We’re squarely in the midst of football season, but the BYU basketball team is getting ready for the 2018-2019 as they begin official practices today.
BYU loses leading scorer Elijah Bryant, but returns every other main contributor from last season and adds a couple of pieces. The Cougars will also have one of their most experienced teams in years with two seniors and eight juniors on the roster.
New to the team is former top 100 recruit Gavin Baxter, who returned from his LDS mission in May and is expected to be a big part of the team. Baxter grew to 6’9” on his mission and boasts a 7’2” wingspan. With his length and athleticism, he will bring a new dimension to this team on the offensive and defensive end.
Also semi-new is former all-conference player Nick Emery, who will have to sit the first nine games of the season. Emery will be expected to fill some of the scoring void left by Bryant.
Junior Yoeli Childs is the headliner of the group, as he bypassed the NBA to return to Provo for at least one more season. He’ll team with former All-WCC player TJ Haws, who will look to rebound this season after having a self-described down year last season.
TJ Haws appeared on “Behind the Mic with Greg Wrubell” and said that BYU will be returning to an up-tempo style.
“It’s much faster this year...a lot of up-and-down, which is very different from last year...a lot more trust in our guys to make good decisions and run the floor. If we’re on the same page…I think we can win a lot of games.”
After finishing in the top 15 in tempo nationally every year since the 2010-2011 season, BYU was 190th in the nation last season under assistant Heath Schroyer. With Schroyer now the Head Coach at McNeese State, BYU will hope to maintain the defensive mindset instilled by Schroyer while picking up the pace.
BYU’s coaching staff is back from a trip to Boston where they were able to observe the first two days of Boston Celtics training camp.
Fans can get a first glimpse of BYU during the annual Blue-White scrimmage on October 19. BYU’s season opener will be Tuesday, November 6 versus UNR in Reno.