BYU Cougars 09-10 Basketball Preview

The 2009 BYU team was one of the best teams in school history as BYU went 25-8 while winning the regular season of the Mountain West, but then lost yet again to Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament.  BYU has yet to win a tournament since the 1993 NCAA tournament.  The offseason was not so cheery for the Cougars coach Dave Rose who found out he had a rare pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor which was cancerous.

The early diagnostic was in early June and his coaching career was in question, but three months later in September there was some good news that Coach Rose was clear of cancer.  Hopefully, the cancer is gone for good.  On another historical note in ESPN/Sagarain all-time rankings BYU comes in as the 40th best program of all-time which was a surprise to me.  Rivals has BYU ranked 43rd in their preseason countdown.

BYU does not lose much in terms of talent, but their biggest loss was Lee Cummard who was the schools leading scorer at 16.8 per game, and pulled in just under seven boards a game.  His loss will be felt because his points will need to be found somewhere else.  Cummard was the 2008 player of the year and was a multiple all-conference player.

In recruiting BYU brings in four recruits for the 2009-2010 with none bigger then local product Tyler Haws who is a shooting guard and ranked 145th nationally and the 35th point guard in the nation.  Haws also was the best player in the state of Utah and should compete for a lot of playing time in this upcoming season.  Head coach Dave Rose has owed the state of basketball recruiting for the past few years, and until Utah can become a consistent top team in the Mountain West that will not change.

 

 

BYU was a near unanimous choice to repeat as regular season conference champions with 23 of the 24 votes going to BYU; the other vote went to San Diego State.  Even with the loss of guard Lee Cummard the Cougars have the talent to repeat, but their main goal needs to win a game in the NCAA tournament.  Now, the players and coaches will not publicly state that; as they will say conference is the goal as it should be but back in their mind a NCAA tourney win is what they want.

The schedule is not bad this year and the big change for all MWC schools is the conference challenge between the Missouri Valley Conference to provide good matchups to boost the leagues RPI.  BYU also is participating in the Las Vegas Classic for a mini tournament, plus good non-conference games as Utah State, Arizona, Arizona State, Nevada and Fresno State.  That is a pretty solid schedule.

The BYU season will come down to big man Jonathan Tavernari and Jimmer Fredetee on the offensive end and then Jackson Emery who was on the all defensive team last year and will guard the opposing teams best small player.  Tavernari is the most versatile player on the team and is a player who can shoot the three point shot and still rebound well with a 7.2 average last year; even though he is undersized Tavernari is able to handle the bigger forwards.

Jimmer Fredetee has came a very long way from his first year from BYU, and here is an excerpt from SLAM Online about Jimmer Fredettee:

"I think it’s an example of someone who came in and worked really hard as a freshman and accepted his role of coming off the bench," says associate head coach Dave Rice. "He worked real hard on his game in the offseason, saw an opportunity as a sophomore and seized it. He became an all-conference player on a conference champion and a team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. I think one of the other things too is that we played him exclusively as a shooting guard during his freshman season before we moved him to the point guard position as a sophomore."

With a team that returns four starters and the first four players off the bench, there will be plenty of individuals to shoulder the load of bringing another 25-win season to BYU.  Which is just another reason the pressure is on for BYU to win at least one NCAA tournament game.

PROJECTED STARTERS
C Chris Miles, 6-11/235, Sr.
F Jonathan Tavernari, 6-6/215, Sr.
F/G Charles Abouo, 6-5/210, Soph.
G Jackson Emery, 6-3/185, Jr.
G Jimmer Fredette, 6-2/195, Jr.
KEY RESERVES
C James Anderson, 6-10/230, Soph.
F Brandon Davies, 6-9/230, Fr.
F Noah Hartsock, 6-8/215, Soph.
G Michael Loyd, 6-1/170, Soph.
G Lamont Morgan, 5-10/170, Sr.
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