Provo • March 4 is shaping up to be a rather interesting day for the BYU athletic department.
Folks could be asking: Where’s Bronson?
Bronson Kaufusi, the freshman defensive end on BYU’s football team, joined the basketball team shortly after the Cougars won the Poinsettia Bowl last December, and has gradually been carving out a bigger role for himself on the hardwoods. The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder scored a career-high five points in the 99-87 loss to San Francisco last Saturday.
On March 4, the football team begins spring drills. That same day, a Monday, the basketball team will begin preparations for the West Coast Conference Tournament.
Where will Kaufusi be?
“I will have to find out,” he said Thursday, having been allowed to talk to reporters as a basketball player for the first time this season. “Who knows? I haven’t really talked about that with anyone.”
While it appears that BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall will let Kaufusi finish the basketball season, the coach said on Signing Day that he doubts the scholarship football athlete will play basketball on a “long-term” basis.
Kaufusi said he had not heard about Mendenhall’s comments regarding his future and is “not too sure” whether he wants to play basketball next year as well.
“I don’t think [playing basketball] will hurt me in any way,” he said. “I think it will really help if the opportunity comes [to play pro football]. A lot of the physical parts of basketball, and some of the athleticism, you can transfer on to the football field the same way. But that takes a little bit of time.”
While the technical foul that BYU’s Tyler Haws received last Saturday against San Francisco was the first of his college career, it wasn’t the first ever, he said, noting that he got “a few” in high school.
“But I don’t think I deserved a technical [considering] everything else they were doing to me down at the other end,” Haws said. “It was like, I do one thing and I get a technical.”
Letter of apology
When BYU beat Portland 85-67 on Jan. 26, UP’s Tanner Riley was ejected from the game after a takedown attempt on BYU’s Brock Zylstra. The Cougars’ senior captain said Thursday that Riley sent him an apologetic letter a few days after the incident.
“No hard feelings,” Zylstra said.
As expected, BYU’s losses last week to San Diego and San Francisco took the Cougars out of consideration for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has BYU among the “Next Four Out” in his latest bracket predictions.
Saint Mary’s, which hosted Gonzaga on Thursday night, is among the “Last Four In.”
On the Bracket Project website, which lists 72 mock brackets from across the country, only one site, roundballchat.com, has BYU in the field.
Entering Thursday night’s games, home teams had won just 23 of 49 West Coast Conference games, and Haws (20.7 ppg.) was the only player in the league to have scored more than 500 points. ... Coach Dave Rose used a lot of different combinations in practice Thursday, including Craig Cusick at the starting two guard and Zylstra at the four, but wouldn’t say whether the starting lineup will change for Saturday’s game at home against Portland (7 p.m., BYUtv).
Portland at BYU
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • BYUtv