BYU basketball: Matt Carlino not comfortable in his new role
College basketball • Point guard struggling with transition to other backcourt position.
Published: January 3, 2014 11:51AM
Updated: January 2, 2014 11:34PM
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Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune BYU's Matt Carlino shoots over Utah State's Jordan Stone in the first half of their game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

Provo • Matt Carlino is doing his best to be the ideal soldier, following BYU basketball coach Dave Rose’s commands to the best of his ability.

However, the longtime point guard from Arcadia, Ariz., acknowledged after practice Thursday as the Cougars prepared for Saturday’s game against San Diego (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv) that he isn’t comfortable playing the shooting guard position, as he’s done the past three games, all losses.

“I am a point guard,” Carlino said. “That’s what I am.”

Carlino started at the point in 8-7 BYU’s first 12 games, but struggled in the 12th game, shooting 3 of 15 from the field in that 81-64 loss at Utah. Sophomore Kyle Collinsworth moved to the point against Oregon, and has done most of the ball-handling ever since, with Carlino playing the two.

“I don’t know what coach is thinking [about doing],” Carlino said. “You know, we have talked a little bit. He knows I am uncomfortable with it, so I think he will move me back to the one.”

For his part, Rose was noncommittal when asked if the same starting five of Carlino, Collinsworth, Tyler Haws, Nate Austin and Eric Mika will start in their same roles against the Toreros.

“We will see,” Rose said. “Matt is working really hard and I think he understands that he wants to play better and I think the team is really supportive of Matt. But all the guys need to improve. Everybody needs to get better.”

Carlino played just 19 minutes in Monday’s 80-74 loss at Pepperdine and was just 1 of 7 from the field.

“I think the thing for me is I didn’t know how different it would be from the point, playing the two,” Carlino said. “And I think you can see it out there if you watch. It has just been difficult for me because I haven’t been performing the way I want to. I think it has a lot to do with how I have prepared to play the point this whole time, and then you get thrown into a new role and it is kind of like you got to catch up on the fly.”

Junior college transfer Skyler Halford played 23 minutes and was on the court in crunch time against the Waves. If there’s a lineup change, Halford would seemingly be the one replacing Carlino.

“We need to get [Halford] more minutes so he feels more comfortable out there,” Rose said immediately after the fourth straight loss.

Bronson Kaufusi sticking to football

Bronson Kaufusi, the 6-foot-7 football star who joined the BYU basketball team last year after the bowl game, will not be joining the team this year, Rose said on Thursday.

“Bronson has decided not to play,” Rose said. “He decided that he really wants to commit himself this offseason to the football team, and be there for spring practice, and I totally 100 percent support that decision.”

Briefly

A collision with reserve guard Anson Winder in practice left a big gash on the bridge of Halford’s nose, but it did not require stitches. … Josh Sharp banged heads with a Loyola Marymount player last week and needed a few stitches to close a cut on his forehead. … The Cougars just played four straight true road games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

drew@sltrib.com

San Diego at BYU

O Saturday, 7 p.m.

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