Fan favorite Payton Dastrup is transferring from BYU’s basketball program

Forward was instrumental in the Cougars’ win over Utah.<br>

Six months after helping BYU beat Utah and and one month after appearing at BYU’s Fan Fest in his hometown, forward Payton Dastrup is transferring from the Cougar basketball program.

The 6-foot-10 forward from Mesa, Ariz., said via social media on Thursday that his decision was “not easy” and was “something I have thought about for a long time.”

With two years of eligibility remaining, Dastrup was unlikely to play much for a Cougar team that lost only junior guard Elijah Bryant from the 2017-18 roster. Bryant has entered the NBA draft. BYU also is bringing back guard Nick Emery after a one-year absence, assuming he is absolved from an NCAA extra-benefits investigation, and returned missionaries Gavin Baxter and Connor Harding are joining the program.

Known for his demonstrative support on the bench, Dastrup was an “inspirational teammate,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a news release, and he was popular among fans who wondered why he didn’t play more. He took advantage of his 10-minute opportunity against Utah, making two 3-pointers and posting eight points and four rebounds in a 77-65 victory in Provo in early December.

In the postgame news conference, Bryant spoke of Dastrup’s devotion to the school and Dastrup labeled himself “a bleed-blue guy since birth, pretty much.”

Dastrup followed that performance with a career-high 14 points in a rout of Idaho State, but his playing time was reduced once Dalton Nixon returned from injury. Dastrup did not play in BYU’s win over Saint Mary’s in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament.

Cougar guard Jahshire Hardnett tweeted that Dastrup was “one of the best teammates ever.”