Matt Carlino will not be available for a game until mid-December.
Yet he's already making an impact on BYU's basketball team through four practices.
The transfer and likely next Cougar point guard, who arrived in Provo right when Jimmer-mania started to take off, will play a big role right now even as his brief stay at UCLA means he isn't eligible until Dec. 17 when the team plays host to Baylor.
"It's kind of hard to talk about Matt right now," BYU head coach Dave Rose said, noting that it'll be a while before Carlino can threaten to fill up a box score.
Right now, Carlino will be put in situations ranging from first-team point guard, to second-teamer. As the season draws nearer to official (Nov. 11 at Utah State) he could even find some scout-team work to help the others prepare until it's his turn.
"Whatever I can do," Carlino said. "I am just glad that this is such a great situation for me."
He's already been connected to a pair of other high-profile hoops schools.
Carlino lived in Arizona and committed to Indiana before his sophomore year of high school. Thinking he would become a Hoosier, he wound up moving to the campus town of Bloomington. There was talk he would graduate a year early and transition toward the next level.
Instead, Carlino gauged that he hadn't been thorough enough with the recruiting process. (His good friend from high school is actually an IU manager now.)
He wound up at UCLA. He suffered a concussion in the preaseason and wound up not playing for the Bruins.
Carlino repeatedly called the move to Westwood "a bad fit." He declares that it was an on-court situation more than anything, saying the coaching staff saw him as a 6-foot-3 shooting guard and a three-point shooting specialist off the bench.
"I know I can do more than that," Carlino said. "I don't know why (UCLA) wanted that. ...I can't jump over the rim...it was just a different system."
In that sense, he's a lot like Fredette - once pigeon-holed into playing a spot (shooting guard) that he didn't feel most natural. That was Jimmer's freshman year, before he was moved to the ball-handling role.
Carlino already is getting compared to Fredette a ton.
Not exactly a fair deal, considering Fredette capped his senior year as the nation's leading scorer and player of the year in the country.
Carlino called it "saint like" how Fredette handled all of the commotion.
"Jimmer was already getting big, but it wasn't like he was on ESPN everyday when I got here," Carlino said. "Then he blew up. I learned a lot by guarding Jimmer; the way he thinks. He's always a step or two ahead of everyone, so it was interesting."
Rose was curious to see how Carlino would handle the first 8-12 practices. Carlino's transfer status kept him from playing during the team's summer trip to Greece.
Carlino, after recovering from the head injury, was prepared to play. But he didn't take the court during a game in New York City, or the trip to Kansas the Bruins almost (and should have) escaped with a win.
Carlino said he knew it was time to go when he didn't get called off the bench against Montana, a team that defeated the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion.
"It was kind of weird how I didn't get to play in that game," Carlino said. "I was one of the best shooters, in my opinion, on the team. (Montana) was playing zone the whole game and I didn't even get in. I was like, 'if you can't put me in (during) that situation...'."
But if he played, "I wouldn't be here probably," Carlino said. "It was a blessing."
He does carry one souvenir from his short Westwood stint.
It's a John Wooden-inspired "competitive greatness" rubber bracelet. Carlino wears it during practices at the Marriott Center.
"I guess it could be considered kind of weird that I wear it, but I think coach Wooden is bigger than UCLA," he said.
Jason Franchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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