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Countdown to Kickoff (88): Grading BYU Football coaches on their basketball skills

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The football season might seem in the distance but here at Vanquish the Foe we’re counting down the days until the first game against the Utes. To help ease out way unto the season we’re going to spend every day exploring a specific question pertaining to BYU Football. Some of the questions will focus on important topics (offensive play calling) and others will explore the subjects of a rather...inconsequential nature.

Today we talk about the coaching staff...and their skills on the basketball court.

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We’re in the thick of the dead-season (aka that time between the end of basketball season and the start of football season) so sometime we need to explore some of the unexpected aspects of BYU athletics.

Yesterday morning BYU running backs coach AJ Steward took to Twitter to call out current and former players in regards to their skills on the basketball court. Apparently someone was speaking ill of his abilities on the hardwood so he took the opportunity to correct them.

This led the staff here at Vanquish the Foe to ask the very important question of, which BYU Football coach is the best basketball player? Before we make that determination we’ll provide a detailed breakdown of each coach by the the basketball grading sheet that’s been passed around this weekend.

KALANI SITAKE

Height: 6’0”

Mid Range: B+

3PT Shot: D

Passing: D

Handles: F

Defense: B

Free Throw: A

Rebounding: B+

Dunk: Only with Oreos

Layup: C

Archetype: The Enforcer

IQ: B-

Analysis: Coach Sitake plays basketball the same way he played football — with all kinds of aggression. He might not have the handles or shooting from distance, but you better believe he’s fighting for every rebound and going after every loose ball. He’s probably the reason why half of your church ball team got injured last week but it’s never on purpose. The one highlight of his game is the near-automatic shot from the elbow. Almost anywhere else on the court he’s offensively inept but if he catches the ball around the free throw line, it’s going straight in.

ED LAMB

Height: 6’5”

Mid Range: C

3PT Shot: B+

Passing: B

Handles: C-

Defense: C+

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: C

Dunk: B

Layup: C

Archetype: The post player who acts like he’s a point guard

IQ: C

Analysis: For someone his size you would think that he would want to use his height advantage down on the block but no, Coach Lamb will float around the perimeter like he’s a point guard. Even though there are better ball handlers on his team he’s the big guy always going back to the ball, calling for the inbounds pass after a made basket by the opposing team. He loves to bring the ball up the floor because he likes to be in command. The thing is he has a pretty decent outside shot. It takes him a while to get stet up but his follow-through is silky smooth. His team will get killed on the boards and it would be better for him to be down low but no, he insists on being that “stretch four”.

ILAISA TUIAKI

Height: 5’10”

Mid Range: D

3PT Shot: A+ (but only in the corner)

Passing: He doesn’t

Handles: D

Defense: D

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: C

Dunk: NA

Layup: NA

Archetype: The Corner Three Guy

IQ: C+

Analysis: Coach Tuiaki has embraced the fact that he’s good at one thing, and one thing only. The corner three. He doesn’t attempt any other shots on the court simply because he’s nearly automatic from his hotspot. The defense usually picks up on this and will deny the ball from getting to Tuiaki but every once in a while a rebound will bounce his way and he’ll drill it. Even if he’s closely guarded he’s still launching it, no matter what.

JEFF GRIMES

Height: 6’5”

Mid Range: B

3PT Shot: Back in his day those didn’t exist

Passing: C

Handles: C

Defense: B-

Free Throw: B+

Rebounding: A

Dunk: C

Layup: A

Archetype: Old-school, back to the basket wizard

IQ: A

Analysis: Every once in a while you walk into a gym and find a guy who balls like it’s 1976 and Coach Grimes is exactly that. There’s nothing flashy about his game, but when it comes to the fundamentals he is rock solid. He’s mastered a baby hook from the low block and can execute the pick-and-roll with ease. Just don’t ask him to take a shot outside of 10 feet because that’s where his range ends.

AARON RODERICK

Height: 5’9”

Mid Range: B

3PT Shot: C

Passing: F

Handles: B

Defense: C

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: D

Dunk: D

Layup: C

Archetype: The Gunner

IQ: D-

Analysis: If these grades were provided by Aaron they’d look much different. Based on the number of shots that he takes you would think that he collects a fee for every attempt. His irrational confidence knows no bounds, as he chucks up shot after shot with reckless abandon. He’ll go on a hot streak every once in a while but on average his numbers don’t look great. It doesn’t matter because Aaron shakes off the missed baskets quickly so he can get his mind right for the next shot.

STEVE CLARK

Height: 5’3”

Mid Range: C-

3PT Shot: D

Passing: A+

Handles: A

Defense: C

Free Throw: B+

Rebounding: F

Dunk: Nah

Layup: B-

Archetype: Droppin’ Dimes

IQ: B+

Analysis: The moment you make a comment about his size is the exact moment he threads the needle on a pass to a player cutting to the basket. What he lacks is height he makes up for in Jason Williams level flair. The matchups on defense can be a bit of a nightmare but he soldiers on, more than compensating on the offensive end.

FESI SITAKE

Height: 5’11”

Mid Range: A

3PT Shot: B-

Passing: B+

Handles: B

Defense: A+

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: C

Dunk: C

Layup: A

Archetype: The fighter. Seriously he wants to fight everyone.

IQ: A

Analysis: There isn’t a whole lot to critique about Fesi’s game. He has great basketball IQ that puts him in good position for open shots that he consistently makes. On the defensive end he moves his feet to stay in front of ball handlers and is tenacious in the post. However, it’s that same intensity that can get him in trouble. He’ll never throw a punch but he’ll get in your face after a hard foul and shove teenagers if they step up to him. His trash talk will also get him trouble but only when the insults start to get personal.

ERIC MATEOS

Height: 6’2”

Mid Range: B+

3PT Shot: D

Passing: B+

Handles: D

Defense: C-

Free Throw: C+

Rebounding: B

Dunk: NA

Layup: B-

Archetype: The Floor General

IQ: B+

Analysis: He might not be able to keep up with the elite crew but no one can lead the charge like Mateos. His team doesn’t run set plays but he’ll have his team switching seamlessly from zone to man on each possession. He yells out screens and will have some commentary on each shot from the opposing team. It can get to be a little much but it’s better to have someone who cares rather than someone who’s apathetic.

JERNARO GILFORD

Height: 6’2”

Mid Range: C+

3PT Shot: D-

Passing: B-

Handles: C-

Defense: A

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: B+

Dunk: B

Layup: A+

Archetype: The Slasher

IQ: B-

Analysis: There are certain players that can get to the basket with ease and that’s Jernaro. His speed and lateral quickness, which we all saw during his playing days as a cornerback, are on full display when he hoops. He blows by defenders with ease and is a menace in transition, resulting in many easy layups. And did we mention his defense? He’s constantly harassing his opponent and always has his hands in someones face. We’ll ignore the fact that his jump shot looks worse than Charles Barkley’s golf swing because he makes up for it in other areas.

PRESTON HADLEY

Height: 6’0”

Mid Range: D

3PT Shot: D-

Passing: C

Handles: D

Defense: C+

Free Throw: A

Rebounding: D

Dunk: F

Layup: D+

Archetype: “Just happy to be here”

IQ: C

Analysis: Usually when you’re playing basketball there’s always that one guy who gets invited because his good friend runs the game or he got called last minute to make sure you had at least ten. Our friend Preston is great because he always shows up and boy is he consistent! But once he steps on the floor it’s all downhill from there. We want to be kind but there nothing pretty about his game. We’re talking layups going straight into the bottom of the backboard, three pointers that miss the basket by 10 feet and passes that are automatic turnovers. The funny thing is, whenever it’s time to shoot for teams Preston is money from the FT line. He never misses which means he always on the floor. You think things would get better because of how much playing time he get but no such luck.

AJ STEWARD

Height: 6’2.5”

Mid Range: B-

3PT Shot: C

Passing: A

Handles: B

Defense: A

Free Throw: B

Rebounding: C+

Dunk: B

Layup: A

Archetype: The Freight Train

IQ: B+

Analysis: A really solid all around game but don’t get between him and the basket. He’ll run you over with authority, as if you were a defensive back coming up to stop the run. His only area of weakness? About 77% of the time he takes a shot he calls for a foul. It doesn’t matter if he wasn’t even touched, he’ll say “I don’t know who it was but I got hammed on the way up. I FELT it you guys. It changed my shot.”

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So of all these coaches, who is the best basketball player? Based on these **very** accurate scouting reports, let us know which BYU football coach you’d like to hoop alongside.