Charles Abouo (left) is one of many scoring options that the Cougars need to offset Jimmer Fredette's departure.
During the 2010-11 college basketball season, Jimmer Fredette led the BYU Cougars and the entire country in scoring at 28.9 points per game. The Cougar offense flowed through the All-American and eventual National Player of the Year on every possession he was in the game.
Jimmer canned 124 three-pointers during the season while also looking for his teammates (4.3 assists per game) when double and triple-teams tried to limit Jimmer's scoring opportunities. The Jimmer-led Cougars soared all the way to the Sweet 16 in one of the most memorable and successful seasons in recent BYU memory.
Jimmer has now moved on to the Sacramento Kings and the NBA, and the Cougars are already one-third of the way through the 2011-12 season, so which player has replaced Jimmer as the primary scoring option for the Cougars? Easy answer: No one.
There will never be another Jimmer Fredette and there is not a single player on Dave Rose's roster this year who is capable of replacing Jimmer's offensive production from game to game. So how are the Cougars still averaging almost 80 points a game while also starting the year with an 8-2 record? Again, easy answer: Everyone.
Including Saturday's win over the hapless Utah Utes, the Cougars have won 9 of their last 10 games. During that stretch, the Cougars' only loss - against then No. 11 Wisconsin - came when only one player (Noah Hartsock) scored in double-figures (18 points) as the Cougars struggled to a paltry 56-point output.
The first 10 games of BYU's season has reinforced to Coach Dave Rose that the recipe for BYU's continued success in 2011-12 against the No. 6 Baylor Bears next Saturday and throughout the upcoming West Coast Conference schedule will be to maintain consistent production from multiple scoring options.
How far will BYU advance in the NCAA Tournament in 2012?
Case in point--in BYU's 94-66 win over Weber State on Wednesday night, the Cougars had six players in double-figures in a rout over a good Weber State team. Led by Noah Hartsock, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, the Cougar scoring party was also joined by fellow starters Brock Zylstra (15), Charles Abouo (15), and Brandon Davies (11), along with Stephen Rogers and Nate Austin coming off the bench to score 15 points a piece.
It was a dominant performance by a Cougar team that is developing into a bigger and deeper offensive team than last year's Sweet 16 team.
Dave Rose's Cougar team is only going to get deeper in the coming days with the addition of UCLA transfer Matt Carlino for the rest of the season, further helping the Cougars to continue their winning ways in the year 1 A.J. (After Jimmer). Carlino will be added to the team at a point in the season when the team has four players currently averaging more than 10 points a game (Hartsock, Abouo, Davies, Rogers).
BYU is 4-0 in games with four or more players scoring in double figures, and if BYU can continue to get this type of effort and consistent production in each game, then BYU fans should clear their schedules in March as BYU will surely be able to make another deep run in the NCAA tournament - even without Jimmer.