Scott G. Winterton / Deseret News
Coming into the 2011-12 season, senior Charles Abouo was expected to be the key defender on the perimeter after the loss of defensive standout Jackson Emery. Abouo improved year over year in almost every major offensive statistical category and scored in double figures 18 times. However, Abouo's foul trouble issues led to inconsistent scoring outputs in many of BYU's big WCC games this year (at home against LMU and Gonzaga and both Saint Mary's games). Abouo started every game for the Cougars this year and set the all-time BYU record for consecutive games played (137 and counting), posting three double-doubles and narrowly missing three more.
Prior to Matt Carlino taking over the reins at point guard, Anson Winder started six consecutive early-season games, leading the Cougars to a 5-1 mark in those games and averaging approximately 4.0 assists per contest. After playing sporadically during the first part of the WCC conference season, Winder made the transition to starting 2 guard for the last seven regular-season games as Dave Rose elected to use Winder's defensive abilities in the starting lineup (Winder had 14 steals in the last 10 regular-season games). The redshirt freshman struggled from the three-point arc, with the exception of the Buffalo and the Pepperdine games, when he tallied nine of his 22 three-pointers on the year.
Brock Zylstra tied a BYU record with six consecutive three-point field goals at home against San Francisco and made at least four three-pointers in six games. However, like many of the Cougars' perimeter players, Zylstra struggled mightily with inconsistent shooting performances throughout the year, including a 1-for-19 slide in the middle of the WCC schedule. Will his 20-point outburst against Portland launch Zylstra into a much-needed scoring option for the Cougars in the postseason, or will it be another peak on the up-and-down season for the Rose's sixth man?
Stephen Rogers has missed significant time this season with a knee injury and has played double-digit minutes in only one game since the Dec. 10 game at Utah. After providing a scoring spark off the bench in 2010-11, Cougars fans were hoping that Rogers would replace some of the outside scoring punch from Fredette and Emery. Rogers showed signs of being a big-time perimeter scorer after torching Oregon and Weber State with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Rogers' regular season, unfortunately, was derailed shortly thereafter, but Rose is optimistic that Rogers will be able to contribute in the postseason.
True freshman Damarcus Harrison filled in admirably in the Cougars backcourt during the preseason as the team waited for Carlino to be eligible. Harrison scored 11 points against Longwood (including three three-pointers) and had a positive performance against nationally ranked Wisconsin (nine points). But as the season went on, minutes were harder to come by for Harrison as Rose developed his rotation at the wing with an Abouo-Zylstra-Winder combination. Harrison did provide a key offensive spark in the home contest against Gonzaga with 5 first-half points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in only eight minutes of play.
Inconsistent offensive production from the Cougars' wings is a reason why BYU finds itself squarely on the bubble. BYU's wings must shoot efficiently from the perimeter for the Cougars to advance in the WCC and NCAA tournaments.