Mid season report card, BYU basketball

Well, we are right where I hoped we would be. Preseason, BYU had lost about 75% of their scoring but we had a nice core of Harding, Lee and Barcello to work with. Was truly worried about Pope’s vision to turn our best defender into the starting Point guard (Barcello). Thought that we would be stout in the middle with Harward and Haarms coming in. Lohaner and George were monster gets. just guard worried me.
Averette transfers in, problem solved, Former OK St 4 star recruit. Now we have a point, right? He was a train wreak our first 10 or so games. But seems to playing Pope ball and to be honest, we would not be winning these tough road games without him.

You always have that game you want back and BSU is certainly the one. We have no business losing that home game. But at least it is not an ugly loss as BSU could be a dance team.

I thought we would lose some early and unfortunately BYU’s resume builder non WCC games were when we were very green. We would not lose to BSU and probably given USC as real game if we played them today…such is a complete rebuild year. Today, the guys are happy, having fun together and playing just about as good as we had hoped they would be. Def…Dance worthy team.

Lohner is a rebounding freak, will be a late bloomer on offense. George finally gpt his toe in the door and will continue to demand more time (he had Lohner, Harding, Knell, Lowell all playing ahead of him)

We lost Baxter and Lowell to year ending injuries, few teams can challenge with that much talent lost and to be honest, I had both of these guys as starters, A power forward and pure shooting 6’10 guy that could take his game to the next level if his body would let him. Miracle that Pope has his team here, close to being ranked with those 2 injuries.

At the time, SDSU looked to be our best win on the season, turns out that USU is, followed by SDSU, Utah and our two road wins, SMC and SF. St Johns misses the list, they faded fast in the BE.

With these wins, BYU is firmly in the all important #2 spot in the WCC. The WCC has been a solid 2 bid league since BYU joined it along with Randy Bennett coached teams.

going forward, BYU does not have resume builders outside of another chance at Gonzaga, kind of depends on what SMC and SF can do or if USU beats BSU .twice. So BYU can lose one game outside of Gonzaga and be fine, but not two and probably be seated 9-10 in the big dance.

Not sure this statement is true…Covid still waiting to screw things up and one more loss to a sub 200 team could push the team off the cusp of the tourney that it is currently sitting on. No games coming up that would strengthen the teams resume to give them the breathing room until the Zags…
lose one and they would have to do the impossible and beat the Zags…
can they beat the Zags…don’t want to be in the situation of have to…

If you are talking defence I would agree…but…TJ? Collinsworth? Jimmer? pretty steady stream of top quality…
Points that play defence…not since JAX…who only played point when Jimmer needed a rare rest.

Yes that was what I was referring to Barcello is a defensive machine

I agree with everything you said Fish! I am a bit uneasy with a loss to a bad WCC team and keeping us in the dance. However if we don’t pull a “Rose” and lose to a bottom feeder and we play GU lots closer the next time around I think we are in.

Pull a Rose? What is that supposed to mean? Or are you just mean?

Yeh that’s the danger-Gonzaga can play poorly and still win-BYU can’t. Bad loss will hurt

Just factual Hopper. Rose lost to teams every year in the WCC who were below and sometimes way below the Cougars in the standings. Losing to STMarys and GU usually wasn’t a killer but other teams were a problem.

It happens. Teams get hot or don’t. We beat GU a few times when we weren’t supposed to be able to beat them. Rose was good for the program and no reason to go after him now. Pope will lose to bottom feeders too. It will happen. Hopefully not this year. Pope was a coach at BYU when we lost some of those.

Great recap Chris. Let me add a couple things in support of some of your points:
BYU Bigs: We can’t compare our bigs’ individual stats to other seasons because the minutes are so spread out. For example, Big Rich only averages 16mpg…Lohner averaages 19.9mpg…but BOTH are getting more rebounds per minute than Yoeli, one of the best rebounders (and certainly the most athletic in BYU history) did last year (29mpg/9.0rpg).

So consider this: if you total the minutes played by our 4 bigs–Haarms, Big Rich, Lohner and Lee, you get the equivalent of two full time bigs. So combine the stats of all 4 and divide by two. Here is what our bigs are combining to do per 35 minutes played:
14.3 ppg
9.4 rpb
51% from the field
17% on 3 point shots (just stop already)
61% on 2 point shots


  1. These numbers don’t even take into account the defense they are playing–Haarms wrecks about 5 shots a game, Big Rich doesn’t give an inch of ground, Lohner plays outstanding on ball and post D (lots to learn on rotations and closeouts), and, OK, Lee is limited. But overall they have played great post D without even fouling very much.
  2. 61% on two point shots is REALLY REALLY GOOD. Yoeli shot 59% on 2 point shots last year.
  3. Pope and Burgess coach the HE$$ outta our bigs.
  4. BONUS POINT: GIDEON GEORGE. When I first saw his film I called my friend in the program who was involved in getting Gideon to Provo. He said, “This guy is an absolute FREAK. He has a long way to go to refine his game, but his sheer athleticism is like watching Dr. J when we were kids.” We now see Pope running isos for him when we are struggling to score. He locks down the all conference PG at SMC, then turns around and dominates the 4 vs USF. He is a freak athlete and is smart enough to know both assignments. AND THIS YEAR DOES NOT EVEN COUNT, meaning anything we get from Gideon this year is a bonus and we still get him for two more years. He loves Provo, loves BYU, loves his coaches, loves his teammates, never complains, works hard in school and has zero problem with the HC.

I said this road trip was important for Pope to mark his territory as #2 in the Rec League, and he did, but I still feel like we are a borderline tournament team with little margin of error. I still don’t think we have enough pure scoring threats against real athletic teams until George and Lohner become primary weapons, which may not be until next year.

Lots of speculation going around, but nothing really concrete. I’m satisfied with the effort of both the coaches and the players. BYU could make the dance or they could have a couple of very bad losses and not come close. This team is overachieving right now through sheer grit and determination. Barcello is giving 110% every game as is Harwood and Lohner and the rest are giving 100%. I see the continued improvement or George and Lohner as critical the rest of the year and Knell has got to step up with consistency or Harding to come out of the doldrums, because right now you don’t know what to expect from game to game except from Barcello, Haarms, and lately BA, of course all seniors. Lee has a place on this team and there will be a couple of games where he does well. I’m wondering now if BYU has 3 league games with Gonzaga, which could hurt them with their seeding if they lose all 3? Anyway it’s been fun to watch this team and makes you appreciate Pope and the assistants for the way they coach these guys up. Best of luck to Dave Rose, as I read he is going home

It doesn’t happen much at all if you are a good program. GU has lost to SMC and BYU … who else have they lost to in the last decade in league play?

SMC has lost to GU and BYU. Who else have they lost to in the WCC in the last decade? Not many!

BYU lost to GU and SMC. Count the other games Rose lost in WCC play other than to the BIG 2 programs. GU hasn’t lost a game to anyone in the WCC except SMC and BYU in a decade. It is the losses to average and below average teams in the WCC that kept BYU/Roses teams out of the NCAA’s many a year.

And don’t forget WCC tourney. I don’t remember BYU in the final and two years ago losing to SD which was humiliating Bad lost and Dave Rose decided to call it quit (retired)

Good analysis and comments. I have a few observations from some of the posts that followed Fish’ start. Chris - St. John’s beat 23 ranked UConn tonight, they also beat Butler and lost a close one to Marquette so they are not that bad. Covid has wrecked their schedule, like everyone else.
I agree with Harold, BYU has had plenty of great guards that are as good or better than Barcello. He is good but not in the same discussion as Tyler, TJ, Collinsworth and Jimmer.
Larimer had some good comments but I can’t believe he compared watching George to watching Julius Erving. Wow! that’s what BYU fans do though… I will go easy though because like me, you agree that Lee is (very) limited. Also, Haarms is weak physically and blocks less than 2 shots a game. I agree that the coaches for the bigs are getting a LOT out of them. Harward was fantastic vs. USF.
SR… Lee does have a place on this team, It is either on the bench or coming in to do some physical damage to an opposing player that is having their way inside. I hope those couple of games you speak of materialize for Lee, I really do.
Once again, thawk owns the Hopper with facts. I don’t know why Hopper thinks it is wrong to point out facts and statistics to back up an observation. Rose was GREAT for BYU basketball, no doubt… but there were times when the team wasn’t ready for a game and they would lose a few to bottom feeders in the wcc. Gonzaga and SMC don’t consistently do that, if at all.

You can still write these things and be a huge BYU fan. The team (players and coaches) is not the prophet of the church! Hopper just disagrees for the sake of it honestly. :woozy_face:

Jim. Let me point out that I did not say I compared George to Dr J. My friend inside the BYU program—who is incredibly knowledgeable about the game—made the comparison, and qualified it by saying the athleticism—and not the ball skills—elicited the comparison. George has the quickness, length and agility to smother outstanding PGs, gets up like few players BYU has ever had, has hands like dinner plates, is ripped, and seems to hang an extra second in the air when it looks like he should be on the way down. BYU doesn’t get many players like that.

Julius Erving vs George :slight_smile:
Big compliment for George

Again, to clarify…my buddy and I were not talking about George’s basketball skills, rather his ATHLETICISM…how often does BYU have a long guard who is quick enough to guard the 1 but big and strong enough to guard the 4, and also the best leaper on the court? Kyle Collinsworth was close but not a skywalker. The only two I can recall over the last 40 years are Mike Hall and Travis Hansen. George has a CHANCE to be that guy.

Note: Both Hansen and Hall were not heavily recruited out of HS. Hansen started at UVU when it was a really minor program, and Mike went Pepperdine-Dixie State-BYU. Maybe George is a similar diamond in the rough.

Just for fun: one of the best dunks ever at BYU:

Can I just say that I don’t like the mullets, child molester mustaches, etc.?

Where have you gone, dress and grooming standards? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

And I still hate those tights they wear under their basketball shorts.

I’m still not there yet. I understand what you are saying so no big deal. Yes, he is a diamond in the rough and I have seen enough to know that there is some serious potential there. You maybe could have held back on the Dr. J reference till later in the season and just shown the Hall dunk clip instead. :wink:

The Hall dunk is pretty impressive–they guy he threw down on was the 6’8" WAC POY and HM AA that year. I have watched that dunk 50 times and am still not sure how Mike was able to stop his momentum towards the baseline as fast as he did to go straight up and over. Then again I’m just under 6’2" and dunked exactly one time in my life with a running start on a bouncy court (Smith Fieldhouse) and no defense, so I’m easily impressed.

Did BYU not lose to SF and SMC on their road games last season? Yes they did. The basketball world is just coming to that conclusion. A lot of talk about USU (lost tonight to a real good CSU team) leading the Mtn, then you see that BYU beat them at their place. We are going to be seeing BYU climbing in all ranking boards as ranked teams lose. With BYU’s schedule, it is very conservable that we are ranked by the time we play Gonzaga.

Won’t matter a bit, Gonzaga is #1 nationally, a #2 team would lose to them. BYU should be losing to them. Last year we lost by 20 something at their place…then beat them at ours. Could happen again.

You are correct, TJ, Tyler, Collinsworth and Jimmer were never as good as Barcello defensively.

True, I am befuddled that George is not getting more minutes, Granted, he sits behind Harding, Knell, Johnson and Lohner but we would not of won the SMC game or a couple of other games without his length and athleticism.

Still befuddled. Nice dunk BTW. More to come on George