BYU Basketball: Losing Yoeli Childs for Nine Games was a Blessing in Disguise
It is very possible that BYU Basketball is in a better position because of the Yoeli Childs suspension.
It is pretty crazy to suggest the idea that a team can be in a better position by having their best player sit out for the first nine games of the season. Yet, as I watched BYU hold off a pesky Oral Roberts team on Saturday, it occured to me that this may be the case.
While Yoeli Childs had a good game against the Golden Eagles, the rest of the team did not, something that has not happened since the Kansas game. Everyone knew that at some point the Cougars would be cold behind the three point line and it happened against ORU. The Cougars shot 9 for 30 behind the arc but were able to adjust and win the game.
That adjustment made me think though, what happens if Childs has a terrible game? Will the team be able to adjust? The answer is yes. How do we know? Because they went 6-3 without him. Not only did they go 6-3, they did it by beating UCLA, Virginia Tech, Houston and taking third place in the Maui Invitational.
If Yoeli Childs plays in all of those games, yes the Cougars would likely have two more wins and be an all but lock for the NCAA Tournament, but the team may not be in as good of a position. The reality is, there are going to be games this year that Yoeli Childs is going to be shut down and contained, whether in WCC play or the postseason. If that happens against a team like Saint Mary's who has 7'3" Aaron Menzies, the Cougars will have to adjust, and because of their experience without Childs, they very likely will.
Forward Dalton Nixon said in an interview that he is playing much better this season because he has a green light. Would he have felt that if Childs was the main guy down low for the entire season? Maybe, but less likely. What about the other role players who have gotten more minutes and shots like Kolby Lee, Zac Seljaas and even Trevin Knell? Not likely at all.
The fact is, it is probably better for BYU to be 12 seed with team confidence than a nine seed and dependant on Childs' play.
Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to see Childs play all season, if nothing else for himself because he deserved it. However, if you ask me right now if this team is better because of it, the answer is very clear.
Yes Childs may have lost some games to start the season, but because of it, he may get a few more at the end of the season.