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BYU Basketball Mailbag: Roster, Potential Additions, Schedule, and More

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Westminster v Brigham Young Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Most BYU and college fans are focused on realignment news, but the BYU basketball team has quietly been in the middle of summer workouts for a few weeks now. The 13 scholarships appear to be set, and BYU is finalizing the walk-ons to get the best players they can.

Below I answer your questions relating to BYU hoops. As always, thanks for the engagement!

I’ve heard about a couple new signees since Waterman. I’m assuming they are walk in’s but what do we know about the new additions other than the transfers?

BYU has their 13 scholarship players — I recently did an in-depth piece highlighting them. Sources tell me that is likely set and BYU almost certainly won’t add another scholarship player. The walk-ons is where BYU is still sorting things out.

Each year under Mark Pope BYU has had 17 players. The first two years BYU had 4 walk-ons and last season BYU had 3 walk-ons since Alex Barcello’s scholarship didn’t count against the 13 limit. I expect BYU to have four walk-ons again this year.

Things are still in flux. Walk-ons Jeremy DowDell (transfer) and Paora Winitana (mission) are no longer on the team. Casey Brown was the other walk-on last season. I reported last week that 6-foot-6 Chaminade transfer Tredyn Christensen is joining the team as a walk-on and has been participating in summer workouts.

Tanner Hayhurst is back from his mission and has been participating in summer workouts. Last week I talked to JUCO transfer Nate Webb who told me he has been with the team in summer workouts and is planning on walking on. While he could be on the roster when the season officially starts, I didn’t report his addition since the staff is still finalizing everything. Nate could absolutely be on the roster when the season starts, but I don’t believe everything is 100% set in stone yet. Nate is a 6-foot-7 wing from Idaho who played at Umpqua Community College, a lower level JUCO in Oregon. He averaged 24 points last season. He is the son of former BYU player Richie Webb.

One potential addition I’m keeping an eye on is Cameron Brimhall. Brimhall is a 6-foot-9 forward/center that recently entered the transfer portal after signing with UC San Diego in the 2021 recruiting class. The Lone Peak High School graduate also had a scholarship offer from Dixie State out of high school.

BYU coaches have been in touch with Brimhall since he entered the portal and could add him as a walk-on. In regards to schools he is considering, Cameron told me that “BYU is a big one for sure” and that he is looking to return to the state of Utah. Brimhall never suited up for UC San Diego last season due to hip/back issues, so that is something BYU and other teams will consider. If Brimhall got a scholarship offer from a school like Snow College or someone else, he could potentially take that over a walk-on spot with BYU.

Brimhall was AAU teammates with Fouss and grew up in Utah County, so he has obvious connections with BYU. If he is healthy enough, he would be a great addition for BYU. BYU doesn’t have a ton of size down low, so adding a 6-foot-9 walk-on that was a Division One scholarship player would be a nice addition and add some depth. Cameron is a big man that can stretch the floor, as you can see in the below highlights.

What recruits are we in the mix for in the 2023 class and beyond? I know you recently mentioned Keanu Dawes. Any other guys we have a good relationship with/should keep an eye on? Also any updates on who we might play in the remaining games we need to fill for non-conference?

Keanu Dawes will be a top priority for BYU. He is a 4-star recruit and arguably the top LDS player in the 2023 class. He has a lot of good schools after him, but BYU is in the mix due to his uncle Derek and familiarity with the state of Utah.

As of now, Rudi Williams’ and Gideon George’s scholarships are the only two guaranteed to come off the books. Trevin Knell and Spencer Johnson are expected to use their additional COVID year, but if they don’t then they could graduate and leave as well. 2021 signee Jake Wahlin returns home from his mission next summer, so at a minimum BYU will have one available scholarship. There will be some inevitable transfers and BYU will hit the transfer portal add some guys.

I do think BYU tries to add a young big from the 2023 class. One guy I’m keeping an eye on is 7-foot big man Youssouf Singare. BYU offered the Mali native last month, the same home country as Fouss. He is prepping at a High School in New York and has offers from Big East schools.

Other than that, BYU coaches have been in Seattle, Arizona, Orlando, and multiple other states recruiting 2023 and 2024 guys. BYU has talked to dozens of players and Mark Pope is prioritizing adding high school kids every year.

For non-conference scheduling, below is what I know. BYU has 11 games locked in and can schedule 4 more. I expect a game at Vivint Arena in December to be added against a top 100-type team, which would be a Quad Two game if the team is ranked between 51-100 in the NET rankings.

Teams: Kansas, Tennessee, Wisconsin, USC, Butler, NC State, Dayton, BYU

  • vs UVU, December 7 (Home) — December 7 is according to a source
  • vs Creighton, December 10 (Neutral, Las Vegas)
  • vs Utah, December 17 (Home)
  • vs Weber State, December 22
  • Utah State — I expect it to be in Logan

Are we going to have enough depth down low if someone gets hurt or gets in foul trouble?

This is a real concern for next year’s team. BYU’s frontcourt guys are Fouss, Atiki, Noah Waterman and Braeden Moore. Gideon George can play the four if needed. Adding a guy like Brimhall would give BYU some depth, but relying on a walk-on for significant minutes would not be optimal. If Fouss, Atiki, and Waterman stay healthy then BYU should be fine this season. If they were in the Big 12 now I would be worried, but that can work in the WCC. BYU will rotate those 3 guys at the 4-5 spots, with Noah mainly playing 4, Atiki the 5, and Fouss switching between both spots.

BYU would be in trouble in one of those three got injured. Moore would be thrust into minutes as true freshman and Gideon would have to slide from playing his natural spot at the three into playing more four. BYU could survive a short stretch with a temporary injury, but losing one of the three main frontcourt players for significant time would be a real blow for BYU’s NCAA Tournament chances.

Who will start, and who else will get heavy playing time?

Wrote about this in-depth last week, but my early educated guess at the day one starting 5 is Rudi Williams, Spencer Johnson, Gideon George, Noah Waterman, and Fousseyni Traore. Arkansas transfer Jaxson Robinson could start at the two at some point in place of Spencer Johnson, but based on conversations I’ve had I believe that is your 5 to start the year. Tanner Toolson is really the only scholarship player that I have a hard time seeing getting playing time year one — there’s just too many guards to compete with. Braeden Moore may not be an every game player, but he’ll likely get some time when BYU has foul trouble at the four spot.

Every other guy I can make a case to be in the rotation. Trevin Knell, Jaxson Robinson, and Atiki will for sure play major roles. That leaves you with Trey Stewart, Dallin Hall, and Richie Saunders. Realistically, Pope probably won’t go with a rotation more than 10. I’ve heard great things about Trey Stewart this summer and expect him to make a jump and play a role. Dallin Hall will probably get minutes at point. I really like Richie Saunders and he could absolutely find his way into the rotation, but who do you leave out if he gets consistent minutes?

Pope will likely have a bigger rotation to start the year and condense things as the season goes on.

What are BYU’s chances to dethrone Gonzaga at least one time before we leave for the Big 12? Regular season title, tourney title, I’m not greedy. Either one works.

Gonzaga will be ranked #1 or #2 in the season polls. Don’t hold your breath.