BYU’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer,Brandon Davies, has been suspended from the team for the remainder of the 2010-11 season. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was dismissed from the squad for violating the school’s honor code.
Davies’ dismissal could deliver a crushing blow to the Cougars’ hopes of crashing the NCAA party as a No. 1 seed. Ultimately, the loss of their most talented big man will doom the 27-2 Cougars, who are in the midst of their best basketball season in school history.
Davies has started 26 of 29 games, averaging 11.1 points per game. The team has already lost forward Chris Collinsworth to a season-ending injury, and this just makes matters worse for Dave Rose.
Davies was particularly effective against then-No. 6 San Diego State. He played 27-minutes, scoring four points and grabbing six rebounds—but it wasn’t so much his offense that was the difference maker, it was his defense on the Aztecs big men that helped the Cougars tame “the show” and beat the Aztecs 80-67.
Because of their breakthrough win over a top-10 team, BYU had risen to No. 3 in the Associated Press, and in the eyes of most amateur basketball aficionados the Cougars were prime candidates for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Sorry to say, Cougar fans, but you can kiss that dream goodbye. All of that talk of being a top four team in America is out the window and it’s all because of Davies' actions,which were discovered by school officials on Monday. Rose said he would discuss the suspension following Wednesday’s game with New Mexico.
Let’s be clear: Davies anchored a solid defense and set up his teammates on offense. Defenses would often have to collapse on Davies, opening up the perimeter for the nations-leading scorer Jimmer Fredette (27.3 ppg) and Jackson Emery (12.6) with clean looks at the hoop; although with Fredette, it doesn’t seem to matter if a hand is in his face or not.
Rose has only a few options here. He’ll most likely go with 6'8" sophomore Stephen Rodgers to fill the void, or he could slide swingman Charles Abouo over to play power forward and move Noah Hartstock into the post. And it wouldn’t be out of the question to see 6'10" James Anderson get off the bench for some playing time.
BYU is now very thin upfront and must try and march through the MWC Tournament to secure a top-seed in the West, which is traditionally the easiest path to the Final Four. If the Cougars fail to win out and earn either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, then this season will likely end the way it usually does for BYU this time of year: one and done.