#73 BYU Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

BYU Cougars
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #73
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast
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Despite massive roster turnover, BYU had a decent 2017-2018 season. They finished third in the West Coast Conference and managed to reach the NIT. Once there the Cougars fell to Stanford in the first round, but that was a nice stepping stone for potentially bigger and better things this season. However, Elijah Bryant opted to go pro after averaging a team high 18.2 points per game during his junior campaign. Coach Dave Rose does get Nick Emery back though. The 6-2 guard missed all of last season for personal reasons and will be suspended for the first nine games of the 2018-2019 season. He averaged 16.3 points as a freshman and 13.1 points as a sophomore and he can be a big time playmaker if he can remain consistent.
2017-18 Record: 24-11, 11-7
2017-18 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Dave Rose
Coach Record: 329-122 at BYU, 329-122 overall
Key Departed Players:
Elijah Bryant, Guard, 18.2 ppg
Payton Dastrup, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Yoeli Childs, Junior, Forward, 17.8 ppg
TJ Haws, Junior, Guard, 11.7 ppg
Jahshire Hardnett, Junior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Luke Worthington, Senior, Forward, 4.3 ppg
Dalton Nixon, Junior, Forward, 6.0 ppg
Zac Seljaas, Junior, Guard, 5.1 ppg
McKay Cannon, Senior, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Rylan Bergersen, Sophomore, Guard, 1.3 ppg
Nick Emery, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Key New Players:
Gavin Baxter, Freshman, Forward
Connor Harding, Freshman, Guard
Kolby Lee Freshman, Forward
Taylor Maughan, Junior, Guard, Transfer from BYU-Hawaii
When Emery returns, TJ Haws will get more time off the ball. He averaged 11.7 points and a team high 4.2 assists last season, but shot just 30.9 percent from beyond the arc. With Emery by his side, that number should get closer to the 40.4 percent he shot from long range in 2016-2017 during his freshman campaign. Jahshire Hardnett, Zac Eljaas and McKay Cannon are all experienced guards too. Even without Bryant, BYU should have a very productive and dangerous group on the perimeter. The frontcourt is not too bad either. Yoeli Childs averaged 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as a sophomore. He will always be a great rebounder and is now a very consistent interior scorer as well. Childs will need some help on the glass though and some of that will need to come from Luke Worthington and Dalton Nixon. Worthington was a regular starter last season, but averaged just 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds. Nixon added 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. Those two are effective when it comes to complimenting Childs on both ends of the floor, but there is room for improvement too. With Saint Mary’s expected to have a down year, this could be BYU’s opportunity to push Gonzaga for a conference title and possibly make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.3 (160th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (56, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.2 (27, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (233, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (287, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (192, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.0 (51, 2)
Rebound Margin: 1.3 (145, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (68, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (50, 5)