BYU Basketball: What Burgess’ exit really means

Dec 18, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Brigham Young Cougars assistant coach Chris Burgess (C) speaks to the team during a time out in the second half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

BYU Basketball assistant coach Chris Burgess will be coaching for Utah next season.

When an assistant coach leaves for another job, the knee jerk reaction is to expect the worst. This can include players transferring/decommiting, a position group falling apart, and the overall self destruction of a program.

With the announcement of Chris Burgess leaving BYU to coach at Utah, all of these reactions made their way to social media and radio talk shows within just hours. Is there worry to be concerned? Yes, of course. Anytime there is change there is reason to be cautious, but let’s be honest, BYU Basketball is going to be just fine.

Burgess was and is a great coach. He can be given credit for helping to develop Fousse Traore as quickly as he did and helping to keep the big men a part of the offense when it seemed as though the team would have to rely solely on the guards with the transfer of Kolby Lee and injuries to Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward. Burgess is known for going on long recruiting trips and finding talent all over.

That doesn’t mean all of that progress is going to stop though.

Sure, whoever Mark Pope ends up finding is going to have to change things up a bit. That is the beauty of coaching. Every coach brings their own flare and ingredients to the table. But fans should also remember that the head chef is still Mark Pope and this is his restaurant. Sure, certain sets may change, or a preference of going hook shot vs pump fake may be different, but the offense isn’t going to change.

The BYU roster in 2022-23 is essentially the roster that will be in the Big 12. It can be expected that Pope is going to be able to get a Big 12 caliber coach. For all we know maybe there was writing on the wall for Burgess and he decided to get out when he had a chance at another great job.

The bottom line is that yes, losing Burgess to Utah stings a bit. But out of 100 things that could have gone bad for BYU Basketball, losing an assistant coach is towards the bottom of the list and there is still a lot to be optimistic about.