Jimmer Fredette and
Jackson Emery are gone. That's certain.
What remains to be seen is
how long it takes BYU's basketball team to help its fans — and
definitely the media — stop bringing up last season.
The Cougars met with the
media Wednesday leading up the start of the season, which is
official with Friday's practice at the Marriott
But players are expressing
confidence that leadership and scoring will be there, even if both
are spread out over more options.
"I feel like we're ready
to create our own stuff," said Stephen Rogers, who should have a
considerably bigger role for his second year in the
Take away arguably the top
backcourt in school history, more specifically the defense of Emery
and the the scoring relentlessness of Fredette, and seventh-year
head coach Dave Rose said it feels like the start of any other
Well, also take away (at
least to this point) the wild drama of last year — Jimmer-mania and
the Brandon Davies saga — and also add a new league.
"I don't think it's much
different at all. The challenge is still the same. As far as trying
to put the next team out on the floor, be competitive, compete for
championships — that feels pretty familiar," Rose said as his team
will begin a voyage to knock off West Coast Conference king Gonzaga
and its 11 consecutive regular-season titles.
From the start, BYU
expects leadership from a pair of been-there, done-that seniors in
Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo.
Abouo could also be the
versatile lock-down defender that Emery became.
There's Damarcus Harrison,
a highly touted freshman from South Carolina.
Davies' expected return,
after his March saga with the honor code office and August
re-admittance to the school, could play a huge role. Rose expects
to return to an inside-outside game to set up open scorers along
the perimeter, rather than the work of Fredette from last season —
as he attracted constant double-teams and either scored (he led the
nation in points) or had a knack for finding an open
Then there's some intrigue
that won't be known until mid-December, when midseason transfer
Matt Carlino will be in line to replace Fredette at point guard.
Built a little smaller than Fredette, but similarly quiet-mannered
and known to love scoring, Carlino will be a mystery Cougar fans
should enjoy watching develop. He resided briefly at UCLA before
deciding it was a bad fit.
“I think we're going to
surprise a lot of people, and it's going to be a good year," said
Carlino, who arrived in Provo right around the time Fredette’s fame
really took off last February.
Carlino's emergence could
be joined by forward Chris Collinsworth, who missed most of last
year with a micro-fracture injury to his knee and could take a
little while to get back to where he wants to be.
BYU is preaching balance,
plus a work ethic and unity learned from last year's team that went
32-5 and marched to its best finish in 30 years: a trip to the
"I'm not saying that
anyone can go for 50 (points) on our team this year. But everyone
on this team can learn from last year's team about playing hard
every night and bringing it everyday in practice," Carlino
∫Speaking of Davies: The
junior center was the only Cougar unavailable to media. Rose said
it was Davies' choice a few weeks ago to focus on school and
preparing for the season. It's believed that it won't be until
BYU's first regular-season game that he'll be available for quotes.
That's Nov. 11 at Utah State.
"We're excited to have him
back. I don't know about other teams. But it's great to see him
have a second chance," Noah Hartsock said.
∫Tip-ins: Brock Zylstra
revealed that his wife recently gave birth to the couple's first
child. ...Rogers actually first planned on attending the University
of San Diego – a West Coast Conference member — when he signed out
of high school in Arizona. ...BYU lists 17 players on the roster,
including nine freshman.