Welcome back to the Player Power Rankings — the ongoing feature where we rank each member of the BYU basketball team based on how they’re playing right now. It's been awhile since we've checked in and ranked the guys, but with the Cougars set to enter this weekend's West Coast Conference tournament on a scorching hot streak, I figured it was as good a time as any to sort out which players deserve the most recognition for powering the team back into the postseason picture.
Of course, these rankings are purely subjective and determined solely by a committee of one — namely, myself — based on my perception of player performances on the team's most recent road trip to Portland and Gonzaga. So everything you see here is purely reflective of my own opinions and biases.
Sound good? Let's get to it.
1. Kyle Collinsworth
Last Ranking: 5th (+4)
This Week: 17.5 PPG (44.4% FG / 0.0% 3P / 78.6% FT), 7.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 2.5 SPG, 2.0 TO
Collinsworth is just on another level right now. He has become the most essential player on this team — and that's saying something when you have the school's all-time scoring leader on your squad. As elite as Haws is in filling up the scoreboard, Collinsworth does nearly everything on the floor at a high level. Without his all-around production, BYU would be in a world of hurt. He single-handedly willed them to victory (primarily on the offensive glass) over Gonzaga on a night when Tyler struggled. The Cougars' defining victory simply doesn't happen without Kyle.
2. Skyler Halford
Last Ranking: 2nd (even)
This Week: 16.5 PPG (63.2% FG / 75.0% 3P / 75.0% FT), 2.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 TO
Talk about finishing strong. Halford has now scored in double-figures in 10 of his last 12 games, after only breaking into that realm twice in his first 18 games. Skyler has been on an unquestionable hot streak — and that's a big reason why the Cougars are peaking at the right time. His stellar play has been huge in offsetting the injury-plagued decline in Winder's efficiency in recent weeks, and he's become the fourth guard that coach Dave Rose can rely on alongside Collinsworth, Haws and Fischer. The knock on Halford was always inconsistency, but he seems to have resolved that concern pretty convincingly — and he's (deservedly) picking up more minutes and more responsibility as a result.
3. Tyler Haws
Last Ranking: 1st (-2)
This Week: 15.5 PPG (42.9% FG / 0.0% 3P / 53.8% FT), 5.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 4.0 TO
When the guy who just broke the all-time school scoring record is third on the power rankings, you know some other guys are doing really special things. That's not to say Haws hasn't been great — he has. His excellence is almost conventional at this point. Even as he struggled through the Gonzaga game (after putting up a stellar effort and breaking the record against Portland), you never stopped feeling confident when the ball would find its way to Tyler's hands. He paid off that trust in the middle of the second half, when he found his rhythm and went bananas for a three-minute stretch, holding the Zags at bay just long enough to let his teammates find their footing. He may have missed a few freebies down the stretch, but BYU isn't in that position if Haws doesn't single-handedly maintain the lead when it was threatened earlier.
4. Chase Fischer
Last Ranking: 4th (even)
This Week: 10.5 PPG (36.4% FG / 41.7% 3P / 0.0% FT), 3.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.0 TO
This was just a solid week for Fischer. He's never going to give you a ton outside of spot-up jumpers, but if he can connect on more than 40 percent of his long balls, that's all you can ask for. Chase hit a few massive threes in the first half against Gonzaga that helped quiet the Kennel crowd. He didn't have much impact down the stretch, but his shooting and aggressiveness (he even attacked the rim for tough finishes a few times) were key to the Cougars building early momentum.
5. Corbin Kaufusi
Last Ranking: 8th (+3)
This Week: 6.5 PPG (71.4% FG / ---% 3P / 60.0% FT), 5.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 2.0 BPG, 0.0 TO
It's alive! There has never been any debate as to whether Kaufusi possesses the tools to become an impactful basketball player. The question has always been how long it would take him to figure out the game enough to put all of his physical gifts together and start destroying people. Turns out the answer was about 30 games. The freshman still has a lot of room for further growth (which is scary), but he was a force to be reckoned with down low in Spokane. He has learned how to play better defense on the block in man-up situations, and his offensive skill has certainly increased over the course of the season. Combine that with his natural shot-blocking ability and the results are impressive. And just think: he's still got three more years.
6. Ryan Andrus
Last Ranking: 6th (even)
This Week: 5.0 PPG (75.0% FG / 0.0% 3P / 66.7% FT), 2.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.0 TO
Andrus just keeps hanging around. After a string of games where he struggled to make an impact (typical for a freshman at this point in the season), Ryan broke out with a strong performance against Portland — scoring 8 points and grabbing 3 rebounds in 20 minutes, while giving Rose four more good fouls to use down low on defense. His momentum didn't carry over to the first half of the Gonzaga game, where he looked (understandably) more than a little scared in the face of the bright lights and raucous crowd, but the kid regrouped in the second and hit two clutch free throws to end the game. It's like we're watching him grow up before our very eyes.
7. Anson Winder
Last Ranking: 3rd (-4)
This Week: 4.5 PPG (16.7% FG / 40.0% 3P / 75.0% FT), 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 3.0 SPG, 1.0 TO
If we're being honest, Winder hasn't been himself in several weeks. Outside of one strong performance against San Diego, his efficiency has dipped noticeably — he's needing more and more shots to get to scoring levels he reached almost effortlessly earlier in the season. A lot of this can probably be blamed on injuries — Anson has dealt with a variety of knocks throughout the season, and has continued to valiantly push through and play regardless. He is to be commended for that. But I can't help but feel like some of his recent struggles can also be attributed to teams simply figuring out his game after the first half of conference play. After all, it's not complex — he simply drives to his right a vast majority of the time, and even if he goes left, he's likely coming back to his right hand to finish. It's effective, but it's not rocket science — and it seems like opponents may have finally solved the equation.
8. Frank Bartley IV
Last Ranking: 9th (+1)
This Week: 1.5 PPG (66.7% FG / 50.0% 3P / 33.3% FT), 2.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.0 TO
Bartley seems to have won the minutes battle over freshmen like Toolson and Nixon, at least for the moment. Rose seems to like using Frank's athleticism at the power forward spot in small-ball lineups. There's no question that he has the capability to play strong defense, even if the focus isn't always there. And he's picking his spots better on offense. If nothing else, Bartley is always good for at least one jaw-dropping display of athletic superiority per game. That soaring block against Gonzaga was no joke.
9. Josh Sharp
Last Ranking: Out of the Rotation
This Week: 0.0 PPG (---% FG / ---% 3P / ---% FT), 3.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.5 BPG, 0.0 TO
10. Luke Worthington
Last Ranking: 11th (+1)
This Week: 0.0 PPG (---% FG / ---% 3P / ---% FT), 0.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.0 TO
And here are our human foul machines. Neither Sharp nor Worthington took a shot against Portland or Gonzaga, but that's not really what they're there for. Both players understand that they're on the floor to hustle and play defense — and of course hand out a few hard fouls when the occasion calls for it. They play that role in different ways — Josh more as the nonstop effort and Luke more as the wide-body who will whack anybody who gets close to the rim — but they both do it effectively. It may not be pretty (and it often isn't), but it is important.
Injured: Nate Austin, Jamal Aytes
Out of the Rotation: Jake Toolson, Dalton Nixon, Isaac Neilson, Jordan Ellis