Welcome to the Player Power Rankings — the weekly feature where we rank each member of the BYU basketball team based on how they’re playing right now. The Cougars stumbled last week, dropping a frustrating game in the Marriott Center to an inferior Pepperdine squad. They rebounded with a solid-but-unconvincing win over WCC basement-dweller Loyola Marymount, but it wasn't quite enough to wash the taste of the loss out of many fans' mouths. We'll see how the lingering memories of those disappointing performances affects this week's power rankings.
As a reminder, here’s how this works: Each member of the Vanquish The Foe staff is given the opportunity to rank each player in coach Dave Rose's regular (or at least semi-regular) rotation, in order of performance, from 1 through 12. Each ranking is worth a descending number of points. For example, a first-place vote is worth 12 points, a second-place vote is worth 11, a third-place is worth 10, and so on. With 10 staff members voting this week, that means each player could potentially earn as many as 120 points (if he received all of the first-place votes) and as few as 12 points (if he received all of the 12th-place votes). We tally up the points for each player, rank them in order, and then I add some commentary and recent statistics to fill it all out.
Got it? Let's go.
1. Tyler Haws (120 points)
Last Week: 2nd (+1)
This Week: 26.0 PPG (52.6% FG / 33.3% 3P / 100% FT), 5.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.0 TO
Haws tried to drag a dysfunctional BYU team to victory over Pepperdine all by himself — and nearly succeeded. To give you a better sense of his level of intensity: he nearly fought a referee. (And that's not an exaggeration.) It wasn't enough in the end, but no one can pin the loss on Tyler for lack of effort or production. He gave strong offensive performances in both games this past week, and appears to be finally rounding back into full form after that nagging ankle injury. That's good news, because the Cougars will need every bit of him the rest of the way. Now, if he could only buy a foul call...
2. Anson Winder (102)
Last Week: 3rd (+1)
This Week: 15.5 PPG (37.9% FG / 29.4% 3P / 100% FT), 4.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 2.0 TO
The only non-Haws guy who showed up at all for the Pepperdine game. I keep expecting Winder's production to regress to somewhere closer to his career mean, but the fifth-year senior just keeps bringing it. His production in every aspect of the game was even more important this week, due to the negative effects of Collinsworth's struggles with the flu. Word out of Provo is that Winder picked up a knee injury during the LMU game that may hold him out of this week's games. Any time spent without Anson would be a huge loss for the Cougars.
3. Kyle Collinsworth (100)
Last Week: 1st (-3)
This Week: 8.5 PPG (38.5% FG / 0.0% 3P / 70.0% FT), 6.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 3.0 SPG, 2.5 TO
The fact that Collinsworth could register this kind of stat line while essentially playing at half-capacity thanks to a energy-zapping case of the flu should tell you how remarkable a player he is. To be sure, most of this production came in a very solid outing against LMU. Kyle struggled mightily (but admirably, considering his health) in the Pepperdine game, and BYU followed suit. They just weren't effective without Kyle's normal production — which should further underscore just how essential he remains to the team's fortunes.
4. Chase Fischer (96)
Last Week: 4th (even)
This Week: 13.5 PPG (50.0% FG / 50.0% 3P / 100% FT), 2.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.5 TO
It's always fun when Chase gets hot, as he undoubtedly did against the Lions, going for five 3-pointers and 19 points. The question, as always, is when that's going to occur. The Wake Forest transfer had labored through an ugly shooting night against the Waves just two days before his Pepperdine explosion. At this point, there doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason to it. He's shooting a very good percentage from deep overall, and BYU should be really happy getting that level of production from its top spot-up threat — but a little more consistency wouldn't hurt, either.
5. Skyler Halford (78)
Last Week: 6th (+1)
This Week: 4.5 PPG (37.5% FG / 42.9% 3P / ---% FT), 1.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 TO
Halford completely no-showed against Pepperdine before turning in a very good game against LMU. This is just kind of who he is for this team. He's going to have games when he's not clicking, and he probably won't play much in those contests (just 9 minutes against the Waves). But when he's on and his boundless energy is being channeled into productive play, he can provide a real spark for the team on both ends — and that's something Dave Rose can't ignore, nor should he.
6. Corbin Kaufusi (85)
Last Week: 5th (-1)
This Week: 1.0 PPG (25.0% FG / ---% 3P / 0.0% FT), 4.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 TO
The fact that Kaufusi is ranked this high despite turning in the production detailed above should tell you everything you need to know about a) how poorly BYU played as a team this week, and b) how much of a non-factor the Cougars' post players have been. Corbin has picked up more and more minutes as the lone big alongside Rose's four guard lineup simply because he's the only guy who's proven any ability to rebound the basketball in Nate Austin's absence — and it's not like he's really cleaning the glass out there. Long story short: BYU fans should thank their lucky stars every night that Kyle Collinsworth rebounds as well as he does from the guard line.
7. Jake Toolson (58)
Last Week: 7th (even)
This Week: 1.5 PPG (25.0% FG / 25.0% 3P / ---% FT), 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.5 TO
Toolson continues to get minutes as a scoring guard off the bench, but his minutes were more limited this week. As such, he didn't get a ton of opportunities and, judging by his shooting splits, didn't particularly take advantage of the few shots that did come his way. These kinds of growing pains are to be expected from a freshman feeling his way into a newly expanded role. But the more Jake can serve as a consistent offensive threat and floor-spacer, the better off BYU will be.
8. Luke Worthington (42)
Last Week: 8th (+1)
This Week: 0.5 PPG (---% FG / ---% 3P / 50.0% FT), 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.0 BPG, 1.5 TO
Every time I think about Worthington, I just end up thinking about the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kendrick Perkins. The similarities are a bit uncanny. Neither big man gives you much production that fills up the stat sheet, and their complete lack of offensive polish leave many fans screaming for their heads on a regular basis. But like Perkins, Luke can be a skilled and versatile defender, capable of defending bigs in the post and in the pick-and-roll with equal effectiveness. His limited skill set reduces the matchups where he can be a truly positive force, but like his NBA doppelgänger, he's still a good guy to have around for those times when you need what he brings to the table.
9. Frank Bartley IV (41)
Last Week: 8th (-1)
This Week: 1.5 PPG (33.3% FG / 0.0% 3P / 50.0% FT), 2.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.0 SPG, 1.0 TO
And here's where the grab-bag of inconsistent bench guys starts. With Rose grasping for a solution to the Waves' hot start, Bartley saw nine minutes against Pepperdine — with decidedly non-disastrous results, although he certainly didn't light the world on fire either. Rose seems to see Bartley as a defensive energy guy, which he certainly has the physical talents to be, but it feels like his actual results in that role have been inconsistent. It remains to be seen if/where Frank will find his niche.
10. Dalton Nixon (32)
Last Week: 11th (+1)
This Week: 0.0 PPG (0.0% FG / 0.0% 3P / ---% FT), 0.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 TO
Similar story to Toolson, albeit in even more limited minutes. Nixon can be a positive force on the floor as a role player, but his playing time is among the first to go when games get tight and Rose opts to go with proven guys he trusts a bit more. That's not Dalton's fault, and there's not much he can do about other than stay ready and give everything he can when his opportunities do come.
11. Isaac Neilson (28)
Last Week: 10th (-1)
This Week: 1.0 PPG (50.0% FG / ---% 3P / ---% FT), 0.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.5 TO
Neilson's fall from the regular rotation appears to be complete. Rose continues to throw him a few scrap minutes per game when Kaufusi and Worthington find themselves in foul trouble and he needs someone to stick his finger in the dam for a moment, but it's clear that Isaac's no longer playing the larger role he did early in the year. That's not to say he can't work his way back as conference play unfolds (although it will be tough with Austin's return on the horizon), but for the moment, it seems Neilson is on the outside looking in.
12. Josh Sharp (17)
Last Week: Unranked
This Week: 0.0 PPG (---% FG / ---% 3P / ---% FT), 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.5 TO
For the first time in several months, we had a Josh Sharp sighting outside of garbage time. It was like catching a glimpse of an exotic animal out in the wild that you normally only see in zoos — it was exhilarating and surreal and strange, all at once. With Rose searching for some defensive energy, Sharp got six unexpected minutes in the second half against LMU. He acquitted himself fairly well, using his length and hustle to make life harder on the Lions in BYU's zone defense — but he's remains incredibly limited offensively, posing virtually no threat to the opponent on that end of the floor. Or in other words, he's still Josh Sharp. And that's OK. He's just happy to be here.
What would your personal power rankings look like? Let us know in the comments below!