BYU Basketball: Midsummer update

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 09: Alex Barcello #13 of the Brigham Young Cougars drives against Aaron Cook #4 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the championship game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bulldogs defeated the Cougars 88-78. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

With so much hype and questions about BYU Football, BYU Basketball has been buried in the headlines.

Normally this time of year almost 95% of the fan attention is on BYU Football, as it should be, but this year it seems a bit odd that BYU Men’s Basketball is not receiving any attention at all. The team is coming off of being a six seed in the NCAA Tournament and is bringing back leading scorer and point guard Alex Barcello. With all of this, even though the season is five months away, an update is well past due of what has been going on.

Transfers

BYU Basketball added Te’Jon Lucas, another transfer who has played at P5 level. This will be his final year of eligibility so he is expected to be an instant impact maker and a much needed backup point guard, or primary point guard to give Barcello more looks from beyond the arc.

The team likely still needs one more transfer as they still have a scholarship spot to fill. While I’m sure there are plenty of guys on the current roster that would love that spot, Mark Pope and his staff are likely still looking for a small forward who can shoot.

Schedule

The WCC Conference schedule has been released (not dates) and it was announced that for the third year in a row the Cougars will only play Santa Clara once. They will also play San Diego once. Under a relatively new rule, the WCC only plays 16 conference games and while there is a formula to who plays who, BYU will almost always play Gonzaga and St. Mary’s twice.

Coaching Staff

It appears that somehow, someway the coaching staff stayed in tact this offseason and it will likely stay that way for at least one more season. It is VERY rare for a coaching staff not a from a P5 to stick together after being a top six in the NCAA Tournament.

Gideon George

Gideon George emerged as a really solid contributor in 2020-21 despite being a JUCO transfer and not high on anybody’s depth chart projections in the preseason. He ended up averaging 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and shot 31% from three in about 13 minutes per game. He is now trying out to make the Olympic team for his home country Nigeria, a team that features players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Gabe Vincent.

Cougars in the Pros

Former BYU Basketball players have had a lot of success in the pros here and abroad. The headliner is Elijah Bryant who got an invite to the Milwaukee Bucks and has actually been a contributor to the team during the NBA Playoffs. Bryant is averaging 5.3 minutes per game during the playoffs and is shooting 58% from two and 30% from three.

Jake Toolson also signed with German Club BG Göttingen which is an upgrade from the SLC Starts G-Leauge.

Finally, Brandon Davies is a EuroLeague All-Star and helped his team Barcelona make it all the way to the EuroLeague Championship game. On the season Davies averaged 12 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.