BYU Basketball: The Most Dominant Rebuild in BYU History
Updated: Jun 13, 2020
BYU Basketball appears to be reloading rather than rebuilding after losing a majority of their production from this past season.
It is not often that a team can lose their four of their top five scores, top four rebounders, top three assisters, and four of the top five defenders (steals) and be considered in a spot just as good, if not better the next season.
While it is important to walk the walk before talking the talk, BYU Basketball appears to be lacing up their shoes, putting on their headphones and have their route planned out, straight to the NCAA Tournament.
Don't quite believe me? Just look at what BYU has already added this offseason (while in quarantine no less).
Matt Haarms: The Purdue transfer averaged 8.6 points, 2.0 blocks, 4.6 rebounds and shot 52.4% from the field last season in 20 minutes per game in the toughest conference in the country, the Big Ten. If given 32 minutes in the WCC, don't be surprised to see Haarms get 15 points, 3 blocks and 8 rebounds per game.
Brandon Averette: When Jake Toolson says that Averette was the best player two years ago on a team that included himself you know it is a compliment, especially from Toolson who isn't afraid to admit how good he is. Averette may be the missing piece the Cougars needed. He is good ball handler who is quick and can score in a variety of ways. Last season for UVU he averaged 12.8 points, 3.0 assists, and shot a decent 33% from beyond the arc. Averette will likely be helping Barcello as the primary point guard.
Wyatt Lowell: Technically he was on the team last season, but because of transfer rules he sat out. Lowell is an odd player that reminds me a bit of Luka Doncic. I'm not comparing his talent to the NBA star, however, his build and play style are similar. Lowell standing 6'10" is able to get slash to the paint, post up, or shoot a deep three. While his freshmen stats don't scream anything special, his 38% 3PT as a freshman is promising as well as his athletic build.
Richard Harward: Another giant at 6'11", Harward will provide a typical center presence for the Cougars that could be extremely helpful for rebounding and causing havoc down low. His 7.0 ppg and 3.3 rebounds in only 14 minutes shows a lot potential of being a 13 point, 7 rebound kind of player if given 26-28 minutes per game.
Gideon George: While less is known about George and how well his game will translate to the D1 level, his game really improved at the end of his season last year averaging 13.7 points in his final ten games. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and shot 59.9% from the field. George brings length and athleticism to a team that at times last year depended on 6'7" Zac Seljaas as the tallest player on the court.
Jesse Wade: It seems like Wade has been on the team for awhile now, but since he had to sit out a year, and then was injured I'm still going to put him on this list. It has been a long time since Wade has played any valuable minutes in a real game, but the fact that Gonzaga recruited him says something. Wade could be the surprise player this year.
Spencer Johnson: Last season, Johnson played at SLCC last year and has been buried by the likes of Haarms and Lohner, but Pope getting Johnson may be a great get. Johnson was recruited back in November when Johnson was still starting his season off. He ended up finishing this past season scoring 13.2 points, pulling down 5 rebounds and shooting 37% from three.
Caleb Lohner - The Utah commit that recently announced he wants to play for the Cougars is the kind of player that could be an immediate impacter. In high school Lohner, a top 200 player nationally, averaged 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on a loaded Wasatch Academy team, that sent five players to division one schools.
Hunter Erickson - Erickson will be coming off a mission and there isn't a lot known about him or how he will be used by Mark Pope. In high school, Erickson did average 22 points per game his senior year, however he was not actively recruited like some of the other players on this list. Erickson could potentially be a late game kind of player when the Cougars need a three.
Townsend Tripple - First off, what a name. Tripple was the top Idaho recruit according to Max Preps and planned on serving a mission. COVID-19 changed his plans however and he appears to want to play next season. Tripple is a walk on and will likely not see a lot of time on the court this next season, but you never know.
Kolby Lee is the Proof
Kolby Lee surprised everyone last year when he became a crucial player for the Cougars. Many thought that he would be a band aid to hold down BYU until Yoeli Childs was able to return, but he turned out to be a real game impactor. Some of his best games included scoring 14 points against Houston, 13 against UCLA and 21 points against San Diego in a game that he took over, scoring 10 straight points.
The fact that nobody has Lee, who was a starter 28 games last year including when Yoeli Childs was back, even listed as a two deep player next year says a lot. Kolby Lee is a great player, but there is so much talent coming in next year that Lee may be the fifth or sixth best big man on the team.
Kolby Lee is a great player, but I can't disagree with any of the other experts. Lee may provide maturity and experience in tough situations, however from a talent point, I don't see Lee getting much playing time, at least how things appear on paper.
I project BYU is going to lose a game or two that they shouldn't lose early in the year. Without much in-game chemistry with this group, I can see how that could cost some issues early. Later in the season, the team will get it figured out and pull out some big wins without losing any head scratchers to lower tiered WCC teams.
The Cougars could find themselves in a deep run in the NCAA Tournament with a good draw of teams/upsets. Haarms, Barcello, Harward and Averette are all going to want to go out with a bang, and with the talent on this team, it could be a special season.