BYU had its annual opening scrimmage, the Cougar Tipoff, in which the team plays against itself. In the first half, the teams were evenly split, with both the Blue and White squads having a mixture of starters, key backups and bench players who will see little playing time during the season.
In the second half, the teams were switched up, moving all of the starters and main backups to the White squad, while the Blue team became a chance for the redshirts and practice squad players to show their stuff.
Throughout the evening, there were a few players who stood out. Let's take a look at three players new to the BYU team who were impressive at the Cougar Tipoff. A similar list of three BYU veterans who had big nights can be found here.
We already knew that Halford could shoot the three, as evidenced by his winning of the three-point contest at the Boom Shakalaka Showcase last weekend. That three-point prowess was once again on display at the Tipoff, as Halford needed just a couple of feet on any given play in order to bury a three.
What we didn't know about Halford before the Tipoff, however, is that he is so much more than just a three-point specialist.
Halford was an offensive machine, scoring in nearly every way imaginable. Three-pointers, give-and-go's, jumpers, layups and pick-and rolls: you name it, and Halford probably scored doing it at the Tipoff. He also showed some defensive abilities, notching multiple steals.
For most of the night, Halford was the second most impressive offensive player on the entire team, behind only Haws.
Not too shabby for a man who spent last season playing for Salt Lake Community College—now with a chance to make a major impact at the top level of college basketball.
As athletic as Anson Winder is, the most athletic player on the whole team appears to be freshman Frank Bartley. He was everywhere on the court, becoming involved in nearly every facet of the game.
Despite being a 6'3" guard, Bartley displayed an astounding aptitude for rebounding. He cut in at just the right moments on some, boxed out larger players on others, and even outjumped and outmuscled center Eric Mika for one rebound.
On defense, Bartley was tenacious. He hounded every player who got anywhere near him with the ball. Unfortunately, his style of defense also lent itself to fouls being called against him often. With time though, he will learn how to stay aggressive without being so susceptible to foul calls.
On offense, Bartley showed an ability to drive to the hoop with lightning-quick speed, finding space in lanes that were open for less than a second.
Frank Bartley looks like a do-a-little-bit-of-everything player for BYU right now, which is sure to grant him significant court time.
The true freshman will be called upon to carry quite the load this season for a BYU team in need of a replacement for graduated star Brandon Davies. If the Tipoff was any indication, he will more than be up to the task.
Mika looked like anything but a true freshman, wreaking havoc from his center position. His rebounding capability was superb, his shot-blocking was on point and his ability to turn and make a push with his back to the basket was at a level only Davies has shown for BYU in the last several seasons.
Best of all, Mika seems to already have solid chemistry with Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws—the on-court leaders who make this team run. Mika knew exactly where to position himself so that his teammates could get him solid looks, and he also knew how to draw in defenses and then kick the ball out to open teammates, most often Carlino and Haws.
Although BYU may not have much depth down low this season, Eric Mika should be a star for the Cougars and help offset that lack of depth with his sheer talent.