Embattled BYU basketball star Nick Emery has voluntarily withdrawn from school for personal reasons, according to a Friday press release from the program. He will sit out the 2017-18 season.
“I have decided to withdraw from BYU today,” Emery said in the release. “Unfortunately, I am mentally not where I need to be in order to perform in basketball and in school this year. As it has been made known, I went through a divorce this year and it has been really difficult for me. I have confidence that I will come back stronger and better. I have every intention on coming back to BYU and representing Cougar nation on the basketball floor.”
A source close to the player’s family tells Vanquish The Foe that the decision was not motivated by the pending NCAA investigation into the junior guard’s relationship with a booster or any potential Honor Code infractions. It was a family decision about what will be best for Emery — as a person and player — in the short and long terms.
The former Lone Peak standout has experienced a tumultuous year, both on and off the court, and the decision did not come as a surprise to many close observers of the program. With the NCAA issue still unresolved and significant personal matters also ongoing, Emery’s play in summer workouts and preseason activities has noticeably faltered.
Emery played only 18 minutes in the team’s first exhibition game at New Mexico on October 27, scoring only two points. He then played only four minutes of the following exhibition game against Westminster before leaving for the locker room with an illness. Last Tuesday, ahead of BYU’s final exhibition game against Colorado College, head coach Dave Rose announced the program would not allow Emery to play in any additional games until the NCAA completed its investigation into Emery’s ties to a booster. While the NCAA has yet to hand down a decision, Emery’s choice to withdraw from school for personal reasons ensures that he will not see the court for the Cougars at all during the 2017-18 season.
After years of hype about the “Lone Peak Three” era, BYU will now be without two of the three for at least this season. Without Emery in the mix, sharpshooter Zac Seljaas is likely to slot into his place in the starting lineup when the regular season starts on Saturday. If the Colorado College game serves as any indication, fans can expect the starting lineup against Mississippi Valley State to include Seljaas, Elijah Bryant, TJ Haws, Yoeli Childs and Luke Worthington.
No doubt all Cougar fans wish Emery the best and hope he can rest up and work toward an epic comeback to play his junior and senior seasons in a BYU uniform. Emery is an explosive, exciting player to watch, and his presence in the program and especially on the court will be sorely missed.
If (and hopefully when) Emery makes his return to the Marriott Center in BYU blue, Cougar fans will be ready to welcome him back with open arms. In the meantime, we wish him all the best on the road ahead.