Nick Emery is very, very good at basketball — and a lot of people may end up hating him for that.
BYU’s fiery sophomore guard was ranked 82nd in SB Nation’s rankings of college basketball’s 100 top players. And while the authors lauded Emery’s prodigious talent on the hardwood, they also highlighted some of his more polarizing characteristics:
If BYU played in a more prominent conference or had a few more nationally televised games, Nick Emery might challenge Grayson Allen for the title of America's most loathed college basketball player. The always fiery sophomore is going to score a ton of points for the Cougars this season, and he's going to infuriate almost as many student sections on the West Coast.
As BYU fans, we love Nick Emery. To us, his passion and confidence is inspiring — a sign of his competitiveness and his commitment to excellence, both for himself and for his team.
But it’s not hard to see why others wouldn’t quite see it that way. Filtered through an opponent’s lens, that kind of intensity can be easily construed as an obnoxious amount of arrogance.
Couple that with the only incident for which casual college hoops fans known Emery (punching Brandon Taylor in last year’s game against Utah), and it becomes pretty clear why folks without a vested rooting interest in his success might see Emery as a polarizing, Allen-esque figure.
Is any of that true? Not from our perspective. But we’re fans. Nick Emery is our guy. He’s fighting for us. And we’re going to love him and cheer for him as he does it.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he does it very, very well.