#43 BYU Men's Basketball Preview

BYU Cougars

Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #3 WCC
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2010-11: 32-5, 14-2
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dave Rose (159-45 at BYU, 159-45 overall)

BYU has made five straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Coach Dave Rose. Jimmer Fredette certainly took this team to the next level, leading the Cougars to the Sweet Sixteen last season, but just because Jimmer is gone does not mean this team is going to fall apart. BYU has been down this road many times before. Many have written them off after they lose their best player, only to see another player step up and take his place.

Who’s Out:
Fredette will not be replaced by one person. He averaged 28.9 points, knocked down nearly 40 percent of his attempts from long range and dished out 4.3 assists per contest. Nobody can do all of that, but BYU does have plenty of players who can help. To make matters worse, Fredette’s backcourt mate Jackson Emery is also gone. Emery ranked second on the Cougars squad with 12.5 points per game last season and was a shutdown defender. Fellow starting guard, Kyle Collinsworth, is heading out on his mission. He was not much of a scorer, but he did give BYU a quality rebounder from the wing. Forwards Logan Magnusson and James Anderson did not see too much action last season and Coach Rose should have no problems fielding a deep frontcourt.

Who’s In:
The obvious need is in the backcourt, especially the point guard spot. Craig Cusick spent a year at Utah before going on his church mission. He spent last season on the Cougars practice squad and is probably the newcomer most ready to contribute for that reason. Freshmen Nate Austin will look for some quality minutes at the point if nobody else is ready to step up, but Matt Carlino is probably the best of the bunch. However the UCLA transfer does not become eligible until the second semester. There are a lot of options on the wing, albeit inexperienced options. Damarcus Harrison is a superb athlete and the prize recruit among the incoming freshman. The 6-5 guard can finish above the rim and hit the glass effectively. Anson Winder redshirted last season and at least has a year in the system under his belt. Josh Sharp is another transfer from Utah who can play on the wing or up front and Jaren Sweeney has a nice stroke and could turn into a nice shooter off of the bench. BYU brings in three new big bodies who all are returning from their mission. Michael Boswell, Ian Harward and Austin Nelson will not be needed too much this season, but they are all big bodies who can hit the glass and clog the paint.

Who to Watch:
A vast majority of the returning talent is in the frontcourt. What was a guard orientated team will now shift to the frontcourt led by Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies and Chris Collinsworth. Hartsock is the multi-faceted power forward who can score inside and out. At 6-8 and 230 pounds, the senior has nice size for a power forward and he uses it to score inside and hit the glass. Davies is the bruiser in the paint. He is the top returning scorer from last season, averaging 11.1 points per game. He is also a fine rebounder and his effort in the paint will make life much easier for the new look backcourt. Collinsworth is the wildcard of the group. He only played in nine games last season, but the 6-9 sophomore proved to be a fine rebounder and a decent interior scorer. Stephen Rogers will battle it out with the newcomers for minutes behind the big guys.

Final Projection:
Charles Abouo is easily the most experienced perimeter player returning to BYU. The 6-5 wing started 22 games a year ago and averaged 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. He is not much of a shooter, but Abouo can attack the basket and score in bunches. This team will need to find a shooter or two, but more importantly they need a point guard. The newcomers will be in the mix, but the most experienced options are Nick Martineau and Brock Zylstra. Martineau is more of a true point guard, but Zylstra, a 6-6 wing, spent some time running the show during the team’s offseason trip to Greece. Martineau might be the safer option since this team really just needs a point guard who can avoid turnovers and feed the big guys. If they can find that, this team will ride the frontcourt back to the NCAA Tournament during their first year in the West Coast Conference.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Nick Martineau, Junior, Guard, 0.7 points per game
Charles Abouo, Senior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Chris Collinsworth, Sophomore, Forward, 5.9 points per game
Noah Hartsock, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Brandon Davies, Junior, Forward, 11.1 points per game

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#120 Damarcus Harrison

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