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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU's Rose happy with season, but says Cougars need talent infusion

BYU basketball coach Dave Rose almost annually sets aside a three-hour block of time at the end of the season, when he and his staff returns from the Final Four, to visit one-on-one for about a half-hour each with beat writers and other reporters who cover the team.

That happened today.

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I've filed for the newspaper a story about one aspect of my chat with Rose -- his future and what the team will look like in 2012-13. That report should be online later tonight.

That said, here are some other notable comments and/or revelations from my 30-minute session.

*** Regarding his health, Rose, 54, said it is good and that his last five scans for cancer have been clean. He undergoes two scans a year, and has one coming up in a couple of weeks. "I feel great," he said.

*** Rose said that, looking back, the 2011-12 season "was a great season, a very good season." He said the team probably surpassed expectations while "replacing the national player of the year [Jimmer Fredette]" and "arguably the best backcourt in the history of the school." He said it was difficult overcoming the injuries to two players expected to be big contributors -- Chris Collinsworth and Stephen Rogers -- and that Noah Hartsock was never at 100 percent after suffering that injury at Santa Clara.

"For us to be able to get to the NCAA Tournament and win a game, it was a special team," he said. "And we were close to having an even more successful year than we did."

**** Rose said Collinsworth is "actually making real progress" and is working out every day, doing some weight-bearing drills every other day, and should be good to go full-tilt this summer. "The challenge now is for him to get back to where he was his freshman year, which was four years ago."

Rose said there is a "very good chance" that Collinsworth will get back the year of eligibility, but that he won't apply for it until two years from now. So he will be officially listed as a junior on the roster next season although in actuality he is probably only a sophomore.

*** Rose said Stephen Rogers will have his knee (meniscus problems) operated on for a second time in a couple of weeks (when finals are over).

"Doctors are very positive that they can go in and repair the damage that was done -- probably done in San Diego game," Rose said. "By summer semester, he should be back at full strength."

**** Rose on whether former assistant Dave Rice, who became UNLV's head coach, was missed this year: "It wouldn't be fair to Dave to say it was a seamless [transition], because Dave was a big part of our staff, and our program."

**** Regarding the addition of assistant coach Mark Pope, Rose said: "The chemistry on this staff was as good as it has ever been -- which is something you always worry about when you add a new guy." Rose called the performance of his three assistants -- Pope, Tim LaComb and Terry Nashif "very impressive." He said there will be a few minor tweaks regarding responsibilities next season, but "nothing really major."

**** Rose declined to acknowledge whether rumors are true regarding BYU plans to build a new basketball practice facility on campus, but did say, "a facility like that has been a priority here. I think that our administration is committed to that priority. I know that our athletic administration is committed to it, too. I look forward to that."

The coach said construction/renovation inside the Marriott Center -- new locker rooms, some changes inside the arena itself -- will start on the first of May.

**** I asked Rose what he will do with the two vacant scholarships available to him now that Damarcus Harrison is going on a mission and Nick Martineau has not had his scholarship renewed for his final year of eligibility.

He said that he has had several conversations already with walk-on guard Craig Cusick about getting one of those, but nothing has been decided.

"That will be something that will be ongoing during the offseason. We will address it again in the fall. But there hasn't been a decision made yet," he said.

Will he bring in a junior college transfer or two to fill the vacancies?

"The challenge for our staff this offseason is to increase the talent and depth at every position," he said. "I think you can do that through three different ways. I think that recruiting is obviously a big factor in trying to increase your talent. Then strength and conditioning, which all our returning players will be involved in. And the skill development is the third. So those returning guys will spend hours and hours and hours trying to get better.

What we will do as coaches is we will try to bring in as many players as we feel who can increase the talent and depth on our roster. And that's kind of our challenge ... I feel right now that we need to be more talented at every position. I don't think we can say we need to get a guard, or we need to get a post guy. I think that what we are trying to do, is every position on our roster, the challenge for next year is to be a little bit more talented at every position."

Are there still some Division I-caliber players out there who would consider BYU?

"Yeah, we are still involved with quite a few guys," he said. "I feel good about [the prospects of signing at least one], but you don't really know until you get them signed and they are here."

**** Rose said he hears rumors about BYU and the Big 12 just like everybody else, but said BYU's administration doesn't talk to him about it or consult with him either way.

"But they know that I am totally supportive of what they decide," he said. "I believe the university is in great hands, as far as the decisions our administrators are faced with."

**** Rose said he's totally fine with the WCC having invited Pacific to join in 2013 and that not having travel partners was "unsettling" to a lot of longtime WCC coaches. He agrees that BYU and San Diego could be natural travel partners (the other eight schools pair off quite nicely by geography), but hasn't heard anything. He expects the topic to be discussed in a meeting on May 3 between coaches and athletic directors.

**** Rose said not one recruit has expressed reservations about playing in the WCC as opposed to the Mountain West Conference.

"It hasn't been an issue with any recruit .... I think all of our recruits are very familiar with Gonzaga and their national reputation. I think that has made it a seamless change," he said.

**** Rose said they are still trying to add three or four more games to the 2012-13 basketball schedule before it can be released to the public. With road games at Baylor and Oregon, a game at ESA against Va Tech and home games against Utah and Utah State in the Marriott Center, in addition to the Coaches vs. Cancer two-game tournament in New York, this year's schedule "should be a little stronger than last year."

All for now (that's enough for now, isn't it?). More later.



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