What having no All-Conference players says about BYU

BYU didn't have any players earn all-conference honors this year. What does that mean for the Cougars?
Jaxson Robinson and Fousseyni Traore contest a shot from UCF's Jaylin Sellers
Jaxson Robinson and Fousseyni Traore contest a shot from UCF's Jaylin Sellers / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

The Big 12 All-Conference teams were selected this past week, with a grand total of zero BYU Cougars occupying spots on any team. In preseason All-Conference polls, no BYU names were present at all, so this doesn't come as a great surprise. But four players from BYU received honorable mentions for the team, with Jaxson Robinson earning Sixth Man of the Year honors in the official voting.

Dallin Hall, Spencer Johnson, Jaxson Robinson, and Fousseyni Traore received All-Big 12 honorable mentions, which encapsulates the Cougars' whole identity in this first year of Big 12 play.

While watching the Cougars meltdown against Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals, I heard a friend mention how BYU's greatest weakness was their lack of having a go-to bucket-getter to lean on when they need a basket. To his point, BYU's lack of star power is a significant reason why they haven't been on the same level as the best teams in the nation--when they desperately need offense, sometimes it's nowhere to be found.

If I can make a counterargument, though. Four honorable mentions for the All-Conference team with no official members is BYU's greatest strength. The Cougars' focus on team strength over individual talent makes their team greater than the sum of its parts. So, while having a star player could be helpful for a BYU team hoping to make a splash on the landscape of March Madness, the Cougars found a way to become a legitimate Big 12-level program by rejecting individualism and embracing teamwork.

With the NCAA Tournament a week away, BYU will need to regroup and focus on what makes them stand out from the rest of the field if they hope to make a deep run. While inconsistency and poor showings have been necessary growing pains for this power conference newcomer, their emphasis on teamwork, ball movement, and self-sacrifice has gotten them to this point. It's been fantastic to watch.

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