Basketball Recruiting?

With the 2022-2023 just a few weeks away and with the first game as a member of the Big 12 just a year away, I’ve started to think more and more about the quality of recruits but also about the probability of signing these recruits and also the probability that few, if any, of these high-quality recruits will spend all four years as a Cougar. I’ve also begun to wonder about the strategy. Let’s start with the three four-star recruits who visited last month:

Aaron Clark (Bewster Academy in Pennsylvania): Developed an on-going relationship with Kahil Fennell when Fennell was an assistant at Louisville. The recruiting site On3 has Clark at almost a 50% chance of signing with BYU. He would be an impressive signee considering some of the offers he has (Seton Hall, Miami, et al.). I’m not sure how credible predictions are on On3, but it appears to be a recruiting site that keeps close tabs on the top high school players.

Mallick Diallo (Wasatch Academy by way of Mali): Very good friend and former teammate of Cougar Fousseyni Traore. On3 gives BYU a 22% chance of signing with BYU, which is the highest percentage of any other school that has offered (ASU, LSU, et al).

Isaac Davis (Hillcrest High School, Idaho Falls) I’ve heard that Davis comes from a family of BYU fans. If true, I rate BYU’s probability of signing him better than the other two players I’ve mentioned previously. That said, On3 has very little information about him (the site is unimpressively behind the times since it doesn’t include a BYU offer which Davis received in June).

But while all three sound impressive, I worry about Pope’s strategy. I applaud his shooting for the stars but worry that BYU will miss out on good, solid players who aren’t so highly rated. I’m talking about players like Brody Kozlowski (Corner Canyon High School, Utah). He’s the type of player that BYU coaches have traditionally recruited (Utah native, all state, high probability of signing). Brody seems like he would sign with BYU if an offer were tendered (his mom is the color commentator for BYU women’s basketball on BYU-TV), If BYU delays too long, then Kozlowski could sign with someone else.

Should I be worried that BYU might lose out on not only the high interest recruits but also players similar to Kozlowski? BTW, some of you have seen games with Kozlowski and other Utah players. How good are they?

For me the jury is still out on Pope. He has shown he can get transfers through the portal but he hasn’t done any better than Rose in recruiting HS talent. He lost his most touted HS recruit (Lohner) to the portal. His first year was real good but most of his roster was Rose recruits. Every year since his first year BYU has taken a step back. This year will tell me a lot about Pope. This year he doesn’t have much of a returning nucleus and it will be entirely with his own recruits. If BYU does well and makes the NCAA I will probably be sold on him.

I give him somewhat of a pass last year because his 2 top big men were out nearly the whole season.

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I hate the transfer portal. I want it to go back to the way it was: if you transfer, you have to sit out a season.

Pope has only really recruited via the portal, leading to a patchwork team of castoff mercenaries every season. It’s hard for me to care (especially with basketball, which is worse than football with the portal at BYU) when there is no continuity; when high school recruits don’t stay for four years.

Increasingly, too, there are Charlie Brewer/Hank Bachmeyer transfers (I got benched? Outa here! We’ve lost some games? See ya!).

My children and grandchildren aren’t going to know the real thrill and joy of following college sports like we did in previous decades.

I am old enough to remember when guys didn’t get drafted into the NBA, or NFL, until their college eligibility was up. There were a few rare exceptions. Moses Malone blew that up when he signed with the then ABA, Utah Stars, right out of high school in 1974.

I hate the portal. BYU benefits as much as it hurts them, but I still hate it, I hate the NIL, and I hate the one year in college, and done. Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle and nothing is likely to change. Right now I still like college sports better than the pros, but I am not sure how much longer that will be the case.

It used to be when you got a great player you could look forward to 4 years of the guy being with the team and in the old days 3 years when freshman couldn’t play varsity (showing my age). Now you not only have to worry about him jumping to the pros early, you have to worry about the portal. Your sentiments are mine almost exactly.

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I also agree with you that I hate the portal, even when we benefit from it.

I also like pro sports less than college, but I’m rapidly losing interest in college as well. My personal belief is that the landscape is going to have a seismic shift in coming years, and it will be a moot point that we’re in the Big 12. It simply won’t matter, because Oklahoma and Texas (and probably others) will have left it, and high level college sports will be a semi-pro farm system for the NBA/NFL. I think BYU will have to drop down to lower division sports (NIL and portal free). While many would lose interest if they weren’t division 1, I wouldn’t. As it is, I increasingly follow NAU (where three of my kids go) more than BYU. I get more joy out of following them (local kids who stay the whole time). We went to the ASU/NAU game this year. While ASU blew them out, they upset UofA last year. We’re going up to the Weber St. game in November.

I would be fine if BYU dropped down to Big Sky or something like that, when the landscape shifts. It will be weird having a giant stadium or arena and playing schools with smaller venues, but I think schools that don’t want to do the NIL shuffle will have to go that route.

I hope BYU doesn’t sell its soul and try to keep up with the “big boys.”

Well, I think the kids valued their education and college experience back in our days. Magic Johnson left early. So did Wilt Chamberlain after 1 year. Several football players come to mind as well. So, it’s been going on but not like now. The NBA is watered down because of the one and done’s.

I know, all high school athletes must join the Church and go on two year missions before playing sports. That will give equity for all athletes with respect to maturity that the announcers always claim BYU has an advantage with. Maybe they should all get married and have a child before playing too. All in the name of equity :rofl:

By the time Magic left the ABA had been drafting people right out of high school like Moses Malone and Darrell Dawkins. When Wilt left college he played for the Globe Totters because the NBA wouldn’t take guys who hadn’t used up their college eligibility. That was in the late fifties and they were the only pro option for guys who hadn’t finished their college eligibility.

I am not sure when the NBA changed their policy and started signing guys who hadn’t completed their college eligibility. Maybe the seventies. The first guy I remember was Moses Malone and he was the first guy signed right out of high school but he initially signed with the ABA. I am trying to remember guys who left college with eligibility left prior to the eighties and Magic is the only one I can think of. I know there were others but I can’t remember who they were. It seems like the NBA wasn’t signing guys early until the ABA started it and after the merger the NBA started signing guys early. That would have been in the mid to late seventies.

After one year with the Globetrotters, Wilt signed with the SF Warriors. The difference back then was the number of teams was very small. So, it was hard for the very young to make an NBA team over the more experienced greats of that era.
Remember too that colleges also didn’t allow freshman to play as well. Universities at JV squads. John Wooden changed that by allowing Marcus Johnson to play as a freshman.

I agree. Sports, both professional and college are being ruined by the culture we have accepted and are moving forward with. Everything is messed up and sideways hence decisions about different aspects of every part of our culture are poor and cause things to step backwards. Everyone thinks progressive, a buzzword that translates to stupid, is a good thing. The cancel culture is part of progressive liberalism too so there you have it.

How did I draw a connection between the transfer portal and progressive culture? Easy, it’s just another symptom of a sick society with misplace values.

A top BYU athletic official told me that within a few weeks of March Madness there were NINE HUNDRED D1 hoops players in the portal. That could ruin college basketball because fans have to have a shared experience with players, and it you are turning over a lot of the roster each year, well, yeah.

You can scratch Aaron Clark off the recruiting list. He has narrowed his final two down to Miami and Wake Forest.

Brody Kozlowski Highlights - Hoops Circuit Las Vegas - 15U Utah Prospects - YouTube

Great kid, high court IQ. great passer, good 3 pt. shooter, great nose for the game. Great HS player.
why Pope has passed so for…Slow, I have no idea on his defense as all the highlights are offensive video. But he is no gazelle.

I have a lot of faith in Pope. Love his personality. I think it was a big blow to BYU BB when Chris Burgess left for Utah. $$.

I differ from some here in that I think BYU has a bright future in Sports and the B 12. Some of the smartest people/ CO’s are LDS. Our NIL deal with Built Bars was ahead of the curve. The Jazz owner, Ryan Smith, A BYU fan. !0 years from now, BYU will not be a blue blood but they will still be getting ranked and still be talked about on a good year.

And in the grand scheme of things, BYU just made the jump to a solid Big 12, something we all wished for…If the Big 10 raids the P 12 again, Utah and the Arizona schools will join us, creating two divisions and wouldn’t that be a zillion times better then a single league Big 12 whereby BYU has to play WV one week then fly back and play Cinn the next?

Hmmmmm, not every young boy is going to college to hold hands with a pretty girl. Next.

Are you saying he’s gay?

haha Chris…well put…

My daughter worked closely with the basketball team for several years when Coach Pope was an assistant (it was during the Tyler Haws/KC years). I knew or talked to most of the guys on those teams. My daughter had direct, nearly daily interactions with all of the players, and sometimes with Coach Pope. My takeaway from the people I spoke with directly–players, my daughter, and athletic department officials who are friends of mine and who were very involved day to day with the team–is that Coach Pope was a 10 out of 10 in every way. I was thrilled when he got the top job and have great faith in his ability to make our program relevant in the Big12. Sure, it will take a few years, but I cannot imagine a better guy to get us there. Coach Pope is a huge believer in top end athleticism, and with our severe recruiting limitations (academics and HC). Of course he will sign guys who are great HS players with well developed fundamentals (FB, SJ, etc), but I think we will see him passing on some “great” HS players who are slow, earthbound, etc., and instead taking some shots on athletic freaks (Fouss, Lohner, Atiki, George). Our ONLY chance to compete in the Big12 is to get WAAAAAAAAY more athletic and hope that some of the riskier recruits who are great athletes also turn into great players.

Remember when we got just embarrassed and slaughtered by Gonzaga, and Gedeon George was the only guy on our team athletic enough to even compete in that game? Our “great” HS players didn’t even belong on the same court as the GU guys. I think Pope sees a game like that from a raw talent like Gedeon and salivates at what could be if a guy with those tools develops into a consistent player with sound fundamentals.

Sounds good until we hear the Transporter Hole winding up and gone is Lohner and almost George.

I was thinking specifically of Gedeon George and Gonzaga when I wrote this…

I think Pope is looking to pare some athletes with Chandler in a few years. Could be real good

For now, BYU looks in disarray, but I look at our core of Faus, George, Johnson, Atiki, Knell and Stewart. Add a very good PG Williams and True FR. Hall (who will impress from the beginning) as a PG, sharpshooters, Toolson/Saunders. and gifted 6’11 Waterman and BYU should be at least 3rd in the WCC and make another dance run.

By mid season, Fous, George, Williams, Waterman/Robinson and Hall should be a pretty good starting 5 with Johnson, Knell and the aforementioned W/R is should be fun to watch. Pope is Running this team ragged. Wants BYU to be running teams out of the gym. Think of the opposite of a Tuiaki Defense.

Did I read something about Knell having shoulder surgery and being out quite awhile?
Fouss is awesome. He’s like a guaranteed rebounding machine and a legitimate low post, back to the basket threat. I think he and Williams are all conference guys. George will be one of the best athletes in the league. If he can learn to defend without fouling, and is aggressive in the post (where he cannot be stopped by other guards), he can be a major impact guy–at least 13 and 6 per game or so. I don’t know anything about Hall. I saw Saunders on film in high school and he looked like an elite shooter who could get his shot off against elite defenders.

Waterman: My buddy in the program says he’s a great athlete and should be a good player. He only averaged 8 and 4 last year, BUT: In his first 10 games last year he averaged 5 and 3. In his last 10 games he averaged 11 and 5, and late in the season he scored in double figures in 9 of 12 games. At an athletic and rangy 6’11" he’s a career 44% 3 point shooter, on lots of attempts–that’s super elite (Barcello shot 42% from deep last year and nobody else was over 40%). His FT% increased from 64% as a freshman to 75% as a sophomore. Everything seems pointed in the right direction for him.

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Dallen Hall out of Fremont will be BYU’s biggest impact out of the Fr. class. Mark it down. He has a Big 12 body, loves contact, can find anyone anytime and take over a game if needed.

Dallin Hall Fremont & AAU Basketball Highlights Summer/Fall 2019 - YouTube