreiling

In steps first-year Utah State coach Nate Dreiling after he was named interim head coach for the 2024 season.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Hard Work Paying Off For Former Utah State Standout Sam Merrill