Latter-day Saint Life

"Sports Illustrated" Names Latter-day Saint One of the Best Players in College Basketball


Decades from now, long after Sam Merrill’s jump shot and vertical leap have left him, the Latter-day Saint basketball star will likely remember 2018 as if it was yesterday.

After all, a lot happened last year for the lifelong member.

First, Merrill and his Utah State University teammates commenced upon a season that ended with a Mountain West Conference title and a coveted ticket to the Big Dance, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  

Individually, he enjoyed one of the most successful years in Aggie history—earning both conference player of the year and conference tournament MVP honors and a spot on multiple All-American lists.
Second, Merrill gave up bachelorhood in 2018, marrying Utah State soccer player Kanyan Ward in the Logan Utah Temple.

And finally, President Russell M. Nelson provided Merrill with yet another treasured 2018 memory.  On April 1, 2018, the Church president announced plans to build a temple in Managua, Nicaragua—the country where Merrill served a mission. 
Story by Jason Swenson; lead image by David Becker/Getty Images.
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