When freshman forward Ryan Andrus committed to BYU last year with the intent to play a year before a mission, he did so with the knowledge that BYU was short on big men for the upcoming year. It looked like he would see some playing time as the bigs on the roster were Luke Worthington, Josh Sharp, Isaac Neilson, Jamal Aytes, Nate Austin and himself. With Worthington usually in foul trouble and an unknown player in Neilson, he seemed as if he could be a role player for this team.
Just a few months later, Dalton Nixon decided to put off his mission for a year and Corbin Kaufusi decided that his future lies in basketball rather than football. Now, with both of those players taking a cut of the minutes, where does Andrus find his time?
The answer is there will still be some minutes to be found. Worthington will still find himself in foul trouble, as will Neilson at times, if the scrimmage and exhibition patterns continue. Kaufusi is still raw. Sharp and Nixon are undersized to play the 5, and Aytes is hurt. Austin is even struggling with lingering back pain. There will be times that Andrus will find himself on the floor during the course of the season.
As of now, the only player Rose is definitely redshirting is guard Jordan Chatman. Andrus may have been a candidate before, but with Aytes out several months with his injury, Rose may very well decide to roll with Andrus and use his pre-mission season and end up redshirting Aytes. Time will tell, but depth from guys like Andrus is definitely good for Coach Rose.
Now what do you expect out of a very skinny post playing against bigs the likes of Brad Waldow of St. Mary's and Gonzaga's frontline? Expect him to come in, play with energy, and work hard defensively and on the boards. Andrus proved himself to be a good rebounder in high school, and some would say that is primarily because of his height. This is a good point, but it has to be remembered that his frontcourt partners were also tall — 6-foot-9 Tyler Rawson (now at Southern Utah) and 6-foot-7 Brendan Bailey — as well as two good-sized bigs coming off the bench. He used good positioning and good timing to procure rebounds and start fast breaks.
Another strength that could really help the Cougars is his passing out of the high post. American Fork ran a high-low system that ended up with a bunch of dunks for Rawson that Andrus was key in running. The other reason he ended up at the high post most of the time is that he has some ability to shoot the outside shot. He hit 13 three-pointers last season and 19 his junior year. Now, that doesn't always translate to the college game, especially with the longer 3-point line, but he knows he can shoot it effectively if called upon.
We will be able to see what kind of role Andrus is able to carve out for himself starting tonight against Long Beach State. The game starts at 5:00 p.m. MT and is broadcast on BYUtv.