Most of the time when you see a player listed at 6-foot-11, you think of how that player is going to play on the block. That player is supposed to score with a variety of jump hooks, up-and-under moves, and vicious dunks, all while dominating the glass and protecting the rim. Right?
Redshirt freshman Isaac Neilson will bring some of those skills, but he will be very valuable for another skill that is usually reserved for guards, but is becoming ever more important to big men: shooting.
Neilson has a sweet touch from the outside that BYU has been looking for from its front line. He has a smooth release and excellent shooting motion that most people associate with great shooters. I couldn't find a ton of film on the Internet, but every video I saw showed him hitting at least one 3-point jump shot.
I also had the opportunity to watch him play and work out multiple times this summer, and every time I came away impressed with his ability to shoot the ball. In fact, the scrimmage games I watched where he was teamed with Chase Fischer ended very quickly because of their 3-point shooting.
Isaac also brings another skill that is rarely talked about, but could be very helpful with this Cougar team in particular. Not only does he position himself and secures rebounds very well, but he is also an excellent passer. Beyond the halfcourt, he thrives on triggering fast break opportunities by throwing good outlet passes to running guards. I saw this frequently both on film and in person. Dave Rose likes to play at a very fast pace, and bigs being able to locate and throw accurate outlet passes to ignite fast break opportunities will help increase the pace even more — getting players like Tyler Haws and Fischer open jumpers in transition.
While Isaac will not wow you with his athleticism, he makes up for that in length. Most reports say he has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He also knows how to use his body and positions himself well to get blocked shots. He blocks a lot of shots on the guy he is guarding, which is actually a much tougher play because most blocks are by a help defender coming over to get the block.
BYU's frontcourt is kind of crowded. The Cougars have Neilson, Nate Austin, Corbin Kaufusi, Josh Sharp, Luke Worthington, Dalton Nixon, Ryan Andrus and Jamaal Aytes (once he returns from injury). Depth at the post positions is a great thing to have, but Isaac will have to play well to find minutes in the rotation with all the bodies Rose will be able to throw on the floor this year.