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Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (3), a returned missionary, has been a key cog in the Aggies’ 2022-2023 basketball season. Ashworth’s team plays Missouri in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos)

Returned missionaries dot Utah State’s ‘Big Dance’ hoops roster

Several Aggies players competing in the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament interrupted their playing careers to serve full-time mission assignments.

By Jason Swensen

15 Mar 2023

Latter-day Saint college basketball fans with a love for the “Big Dance” — and an appreciation for returned missionaries — will likely be wearing Aggie blue and white on Thursday, March 16.


Utah State men’s basketball roster includes five returned missionaries. The 10th seeded Aggies will take on #7 Missouri on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament at 11:40 (MT) at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center.  The game will be televised nationally on TNT.


The winner of the Utah State-Missouri game will play the winner of the second-seeded Arizona and 15th-seeded Princeton on Saturday, March 18.


The Aggies received an at-large invitation to the Big Dance after finishing the 2022-23 season with a 26-8 record.


—  Returned missionary Steven Ashworth hopes to add a NCAA tournament win or two to what has already been an outstanding season for the junior guard from Alpine, Utah.

Ashworth was named first-team all-Mountain West after averaging over 15 points and almost five assists during league play. He was also named second-team all-district by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

He served a mission in Indianapolis, Indiana, and married his wife, Peyton, in 2021.


— Utah State redshirt freshman Landon Brenchley served a Mandarin-speaking mission in Toronto, Canada.

Brenchley’s older brother, fellow returned missionary Jaxon Brenchley, played at the University of Utah.


— Aggie center Isaac Johnson served a mission in Ohio.

Johnson played high school ball at Utah’s American Fork High.


— Utah State freshman Mason Falslev is playing college ball near his hometown of Benson, Utah. Prior to playing college ball, he served a mission to Brazil.


— Senior center Trevin Dorius is concluding his college playing career competing in the Big Dance.

The Heber City, Utah, native served a mission in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dorius is married (Kalley) and is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.

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