Issue with our Bigs

Our problem in the paint is not a coaching issue, rather a talent issue. Mark Pope is widely regarded as a top coach of bigs and turns down D1 HC jobs every off season to stay at BYU. Think about it: last year we had Mika, an ESPN top 100 recruit and he played like it. He left but we added Aytes, another highly recruited kid with extreme physical skills and scoring ability. But he’s hurt so that’s that. Then Austin, a strong defender and elite rebounder, goes down. If we had Mika, Aytes and Austin we’d have among the top front lines in the entire country. Instead we are left with 4 bigs who were barely noticed by any other D1 schools, and certainly not P5 schools: Nielson, a beanpole who was not even a dominant player in HS, Kaufusi, athletic but so raw and inexperienced that you don’t even get mad at him, you just feel bad for him, Andrus, another beanpole, and Worthington, who gives all he has but has the least offensive skill of the bunch. Guys get down on Nixon looking overmatched, but I actually think he will be a really good player but has been pressed into service way too early out of Coach’s sheer desperation for production. It is what it is this year. Next year we will be much improved inside with Aytes and Kyle Davis (USU transfer and a great player) out there, and the following year, with those two PLUS Mika and Dastrup, we could go deep into March.

Yes, Tom, you make some interesting points. I agree, it is what it is. I get frustrated at what it could be but never is. It seems we, BYU fans, are always forced into looking to next year, most recently due to the unbelievable injuries. It was so difficult watching our bigs last night. I personally lost hope when Wothington missed that must-make layup and St. Mary’s went on that ridiculous 18-4 run to end the half. Yes, there were bad calls, stupid turnovers and bone head decisions, but that happens even in the games we win. If I was so deflated after Worthington’s miss, how did the other players feel after working so hard and doing so well in the beginning?

What really scares me is the chance BYU does get into the tournament, then is matched up with a Kentucky or Virginia. Can you imagine how ugly that would be? But unless BYU wins the WCC tournament, I think that possibility evaporated last night. So, I guess we look forward to next year?

thanks for at least giving me the notion that Nixon’s minutes are a result of desperation and not inspiration. I hope you are right about his potential to be really good. Like Kaufusi, I thinks he looks confused and wondering what is going on sometimes.

I am still anxious and hesitant to get too excited about what BYU could have or could be. Why? because as a fan I have been down that road so many times it makes my head spin. I won’t believe BYU can even win the wcc, let alone make some noise in the ncaa tourney, until they actually do it.

It is definitely a “believe it when I see it” thing here.

With a 4 guard offense, “those turnovers” are what cannot happen at the rate they did last night. And, I believe it is mainly because of the “weave” offense that tires players out while hypnotizing them so they forget their is a defensive player looking to pick off a pass. I give SMC credit for doing just that. There is no reason for that weave. It does absolutely nothing for an up tempo offense. Rose needs to get rid of it and just run their screen away offense.

I think the weave is designed to give Haws the choice to, if his guy comes over the pick, to drive the lane and, if his guy goes under the pick, to hit the jumper from the top of the key. Last night he did a great job coming around on the weave and going down the lane.

All that is needed is pass and screen away and he can do the same. The weave tires the team out and they make tired lazy passes.

Ok-maybe my last basketball post-you can cheer now-!!! I really like this basketball team-better than last years or the year before that. They share the ball, they have each other’s back, they are not egomaniacs and they are, or were the highest scoring team in the nation, with basically 4 guards and a body. Sometimes it feels like playing 4 on 5. I don’t blame Kaufusi-he basically was a football player changing sports to basketball because he grew too much on his mission. We have hopes, but those hopes are a couple of years down the line. Neilson is a freshman, also, and he is too skinny and weak but could play in a couple of years. Worthington a sophomore-well he tries really hard, but he just isn’t very good right now. So alot of the time we are playing 4 on 5.So why not put Bartley in and play 5 guards. I’m sure he will get more rebounds that our three big men combined. I see a lot of Nixon and Toolson-but very little of Bartley. I felt we should have seen a lot more of Winder before he just about made himself invaluable and couldn’t be left out, so I really don’t know what is going on here, if anything. All and all this team plays hard and a fun to watch until you want to reach out and choke Halford or maybe Rose and I think they all genuinely like each other and like being at BYU. So I’ll keep watching and maybe we can pull a miracle at the conference tourney-if not -hello NIT and you might get a home game or two. ciao been nice chatting with you

I’m with you and will hold off on any expectations for a great future year until I see it. Football and Basketball are in the same boat at this point (although I must admit that IT APPEARS that all in all, the outlook for Bball is better with POTENTIAL high quality players we have coming back or in over the next several years. We’ll see!! Underachieving appears to be the current “soup de jour”.

I will say though that I was pleasantly surprised with the women’s, and now men’s, volleyball teams. I know those aren’t big time sports but what the heck, fun to watch and good to win. And that goes for the Rugby team as well, who will be playing the Utes in my back yard this weekend and I will go cheer. I cheer for BYU all around but must be honest in saying that it’s a lot more enjoyable to cheer for a winner, particularly if it’s Utah on the loosing end.

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I used to think you were mostly negative and there were times I wasn’t sure you were a true BYU fan. But, over the years I have come to realize that you are a lot like me. You tell it like it is and lately that can sure sound negative.

I think your analysis of what goes on and what can change or improve the situations, in both football and basketball, is pretty accurate. You understand the games and you see things that others don’t. You want BYU to win but get frustrated when they don’t and at the same time see things that might help them win and they aren’t doing those things.

Thanks for posting over the years, I have come to appreciate your insight and opinions as I see it reflect a lot of the sentiments I have. I will always root for BYU and I will likely be frustrated doing it a lot of the time.

Don’t stop posting. BYU fandom needs opinions from this board, where people recognize each other and don’t hide behind mysterious anonymous screen names like 12 years olds to make stupid and/or wild online accusations.

Thanks Tom-I’m a long time BYU supporter, and most of the posters are good fans with legitimate concerns and note-worthy opinions. Once in a while you get the juvenile who tries to create a bad experience, but mostly it’s all good. I feel bad for this years team because they are a cohesive unit, but they just have had a rough time with the injuries. They will probably be better by the end of the year once they get Austin back and Winder is full strength again. As for now I’m just relaxing and enjoying watching some pretty good ball players. They probably won’t make the NCAA playoffs, but except for the large hole left by Mika, they are probably better than last year!

Our 4 starting guards + Mika would indeed be a very formidable starting lineup. I hope we make the Dance, but truthfully it’s probably more fun to watch as many as 3 or 4 exciting NIT games than to see 1 NCAA game. Isn’t it interesting that in literally every loss this year we have had a shot to tie or go ahead with less than 2 minutes remaining, but simply come up short game after game. We just don’t have the magic this year. Or maybe we can’t get a rebound in crunch time or stop a guy in the paint. haha

I cannot even watch games because the bigs are so bad! I’m 173 pounds, but give me some stilts and I would be stronger than Nielson. It is terrible! If we had at least two guys that could body up down low with being just ‘used’, could you imagine how good byu would be!? Wow!

With a 4 guard offense, we beat who we are supposed to beat, and we lose to everyone else. Why? Unless you are hot from the field, and especially down to the wire, we miss some 3’s and the better teams pull away from us in the end. It is nice to be the NCAA leader in scoring, but that stat is meaningless when you can’t beat Pepperdine or SMU. Guess what Saquille O’Niel’s career FG % is. It was .582, and that was with 19,457 attempts. What if you could teach Kafusi to hit a rolling sky hook 50% of the time. Now may be our inside skill level is so bad that it would be impossible. I would be in favor of at least trying. Here are a few benefits. 1) It would pack the defense inside better, which would give our outside shooters more open looks, and therefore a higher %. 2) At the end of the game, and in crunch time would you rather trust a 50% layup, or a 30% 3 pt. shot? 3) It would give us more of an in-out game, and therefore more open looks and higher % shots. I would like to see at least a try…