There is no question that the 2011 BYU basketball season was the most exciting season in recent memory. There is no question that Jimmer Fredette was the reason that the season was so exciting. Jimmermania took over the state and every game in the second half of the season was a sell-out crowd.
This year however, is a new year. The Jimmer show is over. Jackson Emery has hung up the shoes and is no longer playing basketball anywhere. Familiar conference rivals are also a thing of the past as BYU heads into their inaugural season in the West Coast Conference.
What does BYU do from here? Where is the excitement going to come from? It's obvious the team will miss Jimmer, but how much will they miss him?
For this season the answer is simple, they'll miss Jimmer a lot.
BYU has some players coming back to the team this year. Charles Abouo is back and looks to play one of the biggest roles on the team. Abouo can score and can play shutdown defense, but he struggles with foul trouble. This will be the first season of his college career that he is one of the focal points of the offense. It will be interesting to see how he reacts.
Brandon Davies has been reinstated to the team and will play a major role this year, especially on offense. Davies was the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer on the team before he was dismissed for violations of the Honor Code. Though he has the talent to be a star, he has struggled with the discipline to become a consistent threat.
True freshman DaMarcus Harrison looks to fill a void in the box score for BYU. The highly recruited Harrison won't be expected to make up for Fredette's scoring, but he will have an unusually heavy load on his shoulders for a BYU freshman.
Will BYU win the WCC Championship?
The team will miss Kyle Collinsworth as he left for his LDS mission. Harrison can possibly fill some of that void.
The team has some players that have potential to play big parts, but are relatively unproven. Noah Hartsock is serviceable, but can't be relied on to carry the team. UCLA transfer Matt Carlino is a talented player, but it has yet to be seen what kind of an effect he will have on Dave Rose's offense. Anson Winder is another talented redshirt guard that is unproven.
As I look at this team, the biggest key is coach Dave Rose. Rose's right-hand man, Dave Rice, left to take the head coaching position at UNLV. Rose and the rest of his staff will have some major work to do in order to keep this program on the rise.
For anyone who watched BYU play last year, the offense was very simple. Give the ball to Fredette, let him dribble around up top for a while until he could create his own shot, or find someone else open. No disrespect to any of the players on this year's team, but if BYU runs that offense again this year, they might not win a single game. Rose will be forced to fine tune his offense.
There are lots of questions about this team, but there is also a lot of talent on this team. Rose is a great coach and has always done a really good job of making the most of the talent that he has on his team. BYU fans will miss Fredette, but the future looks positive for BYU. Hopefully the future comes sooner, rather than later.