What a difference a week can make.
Many shrewd basketball observers had counted BYU out of the running for prized 2014 recruit Brekkott Chapman several months back. I know I did.
He just never seemed that excited about the prospect of coming to Provo in the first place, and as the interest from more traditional power programs heated up during his junior season, it was easy to get the feeling that he just wasn't that into the Cougars.
Those feelings were confirmed when a source close to Chapman told Vanquish The Foe that, as recently as a week ago, his top three choices were UCLA, Gonzaga and Utah (in no particular order) — and while BYU wasn't completely out of the picture, they were "not near the top."
But then, just as most fans had given up hope in seeing Chapman in blue and white, we got this from the Standard-Examiner's Bubba Brown this week:
Just spoke to @BrekkottChapman for story. Said he's down to three choices: Utah, UCLA and BYU. Hoping to make decision before school starts.— Bubba Brown (@BubbaBrownSE) July 24, 2013
I immediately feared this was just another example of a truly heinous form of torment that BYU fans know all too well: being so close to a big victory (on the field or off) that you can almost taste it, only to experience the gut-punch of staggering defeat. (See also: Parker, Jabari; Holy War 2012.)
Surely this is all a misunderstanding, I thought. After all, my source (who I trust implicitly) had told me that BYU wasn't really in contention less than a week earlier. I refused to get my hopes up, to set myself up for the inevitable disappointment.
And then, on Thursday, the Salt Lake Tribune's Chris Kamrani confirmed the report:
Can confirm that Brekkott Chapman's Top 3 are Utah, UCLA and BYU, but he hasn't axed any other offers off his list just yet. #TribPreps— Chris Kamrani (@chriskamrani) July 25, 2013
Well, all right then. Give me a moment to process this.
OK. Got it.
This is a potentially huge development for BYU. Brekkott Chapman is a top-notch recruit who — if paired with the already committed T.J. Haws and high-profile target Payton Dastrup — would put the Cougars' 2014 class among the best in the nation.
Consider the possibility of head coach Dave Rose rolling out a starting lineup comprised of those three players plus 2013 recruits Nick Emery and Eric Mika (all consider top 100 players in their respective classes) at some point in the near future.
Feels good, huh?
Of course, Rose has to seal the deal with Chapman (and Dastrup, who has always seemed the more likely of the two to wind up in Provo) before we can really start dreaming of future Final Four runs. There's still plenty of work to do — UCLA should be considered a strong contender if coach Steve Alford's new staff comes through with an offer (which, sources told both Vanquish the Foe and the Salt Lake Tribune, they have yet to do), and we certainly shouldn't rule out Utah's Larry Krystkowiak casting the same spell over Chapman that he did over Jordan Loveridge.
However, it appears the Cougars at least have momentum on their side at this point. They were barely in the picture a week ago, and now they're in the top three. I don't know what caused the sudden spike in interest, but BYU fans have to be encouraged by the movement.
All of this could certainly change — as Kamrani noted, Chapman hasn't axed any of his other offers yet, and programs like Arizona, Gonzaga and Colorado continue to lurk — but compared to where things were even a few days ago, this is a most welcome development that could go a long way toward BYU solidifying its future as an elite program and Final Four threat.
Or, you know, we could be setting ourselves up to get our hearts broken — again.