Provo • In the tiny central Utah town of Mount Pleasant, Bernardo Da Silva checks daily, if not hourly, to see if BYU has picked a head men’s basketball coach to replace Dave Rose, who retired back on March 26.
“I’m nervous and excited,” said Da Silva, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who has played for national powerhouse Wasatch Academy, a private boarding school in Mount Pleasant, the past few seasons.
Da Silva signed with BYU last November, along with Timpview High’s Nate Hansen and Shengzhe Li, a native of Shanghai, China, who spent the last two years at Santa Margarita Catholic High in California playing for former Utah Valley coach and BYU assistant Jeff Reinert.
All three recruits said this week that they still plan to attend and play for BYU, but acknowledge that the school’s choice — expected to be announced any day now — could affect those plans.
Tuesday was the closing date for the application process, according to BYU’s employment website, and some crucial recruiting periods begin soon (April 11-14 and April 19-24) so athletic director Tom Holmoe knows getting a new coach in place this week is important.
As The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week, the top four candidates to replace Rose are Utah Valley coach Mark Pope, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen, BYU interim head coach Quincy Lewis and Portland State head coach Barret Peery.
Da Silva said he would like to see Pope or Lewis get the job because he knows them best. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the nationally ranked Tigers, whose season ended last week with a 79-72 loss to Oak Hill Academy in the 2019 GEICO Nationals in New York City.
“I guess there is the possibility that I could ask for a release from my letter of intent, but I don’t plan on doing that,” Da Silva said via telephone on Monday. “Coach Rose’s retirement doesn’t affect me that much, really. I am just excited to see who the new coach is going to be, like everyone else.”
Timpview’s Hansen, a 6-3 guard who averaged 23.6 points per game for the Thunderbirds last season, will leave on an LDS Church mission to Little Rock, Ark., the first week of June. However, he’s still eagerly awaiting the announcement.
“It’s definitely kind of scary, wondering who it will be,” Hansen said.
The NLI he signed with BYU will expire a year into his mission, so he will have the opportunity to look elsewhere if he doesn’t feel comfortable with the hire. But that’s a long way away and right now he’s “still excited” to play for BYU some day.
Hansen said he has exchanged texts with the other two recruits — Da Silva and Li — and said they are not worried, either.
“Both those guys are awesome kids,” he said. “They will both do great things at BYU.”
Hansen said he would like to see Lewis land the job.
“Having good chemistry with a coach is huge, and I feel like we all have that with Quincy,” he said.
Da Silva said he is not LDS and refers to himself as a “Christian” who was attracted to BYU because of its religious mission and because former BYU assistant Walter Roese, a fellow Brazilian, recommended it to him.
Da Silva said four of his teammates, all juniors, were being recruited by BYU’s former staff — small forward Leonardo Colimerio, center Mady Sissoko, small forward Caleb Lohner and shooting guard Richie Saunders.
“I am telling them good things about the program and stuff,” he said.
Reinert, an assistant at BYU from 1991-94 and Utah Valley’s head coach from 1994-2002, said Tuesday that the 6-10, 250-pound Li remains “fully committed” to go to BYU. Li averaged 10 points and seven rebounds for No. 32 Santa Margarita Catholic last season.
“He’s a good player,” Reinert said. “His numbers aren’t great because he played with two guys going to the Pac-12 that shot it a lot. So he had to go get what was left over. … He made us a national team because of his ability to defend the box, move the ball, and score, and all the little things he did for us. The kid is good.”
Reinert said several Pac-12 schools have called asking about Li’s availability since Rose retired, but Li likes BYU well enough to stay loyal if he gets along well with the new coach.
“Li is excited to go there,” Reinert said. “He really likes the discipline of the place, and he knows what he is getting into. His parents really like the structure and discipline of BYU, too.”
BYU BASKETBALL SIGNEES
• Timpview High guard Nate Hansen, 6-3, 170 (will go on two-year LDS Church mission before enrolling)
• Wasatch Academy forward Bernardo Da Silva, 6-9, 205 (from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
• Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic center Shengzhe Li, 6-10, 250 (from Shanghai, China)