Any fan, hardcore or casual, knows the two most important players for BYU will be Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth. When considering a breakout player, that would put them immediately out of the running for BYU's breakout player this season.
So what are the criteria for a breakout player? There is no set criteria of course. But there are a few common characteristics of a breakout player for any team. If a player is one of the undisputed top-2, maybe top-3 players on the team they probably don't qualify.
Is the person a returning contributor? If the person played a major role on the team the season before that would also get their name scratched off the list, unless of course they took the jump to stardom. Another factor, albeit more ambiguous, revolves around expectations. If there is a guy that has high expectations around him can he be considered a breakout player? Or does a breakout player need to come out of nowhere? I would lean slightly more towards someone that doesn't have big expectations around them but in this case I think Chase Fischer does fit the criteria for being a breakout player.
For Coach Dave Rose's entire tenure as head coach of BYU, his teams have been built around great guard and wing players. Guys like Lee Cummard, Keena Young, Jimmer Fredette and now Tyler Haws have being the focal points of his squads. But those teams have always been rounded out by less featured but just as critical players, such as Jackson Emery, Noah Hartsock and Jonathan Tavernari.
The Cougars have some question marks in two crucial areas that successful Dave Rose teams have had, post play and three-point shooting. While the Cougars try to establish a solid post presence it will be very important to have dynamic and explosive guard play. Necessary to that will be the ability to hit the three-point shot. One thing that Emery, Hartsock and JT had in common was their three-point shooting.
If this Cougar team is going to be successful they will need to improve upon last year's 36% from three-point range. Tyler Haws was BYU's best three point shooter at 40% but he makes his living at the free throw line and hitting mid-range jumpers. He'll likely take more three pointers this season as he is trying to increase his range out to the arc more often.
Kyle Collinsworth is not a huge threat from three-point range. He'll hit the occasional three, but he isn't a high volume shooter from that range and his percentage isn't that good. He took 22 all of last season. KC is going to have the ball in his hands a lot and do what he does best: get into the paint. Collinsworth excels at using his athleticism, size and strength to overpower smaller guards and get to the hoop.
The perfect compliment to Haws' mid-range game and Collinsworth's playmaking abilities are Fischer's shooting prowess.
It has been a few years since BYU had a sharpshooter on the roster and that man was former Naismith National Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette. Rose's teams are built around fast-paced scoring and a lot of three-pointers. Matt Carlino fulfilled that role at times as he showed the ability to catch fire and score in bunches. But he was also inconsistent, when he was cold he was very cold.
Fischer is in a perfect position to take over Carlino's role but hopefully with more consistency. He can provide the outside scoring punch to leave room for Collinsworth to do damage in the paint, dump it off to Haws for a mid-range jumper or kick it out to Fischer for the corner three. With Collinsworth still getting back into playing shape after suffering a knee injury last March, it will be critical for Fischer to be the third man in the Cougars three-headed offensive attack.
Scoring punch aside, Fischer brings some other much needed attributes that make him a perfect person to breakout this year. He was named a team captain along with Haws and Collinsworth for good reason. He is very vocal player, which will be needed in helping this young team to acclimate to Division-1 basketball. His presence should help make the team better as a whole.
He's also an underrated floor general. This could be the most overlooked thing of all. Clearly Collinsworth can't play all 40 minutes at point guard. The Cougars are in desperate need of a backup point guard if only to relieve KC for 8-10 minutes a night. In exhibitions, Rose has played Halford at that position but in those games it has seemed pretty clear that Halford does not have the handles or playmaking ability to run the point guard position, even as a backup. However, I think Fischer fits the mold. Fischer showed good ball skills, vision and defensive skills in his game experience. As the season goes along, I would not be surprised to see Fischer start at the 2 but then slide over to the point when Collinsworth goes to the bench.
In this tough early slate to the Cougars' season, it will be essential for a third guy to break out, especially if Collinsworth's minutes need to be limited a little to start. Fischer is going to be that guy. He has the shooting stroke, ball handling, court vision and leadership qualities that prime him to be the perfect candidate. I expect him to replace the 14 points BYU lost with Carlino transferring and be the catalyst that helps this team improve upon last season's finish.