Nov 12, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UNLV Runnin

BYU Basketball: Early look at the 2014-15 Roster

The 2013-14 season of BYU Basketball is now in the books.  Another chapter of Cougar Cager action is behind us.  But here at Lawless Republic, we are always looking to the future for what lies ahead in BYU sports.  So obviously we had to roll out our early-early-early-bird look at the 2014-2015 BYU Basketball roster.

Next year’s team will rely on some new faces in key positions.  Diaper dandy center, Eric Mika leaves for his mission to Italy, and will be gone the next two seasons.  There will be a total of  six seniors on next year’s squad.  An experienced group that has played in a total of five post-season games over the past two seasons.  The expectation will be to win the West Coast Conference and advance in the NCAA Tournament.  No excuses for this team that will bolster some talented players.

Here’s my take on next year’s roster with a little over six months till Midnight Madness.

Starters

If Kyle Collinsworth is healthy, he will be holding down the point guard position for BYU next season.  If not, Carlino of course steps in as the starter.  But for now we will assume that K.C. will play at some point next season.

I will say, if he isn’t at least 85% healthy, don’t rush him back into playing.  With a redshirt year available use it if needed.  Of course it would be nice to pair KC with Haws for one more season to make a run in the big dance.  With the way Collinsworth plays I don’t see the benefit to him coming back if he isn’t 85 to 90% healthy.  ACL’s take time.  I wouldn’t bet against him making a speedy recovery, because he is a special athlete.  But don’t push the issue.

Position
Name
Class
Point GuardKyle Collinsworth (Injured - ACL)Junior (Redshirt available)
Shooting GuardChase FischerJunior
Small ForwardTyler HawsSenior
Power ForwardJamal Aytes (December)Sophomore
CenterNate AustinSenior

I’m predicting that both transfers Chase Fischer (Wake Forest), and Jamal Aytes (UNLV) crack the starting lineup for BYU.  Due to transfer rules Aytes isn’t eligible until mid-December.  So he won’t be available for BYU’s trip to Hawaii in the Maui Invitational next year.  But when he is available, he will be an instant impact player for the Cougar Cagers.  He’s been enrolled in school since January of this year.

With Fischer and Aytes in the starting lineup, this is BYU’s best five players next year.

Aytes at 6’6 reminds me of a former UNLV Rebel, Odartey Blankson.  An athletic, versatile player who can go inside-and-out.  The type of player who has given BYU struggles over the years.  Now the Cougars can boast a player like that on their roster.

Aytes is not LDS.  So no mission plans for the talented California native.

Here’s some highlights to get you excited about Aytes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Rh8-W70qI]

Jan 19, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Chase Fischer (10) handles the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Then there is Chase Fischer.  I don’t think people realize the accolades that Fischer comes to BYU with. Fischer, who’s not LDS, knew little to nothing about BYU when he was searching for a new school after announcing he would be transferring out of Wake Forest.  The connection to BYU was assistant coach Mark Pope.  Pope reached out to Fischer to make a visit to Provo, and the rest is history.  Fischer committed to the Cougars on the spot after visiting the campus.

One of the most heralded prospects from the state of West Virginia, Fischer averaged 34.5 points per game in his final two seasons in high school playing in Ripley, WV.  Was a Parade 1st Team All-American as a senior.  In his two years at Wake Forest, Fischer in  limited minutes on Jeff Bzdelik’s Demon Deacon squad, shot 43.3% from the three-point line.  Which is music to all BYU fans ears.  With having an entire year in the program to practice with the team, Fischer will be ready to go as a starter next season.  Fischer and Aytes are two of the biggest transfers this program has signed since Trent Whiting came to BYU from Utah back in 2000.  A lot of expectations will be placed on these two next year, and in future seasons.

2014 WCC Player of the Year, Tyler Haws returns for his senior campaign.  Haws will walk away from BYU as one of the all-time leading scorers in BYU history when his career is all said and done.  But the one thing Haws needs to improve over the summer is his outside shooting.  His mid-range game is arguably the best in the country, and Haws will be touted as one of the nation’s premier guard/forwards heading into next year because of his outstanding mid-range skills.  But his three-point shooting leaves much to be desired.  If he can shoot at a consistent clip from behind the three, Haws will be nearly unstoppable.

Nate Austin rounds out the starting lineup.  By far the most seasoned front court player on next year’s team.  This year, Austin had 10 games recording 10+ rebounds.  That’s where his impact is felt on this team, and he’s a vocal leader.  Without Mika though in the front court, Austin needs to assert himself more offensively next year.  We know he’s capable, but the past two seasons he has been afraid to shoot the rock.

Reserves

Name
Position
Class
Anson WinderGuardSenior
Matt CarlinoPoint GuardSenior
Frank BartleyGuard/ForwardSophomore
Skyler HalfordGuardSenior
Isaac NeilsonCenterFreshman
Josh SharpForwardSenior
Luke Worthington (Mission?)Forward/CenterSophomore

Mar 19, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brigham Young guard Anson Winder during a press conference before the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

BYU found some nice production towards the end of the season from Anson Winder and Frank Bartley IV.  Winder who started down the stretch this year at the two guard will thrive as BYU’s sixth man off the bench next season.  His defensive spark will give BYU a nice lift.

Had Frank Bartley played more this season there could have been a case that Bartley would be a starter next year.  The pride of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bartley went through a phase in WCC play where he saw little to no minutes.  A freshman wall you could say.  Happens to the best of them.  But what we saw in the final two games of this year, left me wondering where was Frank the Tank in games on the road against Pacific and Portland?  Hopefully the momentum built from his play against Gonzaga and Oregon in the NCAA Tournament will carry into next year.  When Bartley is a junior look for him to become a starter in this program.  He has a bright future.

Matt Carlino will be the starter at point guard if Collinsworth is out with an injury.  That’s a given.  But if K.C. is available, I’m curious to see how Rose uses Matty Basketball.  Will Carlino receive less than 28 minutes a game (average this season)?  Now there is a decent replacement in Jordan Chatman at PG if Carlino is struggling.  A lot of question marks, and few answers surround Carlino as he heads into his final campaign as a Cougar.  Still feel that he has tremendous potential to lead this team to great heights.  We need to see it though on a consistent basis.

Skyler Halford had a stretch in January where you thought, finally a Dave Rose JUCO signing is producing.  When Halford scored 28 points against San Diego, I thought to myself, hopefully he can bury shots like this on a consistent basis. That Halford explosion was short lived.  Off the top of my head, I can’t remember the last time he hit a three.  That’s what he was signed to do out of SLCC, hit threes.  If he can’t do that, what can we really expect from him next season?

Josh Sharp.  From being BYU’s version of Dennis Rodman in 2013, to being a non-contributor for most of this season.  The only question I have regarding Sharp next year is, will he be the next recipient of the James Anderson scholarship?  For those of you reading this who don’t know what I’m talking about, think about it for a second and it’ll come to you.

Luke Worthington sounded like a guy destined for a mission earlier in the year.  Now there’s no official plans last we’ve heard.  Mika and walk-on Graham Pingree both submitted their papers and are headed out on missions over the summer and fall.  No word on Worthington yet.  Worthington struggled a lot to begin his first season as a Cougar.  But the last 10 games he provided some quality minutes in relief of Mika and Austin.  Especially defensively and being a force in the rebounding department.  He’s showing improvement, which is all you can ask for at this point.  Considering how he started.  We will keep you posted when we find out more about his mission plans (if any).

If Isaac Neilson sounds like a name you’ve heard for many years around the BYU program, you  are a studious BYU fan.  Neilson committed to BYU in 2010, and will be entering his redshirt freshman season next year. Yeah that’s 4 1/2 years.  The joys of BYU recruiting, right?  Came back from a mission and enrolled in school the same day as Jamal Aytes back in January.  Will bolster depth at the center spot.  Neilson is 6’10 out of Mission Viejo, CA.  Had offers from UC Irvine, Utah State, and Army out of high school.

Return Missionaries

Name
Position
Class
Jordan ChatmanPoint GuardTrue Freshman
Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian

Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian

A few weeks ago, I would have said Jordan Chatman would be a possible redshirt candidate next season.  Now with the Collinsworth news, Chatman is going to get every opportunity to compete and play right away at point guard for the Cougars next season.

Jordan is the son to BYU Basketball legend, Jeff Chatman.  When he committed to BYU it was a big deal.  Chatman was the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Washington as a senior at Union High School.  Had offers from Washington State, Utah, and Portland.

What intrigues me about Chatman is his size.  Not very often at BYU do they get true point guards who stand at 6’5 and can handle the rock.  Jordan, who is a quiet personality compared to his father, will let his play do the talking the next four or five years in Provo.

Jordan returns from his mission in Taiwan within the next two weeks.

Newcomer from High School

Name
Position
Previous School
Ryan AndrusCenterAmerican Fork H.S.

At 6’10, Ryan Andrus will be another big body in the front court for Mark Pope to coach up.  The intriguing part of Andrus’ game is that he can shoot the three pointer pretty well.  Hit 45 three pointers the past two seasons for the Cavemen.

A rangy body that needs to bulk up in a D-1 conditioning program.  A prospect who could develop into a nice piece in the front court for BYU down the road.  With the limited numbers in the front court, there’s no lock for him to be a redshirt however.  If he has success early on, he could play.

Andrus will play next season then head on a mission for two years.

*****

At first glance, this roster bolsters more athleticism and shooting ability than the past two seasons. But it’ll take time with many new faces in new spots.  But BYU should still be back in the NCAA Tournament with this group.

What’s your initial thoughts on the 2014-15 BYU Basketball roster?  Post your comments or tweet us @LawlessRepublic.

Tags: Anson Winder BYU Cougars Chase Fischer Dave Rose Frank Bartley Isaac Neilson Jamal Aytes Jordan Chatman Josh Sharp Kyle Collinsworth Luke Worthington Matt Carlino Nate Austin Ryan Andrus Skyler Halford Tyler Haws

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