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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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Basketball update: Haws, Davies honored; BYU targets another SLCC star, eyes NIT bubble

As the waiting game continues for the BYU basketball team -- the Cougars will find out late Sunday night whether they've been invited to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) -- the stars of the 2012-13 team were honored recently by the United States Basketball Writers Associaton (USBWA).

Senior Brandon Davies and sophomore Tyler Haws have been named to the USWBA's All-District VIII team after helping BYU go 21-11 overall, 10-6 in the West Coast Conference.

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The USBWA defines District VIII as Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Montana. Colorado's Andre Roberson is the district's MVP.

Davies scored 17.6 points per game and led BYU in rebounding at 7.8 caroms per contest. He shot .533 from the field.

Haws led the Cougars in scoring with a 20.9 average, which is currently 11th in the country. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Haws shot .473 from the field, .868 from the free-throw line and .386 from 3-point range.

Here are BYU's other All-District Honorees the past five years:

2012 -- Noah Hartsock

2011 -- Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery

2010 -- Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery

2009 -- Jimmer Fredette, Lee Cummard

2008 -- Lee Cummard, Trent Plaisted

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If the 2012-13 season proved anything, it is that the Cougars are in serious need of an athletic, sturdy power forward who can bang inside and grab a few rebounds.

To solve that problem, they have targeted Salt Lake Community College forward Sai Tummala, a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder who teamed with recent BYU commit Skyler Halford to give SLCC one of the top juco teams in the country.

BYU coaches recently offered Tummala a scholarship.

Tummala was a preferred walk-on at Michigan out of high school, but redshirted his freshman season in Ann Arbor and never played. Last summer, Michigan coach John Beilein said Tummala "may be our most athletic player. Aside from maybe Trey Burke, he's one of our quickest players and has really showed some good signs."

Tummala is averaging 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for SLCC.

He played his high school basketball in Phoenix, at Brophy College Preparatory School, and averaged 17.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

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Believe it or not, there are plenty of websites out there that predict which teams will be invited to the NIT, and even project their seeds.

The NIT Bracket Project, for instance, has BYU as a No. 4 seed and says the Cougars might play host to Denver of the Western Athletic Conference in the first round.

Other projections have BYU as a No. 5 seed, which would mean the Cougars would travel for their first-round game.

A quick glance at last year's NIT participants shows that a 21-11 record is about average for an NIT selectee. BYU's RPI is in the high 60s, which is also close to the NIT average (around 80).

Remember, any team which wins its regular-season conference championship (in Division I) and does not make the NCAA Tournament gets an automatic berth in the NIT.



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