Brock Zylstra knows what it can be like, so that’s a big part of why he’s a co-captain.
The two exhibition games done, now it’s about players building confidence — even if faced with restricted roles.
“Make sure guys know we believe in them,” head coach Dave Rose said Monday, three days after BYU’s season-opening win against Tennessee State.
Rose was able to dole out the minutes close to at will, especially as the blowout developed midway through the second half.
He speaks highly of junior-college transfers, point guard Raul Delgado and forward Agustin Ambrosino, even though they played five minutes apiece. And freshman point guard Cory Calvert, also no stranger to being a bigger showcase at his previous locale, saw 10 minutes.
Zylstra said he’s offered some words of advice to some players, mostly when asked, because he knows what it’s like to go from playing four minutes a night to getting 22 like he did in the opener.
Though Rose is also building confidence in his more experienced players heading into Tuesday’s second game, facing Georgia State (7 p.m., Marriott Center).
He saw good things for guys who will be pushed the most for minutes.
Point guard Matt Carlino, who had 10 assists and five rebounds — and nine points on a fairly efficient six shots after not scoring in the first half — was referred to have made a “great step forward for him,” Rose said, “and the confidence and trust of his teammates in him. He shared the ball well, and then took advantage of his opportunities.”
Zylstra could be a sixth man in the long run, as well. But he’s also in the mix to replace graduated Charles Abouo as the team’s top perimeter defender.
He helped to get NBA prospect Robert Covington of Tennessee State into early foul trouble, and finish 2-of-12 shooting.
“I haven’t really taken that defensive role before…lock in, get a stop,” Zylstra said. “I feel like I did a pretty good job. I was pretty thrilled by it.”
Josh Sharp earned the start at power forward, and likely will again Tuesday against Georgia State, and threw down an early dunk that exemplified just how much bouncier he is this year after a tepid previous season caused in large part by returning from his LDS mission so close to the start of the season. He’s also finding his chance after replacing the graduated Noah Hartsock, last year’s leading scorer.
“Like most freshmen, it can be hard to get feel, where you should impact the game,” Zylstra said when asked about Sharp’s development. “He needs to get rebounds, block some shots, be a presence underneath. He’s doing exactly what we want him to do.”
Mostly, BYU would like to avoid the Florida State-style slip-up before heading to Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Seminoles lost Friday in their season-opener, and their No. 25 national ranking is a thing of the past as of Monday.
BYU will play FSU on Friday in the semifinals of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic, which used to be held at Madison Square Garden but has been moved to the new Barclays Center (the switch was made even before the East Coast hurricane, Sandy, hit the area).
Rose said fans, like the team, will be intrigued by Georgia State’s methodologies, especially at the defensive end where they show a variety of traps at myriad distances from the hoop.
Rose expects to start the same five players in game No. 2 — Zylstra, Carlino, Sharp, center Brandon Davies and small forward Tyler Haws — but hinted that the minutes could be dispersed differently based on strengths.
“The way that they defend, we may play a few more shooters on the perimeter,” Rose suggested. “We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out, how the flow of the game goes.”
The two junior-college players were shooting at the Marriott Center well after practice ended, perhaps getting advice from Rose or Zylstra to continue to develop. Both are 3-point shooters, which may mean their time is coming.