The state of BYU basketball. 12-22

As I deconstruct what I have seen the past two games to frankly 2 very beatable teams and UVU’s beat down on our own floor, here is what I see:

Spencer Johnson’s injury was our Titanic iceberg. It is kind of sad because as I write this up, Spens is NOT a future Pro, but he is a glue guy and makes everyone better and that would of been enough to have at least 3 more wins right now and compete for 3rd in the WCC.

We have NO leadership. Hall is too young, Rudi Williams is a total bust. What is particularly upsetting is the vibe I see from Curious George. He is the senior that has been with Pope the longest and his body language is cancerous. I saw a guy out there that frankly, is blaming others when his guy gets behind him for a score. Does not take ownership. As a senior, he should be the guy that projects, guys, follow me, we are not going to lose tonight…instead, he sulks blames others and stinks it up out there. Rudi, no fault to him, IS NOT a big time D1 player. This is just a bad case of poor scouting in the transfer portal, secondly, I do have a problem with picking up players from low mid-majors.

Barcello was from Arizona, Harrms was from Purdue. Rudi was from…drum roll…Coastal Carolina (the gift that keeps on giving). Waterman from ??? Robison from a good school but nothing more then a 3-point specialist, something BYU ALWAYS has a million of.

None of our transfers are great and our leadership is nursing a knee, and Burguess moving up north is really hurting our recruiting/ team development. By the way, Utah is going to come down here and really smoke us. UVU made history, Utah is going to make us look like JV. hope I’m wrong.

One more point then I will move on from UVU. Blaze Kneld was a cougar once, got run out, too small, yuda yuda, got his revenge in the same way Conor Harding did last year. They both had career nights and good for them.

Coaches are paid mainly by wins and who they recruit. I looked back just 2 years ago and boy, were we loaded. this year? You be the judge

BYU is now somewhere #135 on the net. When Spencer comes back, he will be a stabilizer but I don’t see us being anymore then 4th or 5th in the WCC. Pomeroy has us with more losses then wins for the season. When that happens, coaches get fired.

This one is on Pope, plain and simple. When he came to BYU, the cupboard was full. Now he has his own recruits and his program is on a downward trajectory. Pope has a great personality. He is a smart guy and says all the right things. Yes, at UVU, the transfer portal was very good to him and he seemed confident that he could pick hidden gems from the portal that would transform the program. In my opinion, that model has not served him well at BYU. He has over-relied on the portal and overestimated his ability to evaluate talent. He seems to be shooting for elite athletes but they lack leadership and basketball knowledge and experience in some cases (George and Atiki). Dave Rose always recruited the best talent he could get from Utah and that model served him well. Pope may figure this out eventually but it may be a rough ride before he gets there. We’ll see how patient Tom Holmo will be with Pope as we enter the Big 12.

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I started to wonder about Pope mid season last year. I thought the jury was out on him. His first year, primarily with Rose recruits, was real good, and since then it has been a gradual slide downhill.

I wonder how things would be with Lohner, Knell, and Johnson. Lohner was the highest rated high school recruit Pope ever got and he let him get away. What BYU is working with now is two players who were part of the rotation from last year. That’s a recipe for a disaster this year.

BYU should never lose to UVU. Maybe once every 15 years and never at home.

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So, strictly on Basketball, shooting is the biggest challenge BYU has right now. It’s hard to discuss defense when we are shooting 35% from the field and 15% from the 3’s. Even bricking front ends of one and ones. I coached freshman and sophomore’s in high school and we taught basic fundamentals of shooting. I see from BYU players:

  1. Poor feet spacing and positioning
  2. Little triple threat position
  3. Chest square to the basket
  4. Elbows flinging out
  5. Throwing balls at the basket

I’m sure you see other things as well.
Don’t the coaches sit with players and watch film pointing out these flaws? It doesn’t happen during practice or warm up. Only during games. So, in your professional coaching opinions, how can these things be corrected at the collegiate level?

When things go south, everyone has a tendency to blame the coach. It’s not that simple, and I’m not going to lay this entirely on Pope, but he is the end where the buck stops. How would Madsen do with this group-probably about the same. When I look at BYU this year, I see a group of good to average players and not one star, go to guy that sets the tone for the rest of the players. BYU has always had at least one pivotal player that the rest of the team feeds off of. Barcello for the previous few years. Haws and Haws and Childs just to name a few. BYU is young and inexperienced, and fans need to chill and quit griping and watch the growth of Hall, Saunders, Robinson, and Treore and hope they become those go to guys that BYU is missing. BYU needs to get a couple of 6’11” stout boys inside that are not going through a “growing experience”. Yeh I know it’s hard to watch, but maybe when Knell comes back, it will make a difference, though he still isn’t an equalizer. If next year isn’t any better, maybe it will be time to look at Madsen​:joy:. IMO coaches make too much money to have much job security :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

I’ll go ahead and blame the coach, which is a tough thing for me to do because I like Pope more than I like Sitake as a coach.

For me the problem has more to do with Pope’s recruiting philosophy than with anything else, but there are other headscratchers such as substition patterns, emphasis on three-point shooting, and uptempo play even when the three-pointers aren’t falling. But his recruiting philosophy? We didn’t sign anyone during the early signing period last month. Jake Wahlin and Colin Chandler are supposedly two great players, but I have to wonder: Did Chris Burgess do the recruiting or Mark Pope? Pope has stars in his eyes but in the past years has ended up with star dust. He loves the transfer portal; but last year, after Baxter and Lohner’s departure, he failed miserably. No true big men signed with BYU. He seems to have eschewed traditional recruiting for playing a crap shoot called the transfer portal.

Wow, I have a lot to say…I was talking last night to a very close friend who is highly placed in the program, and let’s just say we are not the only people frustrated with the hooping these days…

Several have commented on Pope letting Lohner and Baxter get away.
Baxter: NO loss. Currently averaging 1.4ppg and 1/6rbg and shooting 37%. Atiki’s minutes–which admittedly are largely developmental–are equally or more valuable than giving those minutes to Baxter who is a shadow of his pre-injury self.

Lohner: Currently averaging 6.1 ppg and 4.6 rpg. However, he’s shooting 58% from the field, almost entirely due to the fact that Baylor doesn’t want him to shoot 3s (only 6att in 9 games). Now, at BYU he shot 50% on 2 pt attempts, and Baylor is simply using him where he is more efficient. He is averaging 0.66 3 pt attempts per game, about a third of his attempts at BYU.

So I’m not down on Pope for losing those guys, because Baxter was no loss and Lohner is undoubtedly happier playing for a NC contender close to home than he would be on a struggling mid major far from home.

As I’ve said before, you can’t win in D1 basketball without a guy you can count on every night to score when you need a score. We had that in Tyler, TJ, Yoeli, Toolson, etc.–guys who could just put the team on their back and force their teammates to win. Now we have exactly 0 guys we can count on to do that consistently. If nobody steps up and proves he can fill that role, we will have a losing record.

I watched A LOT of film on these 3 portal guys, and all 3 have been huge disappointments:

Robinson: a former 4/5 star prospect who has contributed NOTHING on offense other than 3s. Have not seen him demonstrate the ability to score anywhere but catch and shoot 3s.
Waterman: SMH, just SMH
Rudi: Most productive of the 3, good finisher, good FT shooter, can score midrange, but a turnover machine so far and bricking 3s–after being a very accurate 3pt shooter last year (vs the same average mid-major competition we have faced this year). He is the most likely to be the 16ppg guy who can win games consistently, but we are 1/3 of the way into the season and still waiting.

My criticism of the coaching is just watching these guys jack up endless 3s, no matter how bad they all are (so far) shooting 3s.

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You can’t tell shooters not to shoot. What you can do is run an offense that gets shooters in the lane, on the wing shooting 8-15 foot shots and layups. But actually shoot the ball. I hate the lazy flick shots to the basket and hope it goes in. Square to the basket and shoot.

BYU is undersized or skinny. BYU has taken on project players with some success, but you get a lot of inconsistency with some of these players. George for instance-sometimes you go wow look at George-next game you are saying “what was that”. By the time Atiki gets a well rounded game, it will be Europe time. Williams-just don’t know. He has thrown up some bricks and thrown the ball away a lot. Trey-the dude can’t shoot-too bad because he is probably more athletic than anyone else. Hall, Saunders, Traore, Robinson are the future. Coach them up and play them a lot this year. Add a couple of Harwards and a Child’s and you might hit 6 or 7th place in the Big 12


Baxter announced he is “Medically Retiring” yesturday

Both You and Stan nail my big frustration beautifully. Jackin up 3s. In the So Dakota game, we were bigger stronger at every single position. In the UVU game, Triori got Bandaego 4 fouls in limited touches. Had we made an effort to go to Foos and Atiki, Bandaego fouls out and BYU has the middle ripe for a big night. Instead we just stand there and jack it up. This is coaching 101. This is not even ward basketball.

I could guard either Robinson or Waterman with any guard, any size, doesn’t matter. All of their talent and height is WASTED. Completely wasted. It is unfair to pick on these two then we have the big leadership issue but they are the two most obvious fails at this point, I already covered Goerge, just sad.

The one I feel bad for is Rudi Williams. From what I can tell, he’s a great guy and a fantastic ambassador for BYU. I remember in the summer that he said the reason he came to BYU was because he wants to play in the NCAA tournament his final year. Williams was the first one to commit from the transfer portal this past year and then watched as Mark Pope failed to get player after player after player. I’m not saying that the ones who did commit (Robinson, Waterman, Moore) are bad, but they are still very raw and inexperienced like several others on the team. Williams never wavered on his commitment.

Where is Alex Barcello or TJ Haws? It’s amazing how one player can turn a team completely around. Williams would probably be getting his wish if that make or break player was at BYU. Unfortunately, he is not. Time to just grow and learn, and hopefully the fan base will cut them some slack

BYU far from competitive in WCC 8th in the league at 213th…

I am absolutely no basketball expert but when I read about Robinson and Williams transferring to BYU, I shook my head in disbelief that these 2 guys were the big gets (talking bb, not non-bb stuff).

As for Pope, I know nothing about his coaching ability but my spidey sense tingles when he rattles off all those “super” vocalizations. Not sure I have ever heard another person rattle off so many “super” verbalizations, even in one sentence.

Both have a decent pedigree. Williams would be good but he’s not a go-to scorer. You may recall that the same week Williams committed, BYU was hosting Antoine Davis, a Detroit Mercy player on pace to become the most prolific scorer in college basketball history. The expectation on the day he announced his destination was that he would be coming to BYU. Instead, he returned to Detroit to play for his father; but even more, so he could take advantage of a Chinese NIL deal. Davis is averaging 23 ppg this year. Williams might be feeling that the mantle of both leadership and production is too heavy.

Insofar as Robinson is concerned, he’s still very young and hasn’t gotten much playing time at his two previous stops. Still, he was considered a prize top-50 recruit when he was in high school. He’s quick and smooth but, as you probably know, he misses a ton of shots. I blame it on coaching. He has a green light to jack up as many threes as he wants.

This is not a good team. There were warnings as far back as the blue and white game and the exhibition game where three-point shooting–proclaimed by Pope to be the strength of BYU’s team this year–was abysmal. You’ll recall against Ottawa, BYU shot 9-40 three pointers in the first half, less than 25%. Even against Westminster–the game where afterward the media went gaga over the 19 three pointers made–BYU was abyssmal. Sure, BYU shot 45% from three point land but the percentage should actually have been much higher, and if you watch the replay you’ll note that in the last several minutes BYU’s shooting went cold but players were still shooting three pointers, hoping to make the basket that would push BYU over the 100 point plateau, The team is terribly coached with very little discipline.