Philadelphia » Everyone knows that one of the most prolific players in BYU basketball history, Lee Cummard, played his final game for the Cougars on Thursday, scoring 17 points in a 79-66 NCAA Tournament loss to Texas A&M.
But what about junior Jonathan Tavernari? Could the game at Wachovia Center have been his final one in Cougar blue as well?
Tavernari was noncommittal after a disappointing performance in which he battled foul trouble almost the whole game and finished with nine points on 3-for-9 shooting. He did not score in the second half.
"We will see what happens this summer," Tavernari said, when asked if he plans to return for his senior year. "I can test the waters for the NBA Draft. I can come back. Lee [Cummard] did the same thing last year. That's the direction I am going right now, but I just want to see what happens."
Tavernari, who averaged 15.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season, is an Italian who was born in Brazil. He speaks five languages, and has said he has already had offers from some professional European teams for $600,000 or $700,000 per year.
"I don't want to think about anything else besides just getting my academic life straight," he said. "You know, I have been missing quite a bit of school the last two weeks. I will enjoy a few days off with my fiancee, talk to my parents and just see what happens and go from there."
Tavernari, who led the team Thursday with seven rebounds, said he is going to play for the Brazilian National Team this summer in the Tournament of the Americas.
"The guy who used to play in front of me retired, so I am going to get a lot of minutes, so we will see what happens there," he said.
Tavernari hit a three-pointer with seven minutes remaining to cut A&M's lead to 32-24, but was whistled for an offensive foul, his second, on BYU's next possession and went to the bench. He said the foul trouble hampered him several times this season and slowed his momentum.
He also said that before he makes any decision regarding his future, he will consult with BYU coach Dave Rose.
"The second-to-last word is going to be his," Tavernari said. "The last word will [come from] me and my family, my fiancee and my parents. Coach Rose is like a father to me. I am going to listen to everything he has to say."