100 Teams in 100 Days: BYU Cougars

2016-2017 Season Review

After making the NCAA Tournament eight out of nine times from 2007-2015, BYU has missed The Big Dance the past two seasons. This past season saw the Cougars win the fewest games since year one of the Dave Rose era, as they finished with a 22-12 record. That shows just how good this program has been under Rose, but with that becomes high expectations that haven’t been met as of late. The Cougars did end the regular season on a high note, going on the road and handing Gonzaga its first loss of the season in the final game before the postseason. BYU lost to Saint Mary’s by 31 in the WCC semi-finals and fell in the first round of the NIT to UT-Arlington, 105-89.

Key Losses

Eric Mika is gone after a First Team All WCC sophomore season. The 6’10 big man declared for the NBA Draft after averaging 20.3 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 1.9 BPG. The Cougars will definitely miss his presence down low on both ends of the court. Kyle Davis, who averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 11 games before having season ending knee surgery, is gone after graduating. L.J. Rose is also gone after graduating. The guard put up 5.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 4.7 APG. Davin Guinn, a 6’5 forward, had another year of eligibility remaining, but will head to law school instead. Guinn played 13.1 MPG last season. Jamal Aytes, a 6’6 forward, is heading to Southern Utah has a graduate transfer, while 6’3 Steven Beo transferred to Eastern Washington. Colby Leifson, who played in 26 games as a freshman, will serve his mission during the season.

Key Returners

6’4 sophomore guard TJ Haws is back after averaging 13.8 PPG, 3.2 APG and 2.9 RPG. The All WCC First Teamer also hit 76 threes at a 40.4% clip. 6’2 junior guard Nick Emery comes back after putting up 13.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 2.4 APG. Emery hit 75 thress during his sophomore campaign. Elijah Bryant, a 6’5 junior guard, averaged 11.7 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 23 games. Yoeli Childs, a 6’8 sophomore forward, was part of the first team All WCC freshman team. He put up 9.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG and will see an even bigger role this season with the loss of Mika. 6’9 forward Braiden Shaw played just 6.5 MPG as a sophomore, but will see an expanded role this season. 6’10 sophomore Payton Dastrup may also see a larger role.

Key Newcomers (Or Returners From Mission Trips)

Dave Rose brings in just one new freshman, 6’6 guard Rylan Bergersen. Bergersen played at prep school Link Year in Missouri last year, where he averaged 18 PPG and shot 42% from three. 6’11 sophomore Ryan Andrus is back from his mission trip. The former three star recruit in 2014 averaged 7.5 MPG in 21 games his freshman season. Kajon Brown, a 6’5 junior guard, played his freshman season at Tulsa and his sophomore season at JUCO Lee College. Brown is an explosive athlete. McKay Cannon, a 6’0 junior guard, played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Weber State, where he started 40 games. 6’0 sophomore guard Jashire Hardnett played at JUCO Chipola College last season, where he averaged 13 PPG. 6’7 sophomore Dalton Nixon is back from his mission trip. Nixon played in 27 games in 2014-2015. Zac Seljaas is also a 6’7 sophomore that is back from a mission trip. Seljaas played 20 MPG in 2015-2016, averaging 7.6 PPG and hitting 68 threes at a phenomenal 50.0% clip. 6’10 junior Luke Worthington is back from a mission trip after playing 12.3 MPG as a sophomore in 2014-2015.

Final Take

BYU likely won’t jump ahead of Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s, but they’ll fight for the third spot in the WCC with San Francisco. The Cougars will be able to put the ball in the bucket, but whether or not they can get stops is the question. They’ll need someone besides Childs to step up in the frontcourt to replace Eric Mika. If the mission trip returners can mesh well with the returners from last season, and the Cougars shoot and defend better, Dave Rose’s squad has a shot to make the NCAA Tournament, although the NIT seems more likely.

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