Provo • Jake Toolson is following new coach Mark Pope back to BYU.
Toolson, the 6-foot-5 guard from Utah Valley who was the 2018-19 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, will be immediately eligible to play for the Cougars because he is a graduate transfer, having earned his degree from UVU this spring.
Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com first reported Toolson’s transfer plans.
Toolson, from Highland High in Gilbert, Ariz., averaged 15.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, best on the team in scoring and third in rebounding. He shot 45 percent from 3-point range.
The nephew of Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, Toolson played in two seasons at BYU before transferring to Utah Valley, but successfully applied to the NCAA to get his second season back. He averaged 2.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 9.4 minutes per game in his first stint at BYU.
Toolson averaged 3.9 points and 1.6 rebounds during his sophomore season in Provo, but took a medical leave of absence in December 2015, before the Cougars played in a tournament in Hawaii.
Pope coached Toolson for two seasons at UVU. It is his first “recruit” as BYU’s new head coach, and fairly significant, considering Toolson reportedly was drawing interest from Virginia, Arizona State, Duke and Utah State.
Goodman ranked Toolson as the 10th-best graduate transfer in college basketball this offseason.
As a senior at Highland High, Toolson averaged 27.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. He’s the second high-profile athlete in the past two years to leave BYU and then return, joining receiver Dylan Collie, who returned to BYU after playing for Hawaii.