Eye On The Y: BYU guard Nick Emery is ‘progressing’ off the court, but struggling on it, coach Dave Rose says

Cougars' junior hasn’t found the form he displayed as a freshman back in 2016 when he averaged more than 16 points per game

FILe - In this Feb. 25, 2017, file photo, BYU guard Nick Emery walks on the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The men’s basketball program at Brigham Young University must vacate wins over two seasons and received two years of probation from the NCAA after one of its players received extra benefits. The NCAA said Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, that Nick Emery received more than $12,000 in benefits from four boosters, which included travel to concerts and an amusement park along with the use of a new car. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

Eye On The Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter on BYU athletics. Subscribe here.

Provo • What’s wrong with Nick Emery?

That’s the latest question du jour surrounding the BYU basketball team, which is 4-2 in WCC play heading into Thursday’s ultra-crucial home contest against Saint Mary’s.

However, the Cougars are a not-so-great 12-9 overall, and likely heading toward the worst season in coach Dave Rose’s 14-year tenure. The Cougars were blown out 82-63 by San Francisco last Saturday and Emery was, well, not good.

The junior went 0-for-4 from the field and badly missed several shots in 13 minutes against the Dons. Against Pepperdine two nights prior, he was 1-for-4 in 12 minutes.

Remember Emery’s freshman season when he averaged more than 16 points a game and nailed 10 3-pointers en route to a career-high 37 points in a 114-89 win over the Dons? That seems like a really long time ago.

Emery has chosen not to talk to reporters this month, but Rose was asked Wednesday about the junior’s state of mind after he joined the team the middle of December after sitting out the first nine games due to NCAA sanctions.

Rose said Emery is doing a lot better off the court than on it.

“I don’t think that on the court he is [back]. But the rest of his life is in a place where he is successful in everything that he is doing. He has had a great summer semester academically, a great fall semester academically. I think his social life is back to being normal ...

"... And to where he is now, with the guys, on the team, and his life, from 8 in the morning until midnight, is probably back into that spot.

"His game, he is still trying to find it and develop it and defensively, I think he is playing as good of defensive basketball as he’s ever played. I think his energy is terrific. His efficiency on the offensive end is something that he wants to be better at. So we will just keep working on it.

"But I couldn’t be happier with now [compared to] where we were maybe 14 15 months ago as far as him progressing.”

Stories from the past week

• It was all about TJ Haws, and his passes to Gavin Baxter, in BYU’s 87-76 win at Pepperdine last week, BYU’s second-straight win at Firestone Fieldhouse. TRIB

• Moments after they beat Pepperdine, the Cougars knew they would have a tough time repeating their success against fired-up San Francisco. TRIB

• San Francisco is easily the most improved team in the WCC, and the Dons showed BYU just how far they’ve come with a 19-point crushing at Memorial Gymnasium. TRIB

• Another two-game road swing, another split for the BYU basketball team. How the Cougars went 1-1 last week and why coach Dave Rose was OK with that. TRIB

• For BYU fans, it is a case of what might have been. What if the Lone Peak Three had stayed together? This season — heading toward the worst in the Dave Rose era — would likely have been a lot different. TRIB

• BYU’s basketball team was demolished 88-66 by Saint Mary’s a few weeks ago. The Cougars’ chance to make amends for that disaster comes Thursday night in the Marriott Center. TRIB

Stories from elsewhere

• BYU football coach Kalani Sitake is OK with the number of players transferring in and out of his program, according to the Deseret News. DNEWS

• Columnist Dick Harmon summarized the local college football products playing in the NFL playoffs. DNEWS

• Darnell Dickson of the Provo Daily Herald wonders where all the fans are at WCC gymnasiums. HERALD


Credit BYU big man Yoeli Childs. When the Cougars lose, he almost always places the blame on his own shoulders. Here’s Childs’ answer after he scored 25 points against San Francisco regarding why the Cougars lost:

“First half, I was horrible on the offensive end. I can’t miss that many shots and expect to have a game. So this loss is on me. I was horrible on the offensive end tonight, absolutely horrible, and that killed us,” he said. “The Saint Mary’s game, I was horrible on defense, and that killed us. Our guys played so hard. Guys like TJ are showing up every single night, and obviously it is not always on one person, but it sucks that if I come out and make some layups, it is probably a lot different game.”

Around campus

• BYU’s women’s basketball team defeated No. 13 Gonzaga and Portland last weekend to move to the top of the WCC standings. The Cougars play at San Diego (1-7, 8-11) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Freshman Shaylee Gonzales leads the Cougars in scoring and assists with a 17.3 scoring average and 4.4 assist average.

• BYU’s No. 16-ranked gymnastics team knocked off Utah State in Logan last week. Friday, the Cougars will host the Aggies for their annual Kids Meet at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Center.

• The BYU men’s track and field team moved up to No. 9 in the most recent USTFCCCA rankings after hosting the BYU Indoor Invitational. It is the highest the Cougars have been ranked since attaining a No. 8 ranking in 2012. All-American Clayton Young is the highest ranked Cougar, sitting at No. 12 in the 3,000 meter run.

• The No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball team was forced to play two matches back east within 12 hours of each other, but emerged victorious in both. The Cougars edged Penn State in five sets Friday night, then swept Saint Francis in three sets Saturday morning in a match moved up 10 hours because a winter storm was approaching the East Coast.

BYU senior linebacker Sione Takitaki was a last-minute invitee to the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Saturday in Mobile, Ala. The game will be televised by the NFL Network.