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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 believes it can keep winning with local basketball players

I find it quite interesting that BYU's basketball team has eight players on its roster who grew up and/or played high school basketball within a 20-mile radius of the BYU campus. If there is another school in NCAA Division I basketball -- let alone a highly successful school -- with such a roster makeup, I would like to see it.

Seeing as how St. Mary's plays at BYU tonight (9 p.m., ESPNU) and has gone a totally different direction with its recruiting efforts -- six Gaels are from foreign countries -- I couldn't resist the chance to write about that major difference in the programs for my advance of tonight's huge game.

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"We have had a few international players, but our guys most of the time come from junior colleges, where we recruit them here in the states once they come over," said BYU coach Dave Rose, when I asked him what kind of recruiting budget it would take to get six international players to Provo. "So how [SMC coach Randy Bennett] and his staff actually manage that, I am not really aware of that."

As the article points out, BYU's eight "local" players are Brandon Davies, Tyler Haws, Josh Sharp, Craig Cusick, Raul Delgado, Bronson Kaufusi, Ian Harward and Nate Austin. More are on the way: Eric Mika, Nick Emery, T.J. Haws and Dalton Nixon.

"Well, I have always believed that there are really good players in the state of Utah," Rose said. "There are really good high school coaches in the state. And I think my experience coaching at Dixie College actually really helped.

We had a lot of national players from all over the country there, and we had a good mix of Utah players. And realized how good the Utah players were that were playing at Snow College, that were playing at Utah Valley, and Ricks College at the time.

So when I first came to BYU with coach [Steve} Cleveland, we made a reall effort to try and recruit the state.

But we have been real fortunate. There are some real talented players that have come through, and we've benefitted from that."

More comments about BYU having eight locals from Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies:

Haws on the fact that eight guys on roster are from Utah County:

"I mean, a lot of the guys have grown up playing against, or with [each other]. I feel like we've come together. We are pretty good friends on and off the court. It is nice, being close to home. I feel like we have good fan support [because of that]. It is fun, and a fun team to play on."

Haws on whether BYU can become a national power with this kind of recruiting:

"I think so for sure. We have got lots of talent in the Utah County, Utah area. I have believed that for a long time, and when we are playing right, we can play with anyone."

Davies on whether it matters that much where a player is from:

"No. Basketball is an international sport. It doesn't matter, you know, ethnicity or race or where people are from. People can play from all around the world. You know, we have a couple of foreign guys on our team that are just as good, so the bottom line is they are going to be ready to play, and no matter where you are from [doesn't matter]. We recruit guys that just want to win."



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