Eye on the Y: Introducing myself and the start of basketball season

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars guard TJ Haws (30) as BYU hosts San Diego, NCAA basketball in Provo Saturday January 20, 2018.

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

Before getting down to the nitty gritty, you may have noticed there hasn’t been an Eye on the Y newsletter since early August.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the previous BYU athletics beat reporter Jay Drew has moved over to the Deseret News. In his place is, well, me.

I spent the last four years in Arizona, working for the Nogales International, Today’s News-Herald and, most recently, the Arizona Daily Star. During that time, I covered a little bit of everything — both in and out of sports.

I started dabbing in journalism in middle school and by high school covered the majority of my school's varsity teams, even though I was never allowed to play sports myself.

Before moving for this job a couple weeks ago, I had never been to Utah. As a south Texas native and recent desert dweller, I also have never experienced a true winter. If you have any tips on how to survive the cold for someone who wears a sweater in 80-plus degree weather, please pass them my way.

Other than that, I'm more than excited to take on this job. If you want to know more or want to talk BYU sports, feel free to reach out. I'm all ears.

Now, back to work.

That's exactly what the BYU men's basketball team did Tuesday, when they started training camp and their first two-a-day practices.

First-year head coach Mark Pope, hired back in April after his nearly four-year stint at Utah Valley, is more than excited to be back in the gym working with his new team.

He recently finished recruiting trips that bumped him to Diamond Elite status with Delta airlines.

“It was one of the most depressing moments in my life. What am I doing with my life?,” Pope said half-jokingly. “For me, personally, it’s so fun to be in the gym.”

Noticeably absent during that initial practice: senior guard TJ Haws.

Haws was having some pain in his knee and instead of possibly having to deal with a bigger issue during the season, he went ahead and had minor arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago and should be back in a couple of weeks.

“It seemed like a great decision two weeks ago, and now since he’s missed the first week of practice, it’s just so awful not having him out there,” Pope said. “But it is giving other guys to run the point.”

The Cougars kick off their season Oct. 23 with Midnight Madness, starting at 10:30 p.m., before hosting UT Tyler in an exhibition game Nov. 1.

More stuff

Other voices

Former BYU coach Bronco Mendehnall told Irish Illustrated that his old school’s honor code was nothing but a positive when he coached the Cougars. Mendenhall’s Virginia team faces Notre Dame on Saturday at South Bend.

• Dick Harmon of the Deseret New says both BYU’s offense and defense will need to step up on Saturday at Toledo.

• Jared Llloyd of the Daily Herald observes that BYU coach Kalani Sitake is not afraid to shuffle his lineups to see who can get the job done.

Around campus

  • BYU athletics has four teams ranked in the top 10 of their respective national polls. Men’s cross country is at No. 2, women’s soccer at No. 5, women’s cross country sits at No 6 and women’s volleyball is No. 9. The cross country teams have maintained their rankings since the season started, while women’s volleyball bounced back up to the No. 9 spot. The soccer team began the season unranked, but have made their way into the top 10 with a 8-0-0 record.

  • BYU senior wide receiver Talon Shumway was named a semifinalist for the 2019 Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation on Wednesday. Shumway is one of 185 semifinalists for the award, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. The finalists will be announced Oct. 30, each of which will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and the winner will be announced Dec. 10 at the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner. The winner will have the postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

  • The BYU men’s tennis team is sending three players — Garret Vincent, Kobe Tran and Vinicius Feijao Nogueira — to compete in the ITA Bedford Cup in the Mountains at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The tournament begins Sept. 27 and ends Sept. 28.