BYU Basketball: Midseason in-Conference Report Card for the Cougars
Dave Rose and the BYU basketball team are very near to the end of their regular season, but at the same time they're worlds away from the conference tourney. The Cougars still have several in-conference games against the likes of Gonzaga and St. Mary's, along with a non-league meetup with Utah State.
The Cougs have had their highs and lows this year; they have gone on long win streaks, but have then fallen short against more dominant foes.
It's the perfect time to give out a midseason report card, as there's still much ground to cover for BYU.
The upcoming slides include grades for every Cougar player who receives an average of 10-plus minutes per game. They are graded on an A-to-F scale based on performance through the conference season (games only in the WCC).
So, here are my midseason in-conference grades for the Cougs.
Matt Carlino is playing the best basketball of his BYU career this conference season. He is averaging over 17 points and six assists per game, stats that he has never come close to in any other 10-game period.
Carlino has racked up four 20-plus point showings and has not scored in single digits since December. He deserves a grade beyond an A, but that's what I'll give him.
Tyler Haws is still averaging above 20 points per game on the season, but he hit a tough shooting slump against Gonzaga and a few games after that. On a one-point scoring night, Haws struggled all over the court. He has gotten out of that slump since, but he still is inconsistent from the free-throw line.
If he had never gotten trapped in that tough scoring drought earlier in January, he would've deserved an A.
Brock Zylstra is a solid basketball player with 7.5 points per game in conference play and shooting nearly 67 percent from beyond three-point range.
But his game inside is inconsistent. One game he will shoot 75 percent on his field goals and the next only 20 percent will fall. His numbers are good for a solid player off the bench, but as a starter, he is nowhere near great. A B would be a stretch with his numbers, but his consistency from downtown pulls his grade up a bit.
Brandon Davies has stepped up his game as of late, recording two double-doubles in the last three contests, but the rest of the conference season has been a roller coaster. His scoring has been fairly consistent with nine out of the last 10 games in double-digits, but his rebounding has been very streaky.
Davies started the conference season well with nine boards against LMU, but he only pulled down two against San Fransisco. He seemed to recover against Pepperdine and SCU with nine and eight, but then recorded none against St. Mary's. It hasn't been much different since with his continued highs and lows.
If there is one word that describes Josh Sharp, it is "unpredictable."
The 6'7" forward will score 10 to 15 points one night and then will have less than five the next. He'll go on a multiple-game streak where he pulls down more than 10 rebounds and then he'll go on a trio of games with one or two.
But when Sharp is feeling it on both ends of the court, he's a valuable player to have. He can play above the rim with ease, but he can also hit jumpers 15 feet away.
Nate Austin is a tough player to grade. He never receives a ton of minutes, and when he does, he never is someone that draws much attention.
With a 6'11" frame, Austin is one of the tallest players on BYU's roster. He is a good defender and great on the boards, but not a great scorer. He received 32 minutes against San Diego earlier this year, his career-high, but didn't score a single point.
His proficiency on defense and on the glass gives him a better score, but nothing great.
Craig Cusick is one of BYU's most efficient players, as he leads all of the guards in assist-to-turnover ratio and is an overall smart player. He isn't a great scorer, as he has scored in double-digits only once this season, but he is a great pass-first point guard.
Only once this season has Cusick played more than fifteen minutes and not dished out a dime. He doesn't receive very many minutes, but he takes advantage of the ones he gets.
Anson Winder may not average 10 minutes per game, but I still included him on this list. He was recovering from an ankle injury during the first part of the season and only recently did he start receiving consistent minutes.
But Winder has proven himself as a great defender and distributor, and although he won't see much time at point behind Carlino, I honestly think Haws should move to small forward and let Winder start at shooting guard.
His stats are nothing flashy, but Winder could become a really, really good player.