Tonight marks the final home game for seniors Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo. Just when you fall in love, right? Hartsock's remarkable season has come to a bad end, one that hopefully can rebound in time to make one final impact. I probably don't have anything remarkable to say about these two seniors, but felt I should recognize them in some way. Here's a quick look at our seniors.
8.6 PPG (16.8 as a senior) ... 4.8 RPG ... 1.3 BPG ... 1.2 APG ... 28.2 MPG ... 54.3% FG ... 38.7% 3PT ... 81.5% FT
The T-101 machine we have come to love as a senior is the prototypical throwback college player. He started as a smaller-minutes, grab a few rebounds, get a few putback baskets as a freshman; to a player who could step out and hit a baseline jumper, or knock down a 15-footer off a pick-and-pop or a transition three as a sophomore and junior; to the primary offensive weapon, adding to all his previously-obtained skills an excellent post-up game, scoring 17 points per game.
Tonight? Well, Noah will be sitting the bench after the gruesome-yet-miraculously-mild knee injury he sustained at Santa Clara. There has been some speculation that Noah, who played seven minutes Thursday in Spokane before being unable to play any more, could start in order to get his final time in the starting lineup announcements, and then be benched on the first dead ball of the game. Whatever happens tonight, the hope is that Hartsock will be able to play in the WCC tournament. BYU will play next Friday, which should give him a full week of rest. If his pain is still a bit too much, it is possible the Cougars could try to go without him Friday and have him try to play Saturday in the tournament semifinals -- if they can survive and advance without him.
It's a terrible way to end a career, but there is still hope Hartsock can get some rest, bounce back, and help BYU to a few final wins. Either way, Hartsock was a very reliable player who became efficient at his craft -- the combination of 53% FG and 81% FT is a great one for a forward.
6.4 PPG (11.3 as a senior) ... 4.0 RPG ... 1.2 APG ... 19.9 MPG ... 43.2% FG ... 35.3% 3PT ... 72.7% FT
The man from the Ivory Coast enjoyed a similar path as Hartsock with his contributions increasing each year. A great sixth man from last season, Abouo was inserted in the starting lineup for this, his senior year. Charles has been somewhat of a streaky player. Some games he shows up with an impact on the boards, on defense, and from behind the arc; sometimes he was a bit unnoticeable. (I'm reminded of the two regular-season contests against San Diego State last year. At home, Charles scored 2 points on 0-5 shooting, had 4 rebounds, and played just 15 minutes due to ineffectiveness. Later that season in San Diego, he played 34 minutes, pulled down 9 rebounds, and scored 18 points -- points that included some absolute daggers from behind the arc, as he was 4-5 from deep that game.)
A part of me feels like we could have seen more from Abouo (like, with such broad shoulders, a development of a post game against smaller guards he faced), but Charles has been a solid contributor for all four years in Provo, and took increasing responsibility each year and lived up to it. He and Hartsock teamed up to contribute to some of the most successful years in BYU basketball history.