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BYU Sports

BYU basketball: More collaboration, less focus on one area, for Rose’s assistants this season

First Published      Last Updated Jul 14 2017 01:23 pm

Before hitting the recruiting trail this weekend, BYU basketball assistant coach Quincy Lewis took some time Wednesday to chat with me about the state of the program, now that the Cougars have started their eight-week summer term in the classroom and some NCAA-allowed practice time (two hours per week) with coaches.

A lot of what Lewis said can be found in this article published in Friday's Salt Lake Tribune. Lewis is about to enter his third season as an assistant under head coach Dave Rose, says there is a different vibe in Provo these days at the new Marriott Center Annex (practice facility) as the Cougars move on without Eric Mika (pro ball), Steven Beo (Eastern Washington), Jamal Aytes (Southern Utah), Colby Leifson (mission), Davin Guinn (law school), Corbin Kaufusi (full-time football), Zach Frampton (Dixie State), LJ Rose (graduation) and Kyle Davis (graduation).




What's the morale of the program, with all the departures and the two season-ending blowout losses?

"That's certainly a fair question right there," Lewis said. "We didn't end the season like we wanted to. It is coach Rose's own fault. We have been to eight NCAA Tournaments in 12 years. So the expectation for the program is high. When you don't get to the NCAA Tournament here, with what he has done, it almost feels like something [bad] happened this year. With Eric declaring for the NBA, those things are not the easiest. But I really feel right now that this group of guys has a real positive vibe to them, and really are hungry to prove that they can do it."

With the resignation of assistant coach Terry Nashif and the addition of former Wyoming and UT Martin head coach Heath Schroyer (who has also been an assistant at BYU under Steve Cleveland), many are wondering how Rose will divvy out the coaching assignments this season. But Lewis said coaches won't be assigned to specific areas — like the offense or defense — as in past years.

"The way coach has kind of approached it is more of a collaborative effort," he said. "Maybe in years' past he's had coaches more focused on the offense or the defense. Right now, it is more as a staff with offense and defense."

Lewis said 14 guys are going through workouts, some more intense than others because guys like Elijah Bryant (knee) and Zac Seljaas (shoulder) aren't quite back to 100 percent.

"It has been good to have everybody together because obviously we have some new pieces and it is good to get everybody on the same page from Day 1 instead of starting like on the first of September," Lewis said. "This will be the main group, these 14 guys. There could be come kids in the fall that we try out that could be in a walk-on type situation that could help us in a scout squad situation, but this would be the group right here."

Lewis said Bryant, who most likely will be the team's leading scorer this season, if he's healthy, has been slowed by the knee ailment that caused him to miss the NIT loss to UT Arlington. As for Seljaas, he's doing almost everything now after returning home from his mission with a shoulder that needed therapy.

"I wouldn't say Zac's shoulder is 100 percent, but he looks good, though," Lewis said. "He is a little bit bigger. He has put on a little bit of weight. Initially, it wasn't good weight, but he's worked hard and he is getting a little bigger and stronger right now than when he played his freshman year."

As noted in the aforementioned article, BYU has just one freshman (Rylan Bergersen) and no seniors on the 2017-18 roster. There are seven sophomores and six juniors (Weber State transfer McKay Cannon, who won't be eligible this season).

Lewis said the roster imbalance isn't preferable, but it is workable.

"It is a little bit unusual, but the one thing we are excited about is we have kids with experience coming back. We didn't have a lot of that last year, especially in some key spots. But this year we have that. TJ [Haws] has a year, Nick {Emery] has a couple. Even Zac Seljaas has been on that big stage before, and has a year under his belt.

So yeah, we are excited that we have kids who have been through a college basketball season before, and a good part of the core group has been through it together."

Lewis said Emery is bound and determined to bounce back from a season that could be called a sophomore slump — injuries took their toll on the guard from Lone Peak.

TJ has put in a lot of time in the gym and I think Nick will have a real nice year, too," Lewis said. "Last year was a tough year for him. I don't think he played as well as he would expect from himself. And relatively speaking, his year would have been good by college basketball standards, but for him I think he expects more from himself."

 

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