With the announcement of Gavin Baxter being out for the season, the big men for BYU Basketball are nearly non existent.
While many may argue that the most important player on a basketball team is a point guard or a shooting guard, when looking at overall impact, the post players are the most crucial. After all, they are the ones responsible for interior defense, blocks, rebounds and put back baskets. If a team can't rebound, the other team will likely get a 10-15 point swing. That difference can make a 25 win team become a 10 win team.
Two months ago BYU looked like a 25 win team. Now, they look like a 10 win team, at least to start off with, until they are able to get Zac Seljaas and Yoeli Childs back.
Looking at the BYU roster, there are many post players that can make an impact, however with Yoeli Childs, Zac Seljaas (technically a guard but would have played a four) and Gavin Baxter out, the four and five position will come down to Dalton Nixon, Kolby Lee and Richard Harward (if eligible). While Nixon is a hard worker, his offensive numbers have been sub throughout his career. Lee and Harward, although tall, also don't appear to be offensive options or the kind of defenders that can cover heavier post players.
This team looks doomed, and honestly they may be unless Mark Pope is able create some magic in a game plan. In all likelihood, the team is going to have to play a four guard style, regardless of what the other team puts out. What this means is that the Cougars will likely have more speed, but rebounding on both sides of the floor will take a major hit. Losing the rebounding battle more times than not, is an indicator of which team goes on to win the game.
To give a football analogy, having no production from the post is like having a 175 lb running back that runs a 5.1 40-yard and can't juke. While they may still get the ball, plays will have to be made in the pass game in a two minute offense kind of style.
BYU Basketball is going to have to play the two minute offense until Yoeli Childs gets back. The best bet for BYU is to get as many fast break points as possible and run a full court press. Yes, a full court. This will force turnovers and cause the other teams post players to make plays with the ball, something they often struggle with. Will this work every time? Nope. Will it probably lead to some losses? Yes. But honestly, what other options do the Cougars have?
The bottom line is, Dalton Nixon and Kolby Lee are going to get a lot of playing time and should be asked just to get rebounds and stay out of foul trouble. If they can do that, BYU may have a chance against some good teams. If they get in foul trouble, it may be time to raise the white flag.