Role players are an essential piece of the pie in regard to a team’s success. Is that role player going to set a big screen, dive on the floor after a loose ball, or do anything asked of them in order to win the game? These are the guys who don’t get enough credit because they are not usually the superstars of their various squads.
But, whether it is coming off the bench as the sixth man or being a defensive specialist, these guys make plays and have earned the trust of their coaches. It is why they see the floor especially in key moments. With that being said, here are five role players who return for another run with their respective squads.
Harrison Butler – Southern Utah
Speaking with SUU head coach Todd Simon on Tuesday, he raved about Butler. The guy just wants to win and will do whatever he is asked to accomplish that. Butler was SUU’s Sixth Man in 2021-22. The 6-5 guard averaged 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and shot 42 percent from the field in 21.5 minutes per game.
It’s Butler’s explosiveness that excites his head coach. And they will need that explosiveness to fill the void left by the highlight-reel John Knight III. Simon even said that if they had to take the floor now, Butler would be one of his starters. Keep an eye on this senior guard who is in his final season at SUU.
Justin Harmon – Utah Valley
If you missed Utah Valley’s 72-65 overtime win over then-No.12 BYU on Dec. 1, then you missed a good one. Yes, Fardaws Aimaq went for 24 points and 22 rebounds in the win. Massive night.
But, had it not been for the heroics of Justin Harmon off the bench for Mark Madsen’s squad, this game would have turned out much different. Harmon scored a career-high 24 points, pulled down seven rebounds and also had three blocks in the win. It was a coming out party of sorts for the transfer from Barton Community College.
And in 2022-23, without Aimaq, Harmon’s role is going to increase. In fact, along with Trey Woodbury, Utah Valley may have one of the best guard duos in the WAC. But it’s all about staying healthy. Harmon missed almost two months due to a wrist injury. The BYU game was the last game Harmon played before taking the floor on Jan. 27 at Chicago State.
Athleticism, quickness, and ability to finish at the rim are all attributes Harmon possesses. And he may be asked to come off the bench once again for the Wolverines. But, Harmon has shown his ability to fill that role to perfection.
Latrell Jossell – Stephen F. Austin
The Kansas transfer was a 3-point specialist for the Jacks in 2021-22. Jossell led the Jacks with 70 made 3-pointers and shot 37 percent from the perimeter. Another key is Jossell played the third-most minutes for the Jacks behind Gavin Kensmil and David Kachelries. And Jossell didn’t even start all 32 games. That tells you right there how much trust Kyle Keller has in his 5-11 sophomore guard from Chicago. And Jossell was one of the best role players in the WAC.
With no Kensmil or Kachelries, Jossell will have his number called much more on 2022-23. And that’s wild to think about considering the Jacks return quite a bit. Day Day Hall, Jaylin Jackson-Posey, Roti Ware, Nigel Hawkins, and Derrick Tezeno are all back. So there are a lot of mouths to fee. But, Jossell has earned the trust of his head coach and will get plenty of opportunities.
Tobias Cameron – Abilene Christian
“That’s my dude,” ACU head coach Brette Tanner said about his 6-5 guard from Queensland, Australia. When you watch Cameron play, there is a definite chip on his shoulder. Whether it is knocking down a pull-up jumper or finishing at the rim, Cameron is the epitome of what his head coach wants. He is one of the role players that makes ACU go.
Cameron has appeared in 113 games since stepping on campus in 2018-19. And has improved each season. And while the numbers don’t stick out, it’s the other things he does well. Rebounding, defending, getting on the floor, providing energy and spark off the bench.
Cameron plays his role on the ACU squad as well as anyone in the country. On a veteran-led squad in 2021-22, Cameron was fourth in rebounds with 130, and fourth in assists with 63. And in 2022-23, he may have to score it a bit more considering the Wildcats lost two of their top-3 scorers from the 2021-22 squad.
Dancell Leter – Utah Tech
The Odessa College transfer made a pretty significant splash for the Trailblazers in 2021-22. Leter was third on the team in scoring at 10.3 points per game, started all 31 games, and shot just under 46 percent from the field for Jon Judkins. Along with that, Leter was second on the team in rebounds at 5.2 boards per game. If that doesn’t stick out, Leter was tied for second in steals and tied for the team-lead in blocked shots.
So, you can see that this 6-8 forward from Suriname can play. he also shot nearly 37 percent from the perimeter so he can play multiple positions. With his length and athleticism, Leter is a guy that can impact a game in multiple ways. So keep an eye on him as the Trailblazers are now eligible for the WAC Tournament.