#41 BYU Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

BYU Cougars

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast

BYU Team Page#41 BYU Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy BYU Basketball Tickets

BYU finished last season second in the WCC to Gonzaga and earned a trip to the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. While we are predicting exactly the same result this year, things will look quite a bit different for the Cougars. Even with a massive amount of turnover, this team could very well be better than they were a year ago and Coach Dave Rose has done an amazing job juggling the talent and putting together some very, very good teams. The problem last year was size and now this team suddenly has a slew of experienced options. That will be enough to get BYU back to the NCAA Tournament.

2014-15 Record: 25-10, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dave Rose
Coach Record: 257-88 at BYU, 257-88 overall

Who’s Out:
However, there will definitely be some issues early in the campaign while the team adjusts to life without ten players from last season. Most notable is superstar scorer Tyler Haws. Haws averaged 22.2 points per game as a senior and that was down a point from 2013-2014. BYU will always score a lot of points, but replacing a guy who took all the clutch shots is never easy. Anson Winder, who averaged 12.7 points per game, is the other extremely significant loss. On a team with a lot of shooters, he was often underappreciated in that regard. Speaking of shooters, Skyler Halford knocked down 48.1 percent of his 108 three-point shots during his senior season. Isaac Neilson, Frank Bartley IV, Dalton Nixon, Ryan Andrus, Luke Worthington and Josh Sharp were all at least occasionally in the regular rotation. Coach Rose played a lot of guys and now most of them are gone.

Who’s In:
But there are nearly as many coming in and many have experience. Jamal Aytes, if healthy, will provide a big boost to the frontcourt. The 6-6 forward was a pretty highly regarded recruit coming out of high school when he signed with UNLV, but he has not been able to stay healthy to show what he can do. Kyle Davis comes to BYU from Utah State and previously Southern Utah. Two years ago with the Aggies, the 6-8 forward averaged 9.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. Alan Hamson, Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw will add more options in the frontcourt. Hartsock is the one who could make an impact right away. The backcourt has plenty of potential new weapons as well. In fact, Cooper Ainge, Jordan Chatman, Nick Emery and Zac Selijaas are all capable of making a splash this season. As a 6-7 guard, Selijaas is an interesting prospect who can play multiple positions. Emery is a former Mr. Basketball in the state of Utah and can score in bunches.

Who to Watch:
It seems like BYU always has a couple extremely dangerous guards. Last year it was Haws and Kyle Collinsworth. Collinsworth is back after averaging an impressive 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Let those numbers sink in for a minute. He had six triple-doubles last season and every game he was not that far off in one category or another from doing it again. Expect more of the same this year. While the rest of the WCC was focusing on Haws and Collinsworth, Chase Fischer had a great year. He made 103 three-pointers and averaged 13.2 points per game. Fischer may not find it quite as easy to get open looks this year while defenses start to look his way more often, but he can still score. Jake Toolson and Cory Calvert, who returns from his LDS Mission after averaging 1.9 points back in 2012-2013, will battle it out with the newcomers for major minutes. The team does need another guard to step into the starting lineup. Toolson is the most ready heading into the season, but Coach Rose will find a freshman or two who will be capable of starting sooner or later this season.

Final Projection:
Last season the frontcourt revolved around Corbin Kaufusi and there was not much other size on the roster. Kaufusi learned a lot during his freshman campaign and he could never be faulted for a lack of effort. His scoring will come around eventually, but for now he is a solid rebounder and defender. An injury to Nate Austin is why BYU had to play so small last year. Austin is back and the 6-11, 245 pound sixth year senior will get right back in the paint and do the dirty work. He is not much of a scorer, but he averaged 7.9 rebounds two years ago. With more options in the frontcourt and two experienced seniors in the backcourt, BYU will be a tough team to beat. As long as some of the newcomers are ready to contribute, this will be an NCAA team.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jake Toolson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 points per game
Chase Fischer, Senior, Guard, 13.2 points per game
Kyle Collingsworth, Senior, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Nate Austin, Senior, Forward, 3.0 points per game
Corbin Kaufusi, Sophomore, Center, 3.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 83.7 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.2 (315, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (39, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (203, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.6 (20, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.3 (16, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.6 (8, 1)
Rebound Margin: 4.7 (41, 3)
Assists Per Game: 17.0 (4, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (113, 5)


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