2017-18 BYU men's basketball preview | BYU Cougar Club

2017-18 BYU men's basketball preview

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

2017-18 BYU Season Preview

BYU coach Dave Rose returns 10 starters and welcomes a group of talented newcomers heading into the 2017-18 season.

  • Sophomore guard TJ Haws (Alpine, Utah) headlines the four returning starters from last season. The 6-foot-4 guard played in and started all 34 games while averaging 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steal in 2016-17. Haws also hit a team-high 76 3-pointers, second all-time among BYU freshman. At the end of the regular season, Haws was named to the All-WCC First and All-WCC Freshman Teams. 
  • Two-year starter and junior guard Nick Emery also returns after posting averages of 13.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals. Emery was second on the team with 75 3-point field goals. When BYU defeated Loyola Marymount in the West Coast Conference Tournament, Emery became the 50th BYU player to reach 1,000 career points. He also joined Danny Ainge, Tyler Haws and Eric Mika as the only BYU players to reach 1,000 points as sophomores.
  • Forward Yoeli Childs returns for his sophomore season after posting one of the best freshman seasons in BYU history. Childs averaged 9.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while starting 26 games. He finished the season first all-time among BYU freshmen in rebounds and second in rebounds per game, blocks, blocks per game and field goal percentage. Childs was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team.
  • Despite struggling with injury issues throughout the season, Elijah Bryant turned in a successful sophomore year in his first season with the Cougars. The Gwinnett, Georgia, native played in 23 games and started nine and posted averages of 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Bryant’s best game came at Portland when he scored a team season-high 39 points, leading him to earn conference and national player of the week honors. 
  • Other returnees from last season’s roster include Payton Dastrup and Braiden Shaw. Dastrup appeared in 24 games and posted season highs of nine points, five rebounds and two blocks. He demonstrated promise as a big that could score inside as well as outside.
  • Shaw played in 31 games and started twice, a two-game road sweep of Portland and Gonzaga. For the season he averaged 1.4 points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 58.1 percent from the field. He scored a career-best 10 points in a win against Utah State at Vivint Smart Home Arena and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds at Portland, his first start.
  • Rose welcomes the return of four Cougars who played at least one year in the blue and white before serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Zac Seljaas, a 6-foot-7 guard, returns from serving in Iowa. As a freshman in 2015-16, the Bountiful, Utah, was BYU’s sixth man and averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds. Seljaas shot a BYU freshman record 50.0 percent from 3 while hitting 68 treys, third all-time for a Cougar freshman. His 68.5 percent effective field goal percentage also set a program record.
  • Also returning from missions are Ryan Andrus (Philadelphia), Dalton Nixon (Boston) and Luke Worthington (Chile). Andrus and Nixon played their freshman seasons in 2014-15 while Worthington played two seasons before his mission (2013-15). Andrus, the tallest player on the roster at 6-foot-11, averaged 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds and shot 54.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3. The American Fork, Utah, native had season highs of eight points and eight rebounds. Andrus hit two clutch free throws to seal BYU’s upset win at No. 3/2 Gonzaga, the first of three-straight wins in the Kennell for the Cougars.
  • Nixon averaged 2.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 2014-15 while shooting 100.0 percent from the free-throw line. The Orem, Utah, native had season highs of 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Nixon brings versatility to the roster with his ability to play on the perimeter and in the post.
  • Worthington is one of the most experienced players on the team, having played in 64 games and made 24 starts in two seasons prior to his mission. As a sophomore in 2014-15, Worthington started 21 games while helping the Cougars receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Worthington has career highs of 12 points, six rebounds and two steals.
  • Rose and his staff recruited from the junior college ranks to add a pair of talented guards to the roster. Jahshire Hardnett comes to BYU as a sophomore after a standout season at Chipola College where he earned first-team All-Panhandle Conference honors and was named Panhandle Conference Freshman of the Year. Hardnett, a 6-foot-0 guard from Gulfport, Mississippi, averaged 13.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals. He was very efficient shooting the ball, hitting 56.0 percent from the field and 43.9 percent from the 3-point line.
  • Kajon Brown played last season at Lee College where he averaged 8.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. The athletic, 6-foot-5 wing from Harvey, Louisiana, proved to be a player who could fill up the stat sheet as he posted season highs of 28 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and five 3-pointers.
  • Rylan Bergersen, from Boise, Idaho, is the lone true freshman on the roster. The 6-foot-6 guard played the 2016-17 season at Link Year, a prep school in Branson, Missouri, after a successful high school career at Borah High School in Boise. At Link Year, Bergersen averaged 18 points, five rebounds and three assists while shooting 42 percent from 3. During his senior season at Borah, Bergersen led his team to the semifinals of the 5A state tournament while averaging 15.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.3 assists.
  • Sophomore Evan Troy has been elevated from the practice squad. Troy, a 6-foot-5 guard from Longview, Washington, prepped at Mark Morris High School. As a senior, he averaged 11.3 points and earned first-team all-league honors.
  • BYU opens the 2017-18 season on Nov. 11 when the Cougars host Mississippi Valley State. The nonconference schedule also includes a road contest at Princeton and games against Alabama and Massachusetts at the Barclays Center in the Barclays Center Classic. The Cougars then play four of five against in-state opponents, including at Utah Valley, at Utah State, vs. Weber State in the inaugural Beehive Classic and at home against Utah. Following two pre-Christmas home games, BYU hosts Portland and Saint Mary’s at the end of December to open West Coast Conference play. The Cougars play at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 25, at Gonzaga on Feb. 3 and host Gonzaga on Feb. 24.

Freshman 3-point field goals

BYU’s 2016-17 roster includes the players who hold the top three spots for 3-point field goals by a freshman. Nick Emery and Zac Seljaas both smashed the previous record of 44 in 2015-16. Emery hit 97 3-pointers for the current freshman record and fourth most in a season in BYU history, while Seljaas hit 68. Last season, Haws hit a team-high 76 3-pointers for second-most by a Cougar freshman.

All-Haws Team

TJ Haws earned first-team All-WCC honors as a freshman in 2016-17, becoming the third Haws in BYU history to earn all-league honors. His father Marty Haws earned first-team All-WAC honors as a senior in 1989-90 and his brother Tyler was a four-time all-league honoree. As a freshman in 2009-10, Tyler was named to the All-Mountain West Conference Third Team. Following a two-year mission for the LDS Church, Tyler earned first-team honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. In addition to joining his father and brother as an all-conference performer, TJ became the second Cougar in program history – the other being Danny Ainge – to earn first-team all-league honors as a freshman.

Coach Rose

BYU head coach Dave Rose has led the Cougars to one of the most successful eras in program history since taking over in 2005. His career record of 305-111 ranks him second in BYU history in total victories and first in winning percentage (.733). Rose has been named conference coach of the year three times, led the Cougars to four conference titles, eight NCAA tournament appearances, four NIT appearances, eight 25-win seasons and 12 20-win seasons.

BYU and the Postseason

Under Dave Rose, BYU has reached the postseason in 12-straight seasons, a school record. The previous record was six-straight seasons (1989-90 to 1994-95). During that time the Cougars have earned eight bids to the NCAA tournament and four to the NIT. The Cougars’ eight NCAA tournament bids in the last 12 years are more than 200-plus NCAA Division I schools have since beginning their programs.

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2017-18 Season Preview2.75 MB