BYU Basketball relies heavily on transfers and less on high school recruits.
Te’Jon Lucas, Seneca Knight, Matt Haarms and Gideon George are just some of the transfer players that Mark Pope has gotten since he took over the BYU Basketball program over two years ago. On the flip side, when looking at high school players that have been recruited by Mark Pope only Fousse Traore and Caleb Lohner (technically a transfer as well) stick out as guys that have made an impact.
While this strategy is nothing new, the emphasis on transfers as opposed to high school talent appears on the surface to be more aggressive than what we’ve seen in college basketball.
But is it working? The short answer is yes.
BYU Basketball was in a position to make the NCAA Tournament in 2020 as a five or six seed and followed it up with a six seed last year. This year the Cougars are on track to make the tournament again in the eight to ten seed area. By all accounts, that is a success, especially when you consider that prior to Mark Pope’s arrival the Cougars had missed the Big Dance the previous four seasons.
On the flip side however there is one big negative; the roster is always drastically different every single year bringing into question team chemistry and player development.
Matt Haarms was great to have, but he was only around for one season. Te’Jon Lucas is a huge boost this year, however he also is a one year player.
But is this really a problem? It could be.
By brining in a player for only one season, it limits the amount of player development that other players who are underclassmen get. Players like Hunter Erikson and Spencer Johnson are getting limited minutes this season because Te’Jon Lucas is in the starting rotation. Last year Kolby Lee played behind Matt Haarms and ended up transferring after the season.
Next year, when Lucas is long gone the Cougars may feel a bit more of a drop off than they would have otherwise felt by having the natural player development of those two guys.
So the question becomes, is it worth it?
There is no doubt that BYU Basketball is better this year because of the transfers, but there is also no doubt that the team will be in a tougher situation next year because of it, barring of course another big transfer coming in.
It sort of feels like Mark Pope is putting band aids on every year with transfers and hoping that it works. To this point it has worked great, and we can just hope it continues to.
For me the bottom line is I want BYU Basketball to make the tournament. If they are doing that, I am happy.