LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15: Davante Gardner #54 of the Marquette Golden Eagles handles the ball against Brandon Davies #0 of the Brigham Young Cougars during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
BYU just capped off another solid basketball season with its loss to Marquette today in the NCAA Tournament. Racking up 26 wins, including a record-breaking NCAA tourney victory, was quite an accomplishment for a team that lost Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery. Congratulations to the Cougars on an outstanding season.
In this post I want to look to the future. What should we expect from BYU hoops next season? Let's look at the roster first.
Losing from 2011-12 team:
Noah Hartsock. Hartsock was the best player on this year's team. Losing him to graduation is big.
Charles Abouo. Chuck was a 4 year contributor to the Cougs and a terrific defender and rebounder.
Damarcus Harrison. DH came on strong at the end of the year but has announced his plans to serve a Mormon mission starting in the summer. He will be a good one when it is all said and done but BYU won't get his services for a while.
New Faces in 2012-13:
Tyler Haws. Haws was reportedly a 2-time Mr. Basketball in Utah and a solid starter for BYU before he left on a mission. He should be ready to contribute in a big way again for the Cougs next season.
Raul Delgado. This JC commit is said to be a sharpshooter.
Ian Harward. Harward redshirted this season but will look to crack the front court lineup next season.
Based on what I can tell now it looks like the lineups will be something like this:
1 Guard -- Carlino, Cusick
2 Guard -- Zylstra, Winder, Delgado
3 Guard/Forward -- Haws, Rogers
4 Forward -- Austin, Collinsworth, Sharp
5 Forward/Center -- Davies, Harward
Of course there is a decent chance that another player could step up and earn some minutes like Cusick did this season. And there is a decent chance that a player or two could be lost for some time to injury. But for now these seem like the likely candidates to get the minutes next season.
Will that team be better than the team this year? Hard to say. If Carlino can get his ballhandling and decision making troubles sorted out that would be a major improvement. (If he could improve his shooting percentages too that would help). But if the returning guys don't make real improvements the team next year could be worse than this year. We all saw how bad the team got this year when Hartsock went down. Noah won't be there to carry the team next year.
I wouldn't call 2012-13 a rebuilding year but right now the jury is out as to whether BYU can get much better next season. The potential is there for BYU to get better and win maybe 30 games again like they did in Jimmer's last two seasons but that would require several guys getting significantly better than they were this year. Otherwise the potential is also there for BYU to regress next year.
Let's hope the guys do make significant improvements. BYU is starting to make a habit of winning games in the Big Dance. It sure would be nice to keep that new tradition rolling next season too.
What say you? Did I miss some potential contributors in my roster lists? Will BYU be better or worse next season and why?