In Between the Golden Ages of BYU Basketball

golden_ageBYU basketball looks pretty solid right now.  Tyler Haws is back for his senior season and looks as good as ever.  Indeed, he looks so good that he was picked as the WCC preseason POY and is projected by Sports Illustrated to be the top scorer in the entire country.  While we expect him to continue scoring in bunches he won’t have to carry this team.  His stellar supporting cast includes a completely rehabilitated Kyle Collingsworth, a solid Wake Forest transfer running the point (Fischer), pretty decent depth backing up Austin (who was projected to be the #2 rebounder in the country), and a bevy of other quality player.In addition to the overstocked roster (18 total players, and four of the five walk-ons will see playing time) there are several star recruits and current missionaries that ensure BYU will be really good for several years.  Yet many in Cougarnation are looking ahead to the 2016-18 seasons, hoping for and expecting some deep runs in the NCAA tournament.

The Golden Era of BYU basketball (2008-2011)

2014-15 should be a good season, and 2015 and beyond could field some great teams.  But will those teams be as solid as the 2008-11 teams that took BYU to the tournament each year, highlighted by POY Jimmer Fredette and a sweet 16 appearance?  Most don’t realize how very deep BYU’s bench was during those years. It wasn’t just the Jimmer Fredette show (although Jimmer mania was awesome), but the total overall talent was unprecedented.  Evidence for that claim?  Look no further than how many on the 2009 roster went on to professional basketball.  We all know that Jimmer was a lottery pick and Davies eventually picked up by the 76ers (where he is now starting), but what about the rest of the team?  In addition to the two NBA players, BYU had not one, not two, but SIX other players on the 2009 roster that went on to play professionally (see table below for details).  Two of them (Magnusson and Miles) didn’t even start for the Cougars but signed pro contracts overseas.

The Next Golden Age (2015-18)

Do we have eight or more future pros on the roster right now?  Probably not, but we might have that many or more signed to play Cougar basketball.  Consider this… of the eight pros from 2009, only two of them were consensus three star or better recruits coming out of high school (Davies and Cummard).  Currently on the roster we have five with 3 stars or better (Haws, Aytes, Fischer, Nixon, Worthington).  And signed to play we have five others: current missionaries Emery, Haws, Mika; 2015 commit Zac Seljaas; 2016 commit Frank Jackson.   So this is certainly the most talent BYU has ever had to work with, and Dave Rose knows how to develop talent.

So what about 2014-15?

We were great a few years ago and most expect us to be great again in a few more years, but what about now?  Dave Rose has a pretty impressive track record of 20+ win seasons and NCAA tournament appearances (eight of last ten seasons), so I think we can expect that as a baseline and minimum.  We certainly have the talent and depth to return to the tournament and make a splash but with so much new blood it’s too early to tell how this team will gel and play together.  The schedule is similar to last season but with a more favorable OOC home schedule.  I predict a 26-10 season with a second round appearance in the big dance?  What do you think?  (post your predictions in the comments below).

Player Professional Experience
Brandon Davies (2009-13) NBA (undrafted), Philadelphia 76ers (2013-present)
Noah Hartsock (2008-12) Okapi Aalst (Belgium, 2012-13)
Charles Abuou (2008-12) CB Penas Huesca (Aragon, 2012-13), Quesos Cerrato Palencia (Spain, 2013-present)
Jimmer Fredette (2007-11) 2011 NBA Draft (10, Milwaukee); Sacramento Kings (2011-14), Chicago Bulls (2014), New Orleans Pelicans (2014-present)
Logan Magnusson (2009-11) Hanau White Wings (Germany, 2011-12)
Chris Miles (2007-10) (Czech Republic, 2010), Hanau White Wings (Germany, 2010-12), Saint-Brieuc (France, 2012-13)
Jonathan Tavernari (2006-10) Pinheiros (Brazil, 2010-11; 2013-14), Pallacanestro Biella (Italy, 2011-12), Pistoia Basket (Italy, 2012), Scafati Basket (Italy, 2012-13), Derthona Basket (Italy, 2014-present)
Lee Cummard (2005-09) NBA D-League (USA, 2009-10), Fos Ouest (France, 2010-11), Kyoto Hannaryz (Japan, 2011-12), ALBA (Germany, 2012-13), Aalstar (Belgium, 2013-15)
Trent Plaisted (2004-08) 2008 NBA draft (46, Detroit), Angelico Billa (2008-09), Zadar (2009-10), Cedevita Zagreb (2010-11), Zalgiris Kaunas (2011), Cherkaski Mavpy (2011-12), Aliaga Petkim (2012), Limoges CSP (2012-13), Ratiopharm Ulm (2013-14), Limoges CSP (2014-present)
Rafael Araujo (2002-04) 2004 NBA Draft (8, Toronto): Toronto Raptors (2004-06), Utah Jazz (2006-07); Spartak St. Petersburg (2007-08), Flamengo (2009), Paulistano (2009-10), Flamengo (2010-11), Franca (2011-12), Mogi das Cruzes (2012-14), Pinheiros (2014-present)
Travis Hansen (2000-03) 2003 NBA draft (37, Atlanta), Atlanta Hawks (2003-04), TAU Ceramica (2004-06), Dynamo Moscow (2006-09), Real Madrid (2009-10), Khimki (2010-11)

If I’m missing anyone, let me know in the comments below.