BYU Basketball: 4 Role Players Who Must Step Up for Cougars to Reach Big Dance
Dave Rose and the BYU basketball team is on the NCAA tournament bubble. For many, BYU is considered one of the first four out. They are in great need of some more big wins and can't afford embarrassing losses.
The Cougars have already received steady contribution from their three main playmakers (Tyler Haws, Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino), but the players behind them have not even been close to great.
There are several Cougs that will need to step up in order for BYU to make the Big Dance, and here are four of them.
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Brock Zylstra has been by far BYU's quietest starter this season, with only 7.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. He still finds himself as one of the first five on the court for the Cougs mainly due to a lack of depth at the small forward position.
If the Cougars can get 70 points per night from their starting five (which they are currently falling about nine points short of) they will be a much better team. That means that Zylstra will need to clean up his game, not only on the scoring end, but on defense also.
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Nate Austin showed Cougars fans the potential that he has as a player in Spokane last week, as he was one of the only cogs running smoothly in a BYU offense against Gonzaga. On four of five shooting from the field and three blocks, Austin was easily the most surprising player against the Zags.
I doubt that we will see Austin start for the Cougs any time soon, but he will need to continue to quietly contribute on both ends of the floor.
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Winder has been awarded with double-digit minutes in BYU's last five games and has not taken it lightly. The 6'3" guard has snagged over three rebounds per game despite limited playing time and you could argue that he is the best defender on the Cougar roster.
BYU is still looking for someone that can direct the offense at a high-tempo pace when Matt Carlino is off of the court and Winder could be that player. Splitting minutes with Craig Cusick at backup point guard may not be the long-term solution and Winder should step up his game and become the permanent reserve.
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Josh Sharp is a really, really good player, but his game is extremely inconsistent.
It seems that Sharp is always on a streak of some sort, whether it be plenty of rebounds or high-scoring games. He never is consistent on both the boards and in his scoring at the same time, and if he can balance the two, BYU could have quite the frontcourt.
Brandon Davies is still looking for a great partner in the Cougar post and, although Sharp has the potential to be that player, he hasn't been consistent enough to do so.