BYU basketball coach Dave Rose said there was "no question" that postponing Wednesday night's scheduled basketball game between the Cougars and Utah State was the right thing to do after he spoke to USU coach Stew Morrill regarding the condition of USU basketball player Danny Berger.
"If that was what they felt [was the right thing to do]," Rose said in a 10-minute news conference with reporters Wednesday afternoon at the Marriott Center. "Obviously, they were closest to the situation, and they had all the facts, and they knew the situation and how it was unfolding at the time. My comment to [BYU AD] Tom [Holmoe] was, 'well, let's hope that Danny gets better. Let's hope that he survives and gets through this, and we will worry about the game at another time."
Rose said he will talk to Morrill about when the game will be played after Berger's situation becomes more stable. Berger collapsed Tuesday afternoon during USU's practice and stopped breathing. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Logan, then airlifted to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
"The conversation that Stew and I had this morning was that we will begin talks to try and reschedule it once Danny's situation is, I don't know the right term, because he is still in critical condition, but a lot of the word what we are hearing is that he seems to be doing better. But I don't know exactly what that means. And hopefully that's the case and he continues to improve and then we will talk about rescheduling the game at that point."
Rose said playing next week when neither the Cougars nor the Aggies have a midweek game scheduled probably won't happen.
"Next week are finals, and finals I think it is a very, very stressful time for our team. I would probably believe that that is not an option for us," Rose said.
Generally, Rose steered away from basketball-related questions Wednesday and continually brought the focus back to Berger's condition and the well-being of his family.
He said he texted Morrill after learning about the incident from Holmoe, who was in New York at the College Football Hall of Fame induction of former Cougar Ty Detmer. Holmoe got a phone call from USU AD Scott Barnes telling him Berger's situation was dire and the possibility existed that the game could not be played.
"I guess scary is probably an understatement, but they really felt like their trainer [Mike Williams] acted in a spectacular manner and saved his life," Rose said. "That's an emotional thing, an emotional thing for the players, an emotional thing for the coaches. You have all the unknowns after he left the gym. I would think that that would have a real emotional effect on your team."
The Tribune and other outlets reported that the decision was made Tuesday night to postpone the game, but Rose said it really wasn't made until Wednesday morning. He sent a text message to his players Wednesday morning telling them the game was off and to use the extra time in study hall and praying for Berger and his family. The Cougars didn't practice Wednesday afternoon, but did have a team meeting.
"The situation was at the request of the USU AD, Scott Barnes, to wait until the morning and see how [Berger] was doing and see if there were any major differences in his status," Rose said. "Because of that we didn't make any statement last night because there were still the possibility that the game would be played this morning.
After we spoke this morning and Stew felt like it was in the best interest of his group that we postpone the game to a later date."
The Cougars play host to rival Utah on Saturday night, and Rose acknowledged shifting gears will be difficult after preparing a game plan for the Aggies that will likely go unused.
"The most important thing here is Danny's health and his family's welfare and well-being," Rose said when asked about preparing for Utah. " I have gone through something similar to this, and it effects a lot of people, and so many people are entrenched in deep thought and prayer to try to help him, and help his family. That's my biggest concern and we mentioned to our players today and we texted them later in the day and told them we would meet tonight, told them to ....keep Danny and his family in their thoughts and prayers, because it is hard to compare a life-threatening situation and a basketball game.
But we do obviously know that life goes on and we will play Utah on Saturday."
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