More on BYU basketball signee Agustin Ambrosino
With the announcement last week that Colorado prep guard Cory Calvert will play for the BYU basketball team this season before leaving on a church mission, the Cougars' 2012-13 roster is pretty much set. All 13 scholarships are accounted for, which means valuable sixth man Craig Cusick will play his senior season as a walk-on. The possibility exists that forward Chris Collinsworth won't be able to return from that nagging knee injury which required microfracture surgery last season, although coach Dave Rose spoke optimistically a few weeks ago that the Provo High product would return. Wednesday, BYU will make returned missionary Tyler Haws available to the media, so we will pass along an update on his condition and outlook. In case you missed it, I wrote last week about the strange circumstances that enabled BYU to land Agustin Ambrosino from Salt Lake Community College. Ambrosino was stashed at SLCC by University of Utah coaches after his first year at Florida Gulf Coast College didn't work out, but the Utes lost interest in the 6-foot-8 sophomore after a slow start at SLCC, and coach Todd Phillips "opened" his recruitment to other schools, including BYU. I spoke face-to-face with Agustino and Phillips at SLCC's gym last week. Here's a little more on the Argentinian from himself and Phillips: * He likes to be called "Auggie" * His favorite player is fellow Argentinian Manu Ginobli, but he plays more like Luis Scola, who is from Buenos Aires. He also patterns his game after Danilo Gallinari of the Denver Nuggets. * He's a big soccer (futbol) fan; Messi is his favorite player and Barcelona is his favorite team. * His father, Nestor, is 6-foot-4 and played some minor-league basketball in Argentina. He has a older sister who is 23 and a younger sister who is 19. * He will become the fourth SLCC product in the last 10 years to become a BYU Cougar, joining Brock Reichner, Logan Magnusson and Craig Cusick. Ambrosino on why he didn't thrive at Florida Gulf Coast: "It was up and down, basketball-wise. I had good games and I had games where I didn't play much. Some games, [the coach] not play me very much, and I don't know why. I wanted to try something different, you know? The way that we played last year, me and coach had a good relationship." On whether he can replace Noah Hartsock as BYU's starter at the four-spot: "We will see what coach wants. I am going to try my best, you know?" On whether he can handle BYU's strict environment and the honor code: "I am here because of basketball, so when they say don't do stuff, that is excellent for me because I am focused on basketball. Do you know what I am saying?" On living in Utah instead of Florida: "I have been here 10 months. I like the city, I just don't like the weather change so much. One day it is raining, one day it is snowing, one day it is sunny. Hard to get used to. But I stay indoors, because my life is basketball. ... I am kind of used to being away from home. I lived in Spain from [age] 16 to 19, so I am kinda used to it. But sometimes I miss the food." On his style of play: "I like to shoot. I like to try to take advantage of the matchups I have. When I am playing the four, for my height, I am pretty fast and so when I have a slow man guarding me, I like to take it to the rim. Then, when I have a small forward, a 6-5 guy, I post him up. I am working hard on my post moves. ... I actually I prefer the three [position]. I have played three most of my life." On having to cut his beard at BYU: "I can do it. No problem. But warning. I look way younger when I shave." On what BYU fans should know about him: "I am a good guy." Phillips on Agustino's strengths: "He really fits what BYU likes to do, and that's why they really like him. His skill level is really good and he rebounds the ball really well. He gets out of his area to rebound it and is a big, strong, physical kid in the post. He is strong down there. He scores it facing the basket better than posting up. He's not going to score a ton on the low block, but has a high skill level, and is a very, very engaging kid, a good kid. ... We had two four men, our two best players, both D-I guys, so his numbers aren't through the roof." Phillips on how BYU became interested in him: "Andrew May was at BYU [as a manager] for a long time, and he talked to them about him. BYU does a good job of getting up and watching our kids, and evaluating what we have. They watched from there, and as the season went on, they kind of liked him more and more. It has been kind of different. With our Mormon kids, they are all over them, obviously. But Auggie was off the beaten path a little bit, as they were recruiting kids, they thought, gee, he is as good as anyone else we are looking at," On whether Ambrosino can handle BYU's rules: "Yeah, personality-wise and all that, he will be great. His teammates will love him there, and he will love it. Obviously, the big issue with these non-Mormon kids is the Honor Code. He will be able to handle it. It is just a new thing and for him especially, I think the structure will be really good for him. He will be a good guy, and when he is asked to do something, he will go get it done. ... We haven't had any problems with him here. He's been a good kid, so he should be fine down there." On whether Ambrosino will help BYU run as much as it wants to run: "He can get to the basket pretty well off the dribble, and he has continued to improve and improve. I think he can put up similar numbers at BYU that he put up here. I think his numbers were a lot lower than they could have been. At most schools he would have averaged 20 a game. Number one, he was splitting minutes, and we also had some other talented guys."
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