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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 defensive end Bronson Kaufusi earning a role on basketball team

Brandon Davies, BYU's all-West Coast Conference forward/center, has mostly stayed out of foul trouble this season. Sure, there was the fourth game of the season, against Notre Dame, when Davies played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble. He also picked up a pair of early fouls against Baylor and spent most of the first half on the bench.

Last Saturday against San Francisco, Davies fouled out for the first time this season, playing only 17 minutes before getting disqualified. The big guy fouled out four times last year (Nevada, Oregon, Loyola Marymount, at Gonzaga), four times his sophomore year and once his freshman year -- in the NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Kansas State.

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My notebook in today's newspaper focuses on Davies' frustration with fouls and how he will try to stay out of foul trouble on Thursday night when the Cougars play host to Pepperdine at the Marriott Center.

One of the developing stories around the BYU basketball team this year, of course, is the midseason addition of BYU football player Bronson Kaufusi. The 6-foot-7 defensive end/power forward, who is listed conservatively at 260 pounds in the game notes, has dressed in two games and scored in two games. He made a basket during garbage time in the 92-51 win over Loyola Marymount and then played his first meaningful minutes, four, against USF on Saturday, grabbing a rebound and making a basket in the first half.

Several reporters requested an interview with Kaufusi after practice Tuesday, but coach Dave Rose thought it wise to keep Kaufusi away from the media for a little longer, preferring that the freshman focus all his energies right now on all the other things on his plate.

I'm sure that Rose is also a little concerned with what all the attention focused on Kaufusi right now will do to his team's chemistry. So far, teammates are saying all the right things about him being a welcome addition, but there's no question that a couple players will see their playing time reduced if Kaufusi continues to eat up minutes here or there, most notably Ian Harward and juco transfer Agustin Ambrosino.

Harward played just one minute against the Dons (he managed to get two fouls, however) and Ambrosino did not get off the bench.

Actually, Ambrosino is now considered a three (instead of a four) and is Tyler Haws' backup rather than Josh Sharp's backup.

"That's our plan right now," Rose said. "I think that Agui is a lot more comfortable at the three this week than he was last week. It is good for our team. And I think in the long run, if we can make that move, I think it will really help Ty. Agui's best skill for our team right now is that he can really score. So if we can play him behind Ty, or with Ty, that means we have always got a scorer on the floor in that position, which is a good thing for us."

Rose was asked how Kaufusi is fitting in and progressing after scoring his first points in an organized basketball game since his junior year at Timpview High.

"Well, he's learning, and he's got a lot on his plate that he is trying to figure out, and we are trying to keep it pretty simple for him," Rose said. "The minutes that he does get, [we are] trying to kind of shrink the playbook, if you will, just so that he can understand a few things, and then really help us.

To this point, he has done a great job. What we would really like to see is him pick up more things, and then we can actually evaluate him in our whole system, instead of just little pieces like we have right now."

Rose continued: "He is a big, physical presence, with really good feet, moves really well, and has a really good knack for the ball, as far as rebounding. Takes up a lot of space, and offensively we are still trying to really figure out if he is a back-to-the-basket guy, if he is a guy in the high post, or a turn and face. He just needs to get more reps."



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