Provo • BYU basketball coach Dave Rose acknowledged Tuesday night that junior guard Jahshire Hardnett has not practiced with the team this week, but did not confirm multiple reports that Hardnett has left the program.
Rose said Hardnett’s status and future with the program are uncertain.
Monday night, the website Vanquishthefoe.com first reported that Hardnett is leaving the program because he is not happy with his role on the team.
Hardnett started in 9-8 BYU’s first 15 games, but came off the bench in the last two, a 90-87 win over Pacific last Thursday and an 88-66 loss at Saint Mary’s on Saturday. After leading the Cougars to the last-second win over Pacific with 17 points in 21 minutes, Hardnett inexplicably played only five minutes against the Gaels.
He seemed to have at least one verbal dispute with Rose on the bench during Saturday’s blowout loss.
During the “Dave Rose Show” on BYUtv Tuesday night, Rose said Hardnett is going through a “tough stretch” and weighing his options regarding his future.
“Hopefully, when you make decisions that affect a long period of your life, you can do it maybe in a time when it is not so emotional,” Rose said. “Right now, it is a pretty emotional thing. … Hopefully, Jahshire can work through these things and we’ll see where we end up.”
Hardnett is considered a redshirt junior, eligibility-wise. There has been speculation since last summer that he would attempt to graduate from BYU in April and move on as a graduate transfer with one season of eligibility remaining.
The timing is interesting because BYU students started winter semester on Monday. If the product of Gulfport, Miss., leaves school now, before graduating, he could technically become eligible to play for another program the second half of next season.
Hardnett missed the only shot he took against Saint Mary’s and also committed a turnover.
A BYU basketball spokesperson said Tuesday before the television show that the program didn’t have any information regarding Hardnett’s status and would let the media know when it did. Rose is scheduled to talk to print reporters after practice on Wednesday.
“Jahshire is upset that he’s not playing more and that he’s not in the starting lineup,” Rose told the BYU sports network. “His effort kind of showed from that. … Hopefully we can get him right and get him going and get him back.”
Hardnett is averaging 10.9 points per game, third-highest on the team behind stars Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws. He had a career-high 24 points in BYU’s 113-103 loss to Weber State on Dec. 1, but shortly after that fellow guard Nick Emery became eligible to play and Hardnett’s minutes have gradually decreased.
If not for his inspired play against Pacific, the Cougars easily could have lost in Stockton.
Asked after the win in which he went 8 of 9 from the free-throw line about not starting for the first time this season, Hardnett seemingly shrugged it off.
“It was fine,” he said. “I did something in the last game that kinda led me to the bench so I accepted [not starting] for the good of the team. … I’m a team player and cheer the guys on whether I play a lot of minutes or not.”
Hardnett signed with Fordham University in New York after a standout high school career in Mississippi, but redshirted his first year there and transferred to Chipola (Fla.) College and played one season there before transferring to BYU.