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BYU Basketball Recruiting Notebook, April 5

The latest from the BYU hoops recruiting scene.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

We are one month past the end of BYU’s season (it’s gone by fast, at least to me) and BYU is very active in the transfer portal looking to add some guys.

BYU has two open scholarships right now, and I anticipate 1-2 guys transferring out over the coming weeks so BYU can add 3-4 guys this offseason. We’ll see how things shape out, but I think BYU adds three players from the portal — one big man, one scoring guard, and probably another wing or guard.

The recruiting dead period ends at noon Eastern on April 6, which means after that in-home visits and on-campus recruiting is permitted. During the 3/30-4/6 dead period no in-person contact is allowed. After 4/6, recruiting and commitments will really pick up once players visit campus.

Below are some of the latest things that I’m hearing and seeing in regards to BYU basketball recruitment. For this piece I am only focusing on the 2023-2024 season, not future classes.

Aly Khalifa

I reported last Friday that the 6-foot-11 big man will take an official visit to BYU this weekend. He gets in the night of 4/6 and should leave the evening of 4/8 since official visits are allowed to last up to 48 hours. Khalifa has had Zoom calls with several other schools, but as of now people close to Aly are telling me he is only planning to visit BYU and Florida. Florida will tough to beat, but sources close to Aly told me that BYU has done a great job in his recruitment. Aly is planning to visit Gainesville sometime after his BYU visit.

Khalifa is from Egypt and is Muslim. On a Zoom call earlier this week, Pope talked with Khalifa for an hour about Aly’s religious beliefs. We are in the middle of Ramadan right now, and as part of that participants fast from dawn to sunset. Pope told Aly that he will fast with him on Friday during his visit. Aly was impressed by that and the detail and connection Pope had to not only talk with Aly about his religious beliefs for so long, but have the wherewithal to offer to fast with him.

BYU big men Fouss and Atiki are also Muslim, so Aly will have the chance to connect with them on his visit. Additionally, Aly knows 2023 BYU women’s hoops commit Jana Sallman, who is from Egypt.

BYU is not a slam dunk by any means to land Khalifa, but it won’t be for a lack of trying — Aly’s camp has told me they have recruited him exceptionally well.

Khalifa would be a nice piece for BYU. He would fill a big need as a 5 man and complements Fouss and Atiki’s with the ability to shoot outside. He is a great passer and adept rebounder and scorer down low. He is coming off a sophomore season where he averaged 11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists on 51% shooting from the floor and 38% shooting from three. You can read more about Aly in my initial report of his visit.

Joe Girard

Jon Rothstein reported BYU will conduct an in-home visit with the Syracuse guard, which will happen in the coming days once the dead period ends.

As Adam Zagoria reported, Girard already had in-home visits with Butler, Stanford, LSU, Pitt, and Washington before the dead period.

Many schools are in the mix, but BYU has a shot. BYU coaches held a Zoom call with Girard last week, and sources tell me that he is intrigued by his fit within BYU’s offense. He would be the clear focal point in a BYU offense and would be able to have a similar green light that he did at Syracuse. Girard can play point guard or off ball as a combo guard.

The 6-foot-1 guard is one of the best shooters in college hoops, with 123 games of starting experience over four seasons. Joe has averaged double figures all four seasons, including last season when he averaged 16.4 points on 38% shooting from three (88-231).

What’s the connection to BYU? Joe is from Glens Falls, New York, the same hometown as Jimmer Fredette. BYU’s prior staff recruited Joe in high school, and Joe is very close with Jimmer and has worked out with him over the years.

Below is an excerpt from a article about Joe’s relationship and history with Jimmer.

“Joseph Girard, almost 12 years younger than Fredette, once saw him at a Friendly’s restaurant and mustered up the courage to say hi... Girard sat with his friends at the Glens Falls Civic Center wearing a ‘Jimmermania’ T-shirt on the day the arena hosted a watch party for the 2011 NBA Draft. Girard’s mom took him to a basketball camp at Glens Falls High School where Fredette was the featured attraction.

“This is the God’s honest truth,” she said. “Joseph shyly went up to have Jimmer sign his shirt. I was taking a picture of it and Jimmer said, ‘You keep working hard and this could be you one day.’”

This is video from two years ago where Joe says he talks to Jimmer “all the time.”

Jimmer may not be enough to get BYU over the edge, but it’s a real thing. Jimmer is in Joe’s ear, and if BYU can get Joe on campus for a visit then they will have a real shot to land him.

Keeyan Itejere

I wrote about Keeyan as a potential BYU target when he hit the portal last week. BYU has already had a Zoom call with Keeyan and his parents, and he may visit campus for an official visit soon.

Keeyan is LDS and has three years of eligibility remaining. At 6-foot-9 he is an incredible athlete, he just came into school very raw. He’s had two years of development under Marquette’s staff, so he has had the chance to hone his skill the last two seasons. I wrote about Keeyan and his potential fit in my initial story, and he will be someone to monitor over the next few weeks. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk that BYU adds Keeyan (or that Keeyan wants to go to BYU), but his size and athleticism no doubt make him a interesting player.


BYU has had more than 20 Zoom calls with players. The three above are just a few I highlighted, but we could see more movement here with visits once the dead period ends. BYU is looking to keep its main core together and add a few pieces on top that can make this team competitive heading into the Big 12.