- Experience: 8th season as BYU head coach
- Record: 185-54 (tied for second in school history) with a winning percentage of .774
- Record is 4th best start for seven seasons in NCAA history.
- Six consecutive 25-win seasons and six consecutive NCAA appearances (both BYU records)
- Experience: 3rd season as Rose’s assistant
- LaComb has had two stints on coaching staffs at Utah as well as at the high school level
- Helped to improve BYU’s defensive mentality and in 2011 the team finished 5th in scoring margin and 15th in turnover margin.
- Experience: 6th season as Rose’s assistant
- Played at BYU for Steve Cleveland in 2001 – 2005
- Played a role in helping BYU to six straight NCAA appearances with his role as defensive scout playing a big part
- Experience: 2nd season as Rose’s assistant
- Won a NCAA National Championship in 1996 with Kentucky
- Has played for four different NBA teams
- Also served as an assistant coach at Wake Forest
Guard and wing play is going to be essential in 2012 – 2013 for the Cougar hoopsters. Last season when the team was balanced, the offense flowed smoothly. But when it bogged down, the team could only count on the post play of tag-team duo Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies. During Wednesday’s media day, head coach Dave Rose echoed the same sentiment:
“I hope balance will be the strength (of the team). I hope that we have great guard play, really good point guard play, great post play. Last year we really relied on our two post players to carry us through the majority of the real tough times. In order to be really good and more consistent I think that the balance needs to be better on this team.”
There were times in the season when the wings were shooting lights out and others when they couldn’t have hit water from a boat in the ocean. This season will need to be more balanced and that will start with sophomore phenom Matt Carlino. The point guard averaged 12.2 points, 4.6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. That was a good stat line for a freshman guard with all the expectations of post-Jimmer BYU fans on his shoulders. But it will need to be better. I’m not talking in terms of point production though; I want to see more assists. Points would be good as well as I think he will need to match the offensive production out of Saint Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova in terms of 15.5 and 6.5 per game. Improvement to both those stat lines would be a true sign of his progression and it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to accomplish this. He shot a miserable 40.1% from the field and 33.1% from 3 last year. This kid is purported to have Jimmer-like range. If he can shoot closer to 48% or better from the field and 40% or better from three, he should be able to add two points and two assists per game to his contribution.
Shouldering some of the guard line burden will be seniors Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick, JC transfer junior Raul Delgado, sophomores Anson Winder and Tyler Haws (fresh off the mission), and freshman Cory Calvert. Zylstra and Cusick provide the senior leadership and Cusick particularly to Carlino when he tries to do too much. Zylstra was most consistent three-point threat last season shooting 37.6% from the arc. Haws is a 6-5 sophomore from Alpine recently returning from the Philippines on his mission. During his freshman year, he averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 49.8% from the field, 36.8% from downtown and almost 92% from the charity line. Regarding his expected role on this year’s team he said,
“(Coach Rose) expects me to come in and contribute and play a big role on this team.”
“I feel like we’ve got strong bug guys and we’re more than capable on the wing to get things done.”
The guard play and wing play will be essential to provide the much needed balance on this year’s squad. I expect Carlino and Haws will be providing that leadership for much of the season. I would also expect Delgado to jump right in and make some noise in this back court and probably take a lot of the minutes that Zylstra and Cusick were getting last season. And lets not forgot sophomore Anson Winder who will figure in prominently as the shooting guard this year. You can easily expect a regular rotation of Carline, Delgado, Zylstra, Winder, and Haws in the 1, 2, and 3 positions this season with Cusick and freshman Cory Calvert picking up some minutes along the way.
The big guys will be led by Brandon Davies this year. He’s the senior leader and it’s finally his team to lead. The senior big man averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks last season while shooting over 51% from the field. In his three previous seasons, the only significant stat to decline was his field goal percentage. As a freshman, he averaged 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds. As a sophomore he was averaging 11.1 and 6.2 on the Jimmer-centric team. He’s improved scoring, rebounding, and defense each season on the team and now that he’s the main guy, I expect he will improve yet again for his senior campaign.
He won’t have to do it alone. He’ll have fan-favorite Nate Austin in the front court to help him out as well and freshman center Ian Harward, fresh from his mission to San Antonio. 6-8 SLCC transfer Agustin Ambrosino will mix into the rotation as well to keep the front court fresh and strong.
I still feel like this offense is going to flow through Brandon Davies. He’s far too talented to not run the offense through. But if the wing players can step up and be consistent from range (far too often they weren’t last season) he will find the middle wide open to do as he pleases.
If you want to see the schedule, click here:
The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic gets the season underway on Nov. 9 in the Marriott Center. A week later, BYU should find itself in New York playing against Florida State and either Notre Dame or Saint Joseph’s. That’s a tough way to start the season for the Cougars, but the early road trip should provide some quality team time to help the players gel and come together as a single unit. Other notable non-conference games feature teams such as Iowa State, Utah State, Utah, Baylor, and Virginia Tech. And then the conference season kicks off for the Cougars on January 3 in Provo as they host 2011-2012 surprise Loyola Marymount.
This season, BYU will play on ESPN or a sister station nine times with 17 games on BYUtv. truTV will be picking up two early games presuming BYU plays both nights in New York.
We’ll be posting weekly previews for each game during the season so check back for our thoughts on each week’s match ups.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This season should be a lot of fun. Carlino was expected to do more last season than he did as he seemingly hit a wall at one point. The offense bogged down at times when it had to be force fed in the middle and we all remember the long streak where BYU couldn’t hit a shot from behind the three.
I expect it will be much different this season. The offense cannot and will not flow as much through the front court this season. Ambrosino, Austin, and Harward will need to provide support up front to Davies but they aren’t ready to be anything more than the fourth or fifth option on the floor during any typical play. The guards and wings will need to step up and with Delgado joining the team and Haws rejoining the team, there should be some more consistency. I don’t expect Carlino will hit the same wall; in fact, I expect he’ll make sure of it.
I expect BYU will lose on the road in conference this season at Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s and possibly even Loyola Marymount. If they can get one of those three and hold serve at home, they will be in the mix for WCC regular season champion on March 2. BYU should win at least 25 games once again and with a good showing in the WCC Championships, they should secure a 7th straight NCAA bid.