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Hansen deep in learning mode with BYU men’s basketball

By Darnell Dickson - | Nov 2, 2021

BYU freshman guard Nate Hansen dribbles the ball during the Blue and White Game at the Marriott Center on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. (BYU Courtesy Photo)

Dave Rose retired as the men’s basketball coach at BYU in March of 2019 after 14 successful seasons in Provo.

A lot has changed in the 32 months since and there are just a few reminders of Rose’s tenure on the 2021-22 roster. Senior forward Gavin Baxter committed to Rose in 2015 before serving a church mission, as did freshman guard Hunter Erickson (Class of 2018) and preferred walk-on Casey Brown, who is in his first season in the program.

Then there’s former Timpview guard Nate Hansen, who committed to Rose’s program in August of 2018.

Hansen served his church mission in Arkansas – Bentonville, home of the WalMart headquarters – during the time that Rose was headed out and Mark Pope was transitioning in.

“The new coaches would stay in touch every once in a while throughout my mission,” Hansen said. “They’re doing their stuff and I’m doing my stuff so I was just trying to stay focused on the mission. When I got closer to being home, they asked me if I still wanted to come to BYU. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is where I want to be.’ This place has the best fans in the world. So we talked and it just worked out great.”

At this point, Hansen will be studying at the feet of experienced players such as super senior Alex Barcello and transfer Te’Jon Lucas.

“These upperclassmen, they’ve been great,” Hansen said. “They expect a lot from us as freshmen, and there are seven freshmen coming in. That makes our team better. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to spend time together outside of basketball and just getting to know them has been awesome. They’ve let us be part of what they’re doing.

“Obviously they are great basketball players too. They teach us a lot. I mean, Alex, he’s a great mentor. I can ask him questions and he’s always great at giving me tips. They’ve been super helpful.”

Hansen said he served on the Missouri State campus in Springfield and is looking forward to when the Cougars play there in December.

Hansen has been home from the mission field for almost six months and is still working to get his body back in shape.

“It’s tough like everyone talks about,” he said. “It’s a difficult thing. You expect your body to be able to do what it used to do and sometimes it gets frustrating. I think it’s a mental thing where you need to just be patient and allow the process to take place. There are times that I push it a little too hard and I’ve had to pull back a little bit, but at this point I feel great.”

During his high school career, Hansen contracted a rare blood disorder called rhabdomyolysis that put him the hospital for several weeks and threatened his life. But he recovered to have a terrific senior season at Timpview where he averaged almost 25 points per game, displaying next-level quickness and a long-distance shooting touch.

The Cougars are deep and experienced at guard so this season will likely be a learning experience for Hansen. But he’s excited about the prospects of a deep NCAA Tournament run as part of this Cougar roster.

“Our goal is obviously the Final Four,” he said. “We want championships and that’s what Alex talks about on a daily basis. That’s our expectation. We might go through losses during the season but we’re going to come back and we’re going to have a great season and do whatever it takes.”

Men’s Basketball Exhibition

Colorado Christian (0-0) at BYU (0-0)

Thursday, 7 p.m. MT

Marriott Center, Provo

TV: BYUtv

Radio: BYU Radio, Sirius XM 143/BYU radio app, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM

Live stats: byucougars.com

The Word: Colorado Christian is a Division II school that plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. … Its mascot is also “Cougars.” … They return three double-digit scorers in 5-10 senior Ross Williams (19.6 ppg), 6-4 sophomore Andy Stafford (17.8) and 5-11 senior D.J. McDonald (15.1). … Colorado Christian finished 4-14 last season. … BYU officially opens the regular season Nov. 9 hosting Cleveland State.

BYU freshman guard Nate Hansen looks to pass the ball during the Blue and White Game at the Marriott Center on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. (BYU Courtesy Photo)

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