It’s been a rough season for BYU Basketball so far, and a large reason for that has been the lack of player development from season to season.
BYU Basketball is heavy on upperclassmen this season, with two seniors and eight juniors. Usually that’s a recipe for success, since players tend to improve with experience and work.
Yet the Cougars are struggling through their worst season in more than a decade. And there are a myriad of reasons:
- Poor defense, especially on the road.
- No reliable third scorer behind Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws
- Panic when things go wrong, compounding an opponent’s scoring run
Those aren’t the things you’d expect from a veteran team. Usually the added experience helps teams keep calm in bad situations and play focused defense, but that hasn’t been the case for BYU.
You can blame it on a lot of things, and the truth probably lies in some combination of lack of discipline, lack of defensive coaching, bad playcalling and gameplanning, and lack of focus.
And here’s another one: player development.
Now a lack of player development hasn’t been true for every player. Yoeli Childs has improved every season, although his turnovers are still a problem. TJ Haws has been drastically better this season, seeing his shooting touch return and his decision-making improve after a sub-par 2017-18 campaign.
Over the past few years, BYU’s stars have shown improvement while the role players have tended to stagnate. Eric Mika improved before leaving for Europe. So did Elijah Bryant. Just imagine a lineup this season featuring Haws, Bryant, Childs, and Mika…
But the role players have shown little to no improvement in production as their Cougar careers have progressed. In fact some have regressed.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.