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Another former Utah Valley University basketball player is headed across town to BYU, but this one will probably have to sit out a year before playing for the Cougars.
A day after Stadium.com reported that UVU grad transfer Jake Toolson — the 2018-19 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year — was transferring back to BYU, the same website reported that the WAC’s Freshman of the Year is on his way to Provo, too.
Wyatt Lowell, a 6-foot-10, 205-pound power forward who averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Wolverines upon returning from a church mission to Minnesota, will re-unite with new coach Mark Pope at BYU, national college basketball expert Jeff Goodman said.
The three new assistants will be introduced Thursday afternoon at a news conference in the Marriott Center Annex.
Lowell was considered a major get for Pope at UVU in November of 2015 when he signed with the Wolverines because he was the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with the school out of high school. Lowell averaged 24.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game his senior season at Williams Field High in Gilbert, Ariz.
Meanwhile, new UVU coach Mark Madsen must be wondering what is going on. Madsen also lost center Baylee Steele, who has said via social media that he is transferring to Duquesne. Former SLCC forward Isaiah White was also in the transfer portal, but has taken his name out and will return to UVU.
More basketball news
I wrote about the challenges Pope faces as he goes about rebuilding BYU’s once-proud basketball program last Sunday, while Jeff Call of the Deseret News filed this piece on the possibility of adding more international recruits and Darnell Dickson of the Daily Herald warned that this transfer portal business is getting out of hand.
Takitaki eyes NFL draft, Van Noy honored in Utah
The way that former Cougar Sione Takitaki turned his life around is nothing short of remarkable — with lots of help from his wife Alyssa — and the linebacker’s dream of playing in the NFL continues this week. Here’s a look at Takitaki’s prospects of being drafted.
Speaking of BYU’s NFL players, former Cougar Kyle Van Noy was back in Utah last week and Jared Lloyd of the Daily Herald caught up with the two-time Super Bowl champion.
And here’s an update on BYU’s running back situation after the Cougars added South Carolina graduate transfer Ty’Son Williams.
The recently completed BYU men’s basketball season featured more blowouts with the Cougars on the wrong end of the deal than in any other season in recent memory. The worst of all was probably the season-ending 80-57 loss to San Diego, a game in which the Cougars trailed by as many as 44 points.
I asked rising senior wing Zac Seljaas the other day what happened, and here’s his reply:
“We missed a lot of good shots in that first four minutes. That kind of got us down. When you are not hitting shots, you kind of get frustrated and you kinda put things on your own shoulders, like, ‘I gotta do this for the team. I gotta help them.’ We all kind of did that and we wanted to be the guy to start scoring and helping our team bring the energy.
"Shots weren’t falling and things weren’t going right. San Diego is a really good team, and they were hitting shots. They were comfortable in that gym already and so it was kind of heartbreaking as a game. We look back and just think, all right, we gotta be more prepared, more ready to go out there and just play as hard as we can. It was just kind of one of those games that you have to get past and say, that was a once in a season performance and we gotta change that whole game and never let that happen again.”
• After taking two of three games from the Pac-12’s Washington Huskies last weekend, BYU’s baseball team (26-10, 10-5) returns to WCC action this week with three games at Pacific (21-19, 8-10).
The Cougars are having one of their best seasons in years and have one of the best pitching staffs in school history. Led by senior Jordan Wood and sophomores Easton Walker and Justin Sterner, the staff’s ERA is 3.47. If the season ended today, that would be the lowest in program history since 1969.
• BYU’s men’s golf team won its own PING Cougar Classic on Saturday at nearby Riverside Country Club in Provo, and junior Peter Kuest ran away with the individual championship. Kuest shot a closing round 69 (3-under-par) to win the tournament by eight strokes. It was the Fresno, Calif., native’s fifth first-place finish this season.
As Deseret News columnist Dick Harmon reports here, Kuest and the Cougars will compete in the WCC Championships Thursday through Saturday in Stockton, Calif. at the Reserve at Spanos Park.
• BYU’s men’s tennis team faded a bit after earning its best ranking in more than 20 years, but is still having a solid year. On Wednesday, No. 43 BYU players Ben Gajardo, Sean Hill, Jeffrey Hsu and Sam Tulles earned All-WCC honors. Hill was named to the All-WCC First Team Singles for the second time in his career after posting an 18-2 overall record. He was undefeated (7-0) in conference play. BYU got the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament and will face No. 6 Santa Clara on Thursday at the Biszantz Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif.
• BYU’s women’s tennis team is also at the conference tournament this week. Junior Polina Malykh received All-WCC Singles honorable mention accolades on Wednesday. She posted a 16-5 singles record and had a 14-match winning streak during the season.
• BYU’s men’s volleyball team saw its season end last week in the MPSF semifinals at Pepperdine, as Brandon Gurney of the Deseret News details in this report. The Cougars finished the year with a 13-12 overall record, 6-6 in MPSF matches. Pepperdine (22-6) went on to sweep USC for the MPSF title and will represent the league at the NCAA Tournament.