#66 BYU Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

BYU Cougars
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #66
Conference Rank: #3 West Coast
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Coach Dave Rose wrapped up a superb coaching career at BYU. He took over the head coaching duties prior to the 2005-2006 campaign and the Cougars went to the NIT or NCAA Tournament for the next 13 seasons. That streak came to an end last year though while BYU failed to win at least 20 games for the first time during Coach Rose’s tenure. Former BYU assistant and Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope will take over a program that has some questions to answer. But with three starters back and a few transfers who can make an immediate impact, Coach Pope can start a postseason streak of his own.
2018-19 Record: 19-13, 11-5
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Mark Pope
Coach Record: 0-0 at BYU, 77-56 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jahshire Hardnett, Guard, 9.7 ppg
McKay Cannon, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Nick Emery, Guard, 6.1 ppg
Rylam Bergersen, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Yoeli Childs, Senior, Forward, 21.2 ppg
TJ Haws, Senior, Guard, 17.8 ppg
Zac Seljaas, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Connor Harding, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Gavin Baxter, Sophomore, Forward, 4.7 ppg
Dalton Nixon, Senior, Forward, 3.5 ppg
Kolby Lee, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key New Players:
Trevin Knell, Freshman, Guard
Blaze Nield, Sophomore, Guard, JC Transfer
Cameron Pearson, Freshman, Guard
Jake Toolson, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Utah Valley
Jesse Wade, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Gonzaga
Wyatt Lowell, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Utah Valley, not eligible
Richard Harward, Junior, Center, Transfer from Utah Valley, not eligible
Alex Barcello, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Arizona, not eligible
Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws can carry this team a long way. Childs, a 6-8 senior, led the team with 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds in 2018-2019. He is a dominating force in the paint, but Childs is a decent outside shooter too and connected on 32 three-pointers as a junior. Haws was the most prolific outside shooter on the team, but the 6-4 guard still does most of his scoring by attacking the basket. He should be in for a big senior season after tallying 17.8 points and 5.1 assists last season. Zac Seljaas was a starter last year too and will add another outside shooting threat to the team. Connor Harding, Gavin Baxter and Dalon Nixon all earned valuable experience as freshmen and will be asked to play larger roles as sophomores. They will have to hold off some newcomers though for playing time. Jake Toolson spent last season with Coach Pope at Utah Valley where he was named conference player of the year after averaging 15.7 points per game. Jesse Wade spent one season at Gonzaga where he played limited minutes. Wade does have the talent to make a big splash at BYU though if he can find the minutes. Add in junior college transfer Blaze Nield and the Cougars suddenly have more experience than it would initially seem. BYU may not be able to compete with Gonzaga at the top of the WCC, but this is a talented team that can make a push towards the NCAA Tournament if all of the pieces come together.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.0 (39th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.1 (286, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (53, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (192, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (243, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.0 (249, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (105, 7)
Rebound Margin: -1.5 (239, 8)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (51, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (36, 4)