Welcome to the Player Power Rankings — a weekly feature where we’ll rank each member of the BYU basketball team based on how they’re playing right now. You may remember this concept from previous iterations published at my former employer. Same story, different blog, new season.
To be clear: This is not a list of the best or most talented players in a vacuum. Our rankings are based on their most recent performances, in hopes of properly illuminating the state of the team at this very moment. (For this first installment, we considered the first four West Coast Conference games, played over the previous two weeks, with slightly more weight being given to the more recent contests. In future weeks, we will consider only games played during the previous week.)
Here’s how it 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 11. Each ranking is worth a descending number of points. For example, a first-place vote is worth 11 points, a second-place vote is worth 10, a third-place is worth 9, and so on. With 14 staff members voting, that means each player could potentially earn as many as 154 points (if he received all of the first-place votes) and as few as 14 points (if he received all of the 11th-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. Not exactly rocket science.
This should be fun. Now, without further ado…
1. Kyle Collinsworth (153 points)
This Week: 13.5 PPG (54.3% FG / 50.0% 3P / 75.0% FT), 11.3 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.5 TO
Collinsworth has registered two triple-doubles in the past four games — his second and third of the season. The NCAA record for triple-doubles by a player in a single season is four. And with the way Kyle has been playing all-around basketball recently, I fully expect to see him break that record in the very near future. He can stuff a stat sheet with the best of them, and it's a true pleasure to watch him right now. Cougar fans should take a minute to fully appreciate the show Kyle is putting on — because this kind of stuff is exceptionally rare.
2. Tyler Haws (140)
This Week: 19.3 PPG (47.2% FG / 28.6% 3P / 88.5% FT), 4.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 TO
In order to average the stat line above and still have people consider it to be a disappointing week, you have to be pretty amazing at basketball. Of course, Haws is really amazing at basketball, so this kind of production is old hat by now. Tyler seems to still be struggling with the lingering aftereffects of the ankle injury he sustained at Weber State (which seem to really catch up with him in the second halves of games), but he continues to produce nonetheless — albeit at a slightly less efficient rate, for the time being.
3. Anson Winder (127)
This Week: 16.0 PPG (52.3% FG / 33.3% 3P / 78.6% FT), 2.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.0 TO
The X Factor. This Cougar team can only go as far as Winder is able to take them — and so far, he's done a pretty excellent job of it. Most recently, he's been a revelation in Rose's new four-guard starting lineup. His ability to aggressively penetrate and get the ball to the rim keeps defenses honest and opens up opportunities for his teammates. His 3-point accuracy fell off a bit this week, but that's just unnecessary nitpicking of a player who's having a truly fantastic senior season.
4. Chase Fischer (111)
This Week: 14.5 PPG (51.4% FG / 47.8% 3P / 91.7% FT), 2.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.8 TO
Fischer was built to play in the West Coast Conference. Chase often struggled to find open looks against quicker, more physical opponents during nonconference play, but the more free-flowing, finesse style of the WCC has suited his game much better. With Collinsworth, Haws and Winder all rolling offensively, Fischer has gotten plenty of uncontested shots and knocked down a blistering 47.8 percent from deep thus far in league play. And when a sharpshooter like Chase starts building confidence in his shot, opponents might as well just seek shelter.
5. Corbin Kaufusi (85)
This Week: 4.0 PPG (80.0% FG / --% 3P / 57.1% FT), 4.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.5 BPG, 0.5 TO
He's still a long-term project, but Kaufusi has gone a long way toward refining some of his considerable raw abilities. He's made huge strides offensively — particularly in the pick and roll with BYU's guards, where he's good for at least one massive dunk per game as the roll man. And while he still occasionally struggles with the nuances of post defense, he's becoming more and more effective at impacting opponents' shots with his length with each passing game, There's still a long road ahead before he can fully realize his significant potential, but Corbin is well on his way.
6. Skyler Halford (81)
This Week: 8.0 PPG (47.1% FG / 53.8% 3P / 81.8% FT), 1.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.5 TO
I didn't use to be a big fan of Skyler Halford. I didn't think he was well suited to the various roles Rose attempted to assign him since his arrival in Provo. I wasn't alone in those feelings. But now? Rose has finally found the right niche for him — he's become BYU's Completely Insane Person Who Gives You Crazy Energy and Manic Defense In Short Spurts. His immense hustle and pesky defense has proven capable of single-handedly giving the Cougars a quick jolt in recent weeks. While his positive impact may not last long (and it often doesn't), Skyler has just enough crazy to help turn the tide in a tight game.
7. Jake Toolson (67)
This Week: 5.5 PPG (50.0% FG / 46.2% 3P / --% FT), 2.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 TO
Toolson had already proven he can shoot the rock (he leads the team in 3-point accuracy), but now he's showing he can do it consistently. Since moving Winder into the starting lineup, Rose has been faced with having one less scoring threat available off his bench. That vacancy has been admirably filled by the Arizona freshman, who continues to look more and more comfortable on the floor in close games. He's increasingly looking for his own shot and rebounding effectively out of BYU's zone defense. It's an important development — not just for Jake himself, but for the success of Rose's entire four-guard scheme.
8. Frank Bartley IV (51)
This Week: 3.3 PPG (55.2% FG / 52.6% 3P / 75.0% FT), 1.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.3 TO
Bartley is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. His playing time has been all over the place, and his performances have generally followed suit. It seems he lost some key potential minutes to Toolson following the switch in the starting lineup, which has effectively relegated him to inconsistent spot duty. Still, Frank has the tools. The talent is there. Every once in awhile, he'll make a play so impressive that you're forced to sit up and take notice. But the magic is often gone as quickly as it came. He needs to find a way to produce consistently on both ends of the floor to earn significant minutes.
9. Luke Worthington (48)
This Week: 1.5 PPG (33.3% FG / --% 3P / 100% FT), 1.8 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.0 TO
It's been a tough couple weeks for Worthington, as he's seen his minutes steeply decrease — both due to Rose's new preference for smallball lineups and the continued emergence of Kaufusi. I still think Luke brings a lot of positive things to the table. He's tough, he's physical and he's a great defender — both on the block and in the pick and roll. But he hasn't been able to have much impact outside that limited domain. He has only one offensive move (which he doesn't finish consistently enough) and he doesn't rebound at a rate you'd like to see from your big men. He's still brings great value against certain match-ups and will continue to start until Nate Austin returns, but beyond that, things figure to remain in flux.
10. Isaac Neilson (37)
This Week: 1.3 PPG (40.0% FG / 0.0% 3P / 33.3% FT), 1.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.5 TO
It was only a few weeks ago that Neilson had cracked the starting lineup and was making real contributions for the Cougars as a floor-spacing power forward. Now, he rarely gets off the bench. I'm not sure what caused the swift about-face, but it's certainly notable. It probably doesn't help that Isaac currently lacks the overall strength to body opposing bigs in the post, or that he's struggled to connect on his jump shot of late. It's hard to find minutes for a "stretch four" who can neither defend many other fours nor consistently stretch the floor.
11. Dalton Nixon (25)
This Week: 2.7 PPG (20.0% FG / 0.0% 3P / 100% FT), 2.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 TO
I personally had Nixon much higher than this on my list, but my colleagues clearly disagreed. I've been impressed with Dalton's growth in recent weeks, particularly as a passer within the halfcourt offense. He's made a couple beautiful dishes (with high degrees of difficulty) to set up Haws for buckets in league play, showcasing offensive awareness and basketball intuition well beyond his years. Sure, he hasn't hit the broad side of the barn for weeks with his shot — but I'll always have a soft spot for a young kid with a demonstrated knack for creative passing and strong rebounding.
What would your personal power rankings look like? Let us know in the comments below!