BYU Basketball: 6 Lessons Cougars Have Learned This Season
BYU is on the home stretch of a fairly frustrating basketball season for nearly anyone involved with the program. If any season could be called a roller coaster, I would call this one it.
Any time the Cougs rose up in a big win streak or chalked a quality win on their schedule, they soon plummeted down with a bad loss or two.
But a lesson can be learned from anything, and there are several here for the Cougars. Here are six lessons that they surely have learned thus far.
Tyler Haws Is the Future of BYU Basketball
If Tyler Haws didn't return from his LDS mission this year, I could have seen the Cougars post a 18-13 record and have an empty postseason.
That's how important Haws is to this BYU program.
The sophomore sharpshooter is the best scorer that has worn white in the Marriott Center since Jimmer Fredette, and he averages 20.7 points and 4.6 boards per game. He still has another two years of eligibility and will likely be the focal point of the next few Cougar teams.
It's a Great to Have a Good Recruiting Class Coming In
BYU's 2013 recruiting class is one of the strongest in history, with two players (Eric Mika and Nick Emery) in the top 45 of the ESPN 100 rankings. Other players, such as Luke Worthington and Jakob Hartsock, will also come to Provo next year, and TJ Haws will join the ranks in 2014.
It is a really, really great thing to have such a great class coming to BYU, especially with the recent struggles the Cougs have faced. These players are the ones that will be leading BYU in a few years, and it is nice to see such a talented group.
Matt Carlino, Anson Winder Are Still Works in Progress
I will be honest—like many Cougar fans, I have never been sold on Matt Carlino. He is a good, young player, but his game is plagued by turnovers and inconsistency.
He and Anson Winder have stepped up as of late, and I am beginning to become more comfortable seeing the two on the court. Along with Tyler Haws, these two guards are the future of BYU's backcourt, and their game is still on the rise.
The Cougs Need to Keep Big Leads When They Have Them
The most important lessons are learned from mistakes, and this one definitely is. Three times this year—against Baylor, St. Mary's and San Fransisco—the Cougs have built up a double-digit lead and then slow down to watch the deficit crumble into nothing.
BYU needs to learn how to stay on top and finish games. I'm sure that Dave Rose has addressed this issue over and over. Hopefully, it will soon make an impact.
Nothing Good Comes from Inconsistency
It's hard to count how many times that BYU's starting lineup has faced changes this season. It seems that every week a tweak here or there is made. Several times a lineup change has benefited the Cougs for good, but it often led to inconsistency and a disappearance of chemistry between players.
I'm sure it would be frustrating to be a starter one game and then take bench role the next. If BYU can find one five-man rotation that works, I bet that there would be a lot more consistency on both ends of the court.
The WCC Is Not a Good Fit for the Cougars
I have a great respect for the West Coast Conference, along with its players, coaches and programs. It is tough to succeed on the national stage while being a member of a mid-major conference.
Which is exactly why BYU needs to leave. The enrollment at Brigham Young University is nearly four times the amount of LMU's, the second-largest school in the WCC. BYU has by far the best facilities of anyone in the conference, and they could survive on the court in any conference.
When Tom Holmoe left the MWC to gain exposure and become a nationally-recognized brand, he did so for football, but took a step down on the basketball side. BYU is now considered a mid-major in hoops, and wouldn't be had they stayed in the MWC.
I have respect for the WCC, but many Cougars know that it is not a good fit.