If every BYU basketball player on scholarship with eligibility returns for the 2013-14 season, the Cougars will have two more scholarships to give out next month when the signing period begins on April 17.
They filled one of those open spots on Monday night. Salt Lake Community College guard Skyler Halford committied to BYU coach Dave Rose after a meeting in Rose's office earlier in the day.
Halford, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who will have two years to play two at BYU, said he had several other offers but decided on BYU for a variety of reasons.
"I like the pace and tempo they play at, most of all," he said. "I like the way coach Rose handles his teams. I just felt like it was a good fit for me. I grew up cheering for the Cougars, and my mom went to BYU."
Halford, who prepped at Orem's Timpanogos High, said another reason he chose BYU is because he knows a lot of the Cougars such as Ian Harward, Bronson Kaufusi, Tyler Haws, Raul Delgado, Kyle Collinsworth, Nate Austin, Josh Sharp, Craig Cusick and Brandon Davies because he competed against them in high school and with or against them in AAU ball in the summer.
"Those are all great kids, and it's going to be really fun playing with [the ones who won't graduate this spring]," Halford said.
Halford said he also had offers from Portland, Hawaii, Idaho and Idaho State. He said he had received inquiries lately from Seton Hall, UNLV, Utah State and San Diego.
Halford's SLCC team recently won its league championship and he was named the MVP. He averages 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for SLCC, where former BYU student manager Andrew May is an assistant coach.
An all-stater out of Timpanogos High, Halford walked on at Utah State his freshman year and ended up redshirting the 2008-09 season. After a church mission to Brazil, he wanted to return to USU, he said, but the Aggies didn't have a scholarship for him after telling him before he left that they would.
Disappointed, he enrolled at SLCC thinking he could play there a year and then return to USU. But that didn't happen, so he played a second year at SLCC, currently ranked No. 6 in the nation in the juco polls. Last season, he played with current BYU forward Agustin Ambrosino at SLCC.
"I love that kid to death," Halford said. "It will be fun playing with him again."
At BYU, Halford will likely be asked to fill the role played this year by Craig Cusick, a senior. That means he will play some point guard, some shooting guard, and perhaps a little on the wing.
"Coach Rose said he wants guards who can push it and can handle the ball, and also guys who can shoot the basketball. I feel like I can do those things for BYU," Halford said. "I could play the one, the two, or the three. We will just have to see where they need me."
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