Created: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 04:43:00 MST
Updated: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 04:59:22 MST
LOGAN—The 2010-11 USU men’s basketball team was one of the best squads in the history of the program. That Aggies team went 30-4 on the season, 15-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, and qualified for their third consecutive NCAA tournament.
As a four-year starter, Tyler Newbold was an intricate part of that team. Since graduating, Newbold has had an interesting ride that has involved playing basketball professionally in two countries, coaching a high school team, and a job that has brought him back home.
The first leg of Newbold’s post-USU journey began in Argentina where he hooked up with the team Quilmes Mar del Plata. Newbold averaged 2.7 points playing 19 minutes a game. However, due to a random series of events, he only played three games in South America.
“I was playing pretty well, they liked me, the coach liked me, and my teammates were good. There was just a series of events where there was a guy that quit, and there was another guy that was hurt at the time so it left them scrambling,” Newbold said.
“They were both big guys, and it left them scrambling to find a big guy, so they went after an American guy, and we already had the amount that we could have on the team. So, they came to me and were like, ‘We don’t want to do this, but we’ve got to send you home.’”
Despite the abrupt ending, Newbold said his time in Argentina was a great learning experience and that he didn’t regret going. All told, he spent three months in the South American country, from August-October 2011.
Newbold didn’t have to wait long for another opportunity. Playing in Australia, Newbold’s former USU teammate Gary Wilkinson was able to help him get noticed. Newbold was picked up by the Auckland Pirates in early 2012, and headed off – along with his wife Jennie – to New Zealand to play.
“I had a great time down there. My wife was able to be there with me. It’s a beautiful country and we got to spend a lot of time on the beach,” Newbold said. “We didn’t have any language barrier, which was really fun, and we got some good experience driving on the other side of the road.”
Another bonus of living and playing in New Zealand, was being reunited with the Wilkinson’s. Newbold said he and his wife were able to spend most weekends with the Wilkinson family. Newbold also said he and Wilkinson were able to go to see each other play, which was also fun.
However, the good times wouldn’t last in Auckland either. Despite averaging 11.4 points per game and playing an average of 25 minutes a game for the Pirates, he received bad news there as well.
“That one was kind of frustrating, just because I didn’t see it coming at all,” Newbold said. “They just came to me after the fifth game, and they were like, ‘We found a guy from the Australian league (which had just got over) that we were looking at before. We didn’t think we were going to be able to get him, and now we can, so we’ve been happy with you, but we want to go this direction.’ It’s kind of frustrating how that goes sometimes, but I think everything happens for a reason.”
In between his two professional playing stints, Newbold stayed involved with the game as an assistant coach for the Sky View High School boy’s basketball team. While there, he helped the Bobcats become co-champions of Region 5, before ultimately falling in the 4A State Playoffs.
“I enjoy coaching, and that’s definitely something I’m working at right now – do I want to continue to go down that coaching route?” Newbold said. “I think if the right opportunities were there I would definitely look at them and think about it because I love the game.”
While coaching may be in his future, playing at a professional level could be a thing of the past for Newbold. With a recent move to Cottonwood Heights to take a job with the law firm of Bennett, Tueller, Johnson, & Deere, he said he and his wife have decided to focus on a future that may not involve basketball.
“In the back of my mind it’s like, ‘Should I be done?’ Because I love the game, so it’s always tempting to hear offers and opportunities,” Newbold said. “I’m not going to say never, or it would never happen again, because if something came available I would definitely look at it – just with my nature – but at this point I think I’m just looking for other opportunities.”
Regardless of whether or not Newbold ever takes the court at a professional level again, he said the opportunities that he’s had are something he’ll never forget or regret.
“I’ll look back with no regrets. I would have regretted not at least giving it a shot,” Newbold said. “It’ll be exciting to tell my kids I played pro ball – no matter how long it was, at least I gave it a shot. It was a good time.”
Regardless of what the future holds for the former Aggie great, one thing is for sure, Utah State and Cache Valley will always be a place he calls home.
“I love it. I’ll always be an Aggie, I’ll always be an Aggie fan, I’ll always want to come to all the games and be supportive and be involved with the program,” he said. “It’s something that always will be close to my heart.”