Eye on the Y: Cougar men’s basketball team gets a boost. TJ Haws is ready to come back.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young guard TJ Haws celebrates as the Cougars extend their lead late in the game, in basketball action in the Beehive Classic, between against the Brigham Young Cougars and Utah Utes, a the Vivint Smart Home Arena, Saturday December 8, 2018.

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The BYU men’s basketball team has been through a lot over the last few months of the offseason, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is shining on senior TJ Haws.

During media day, head coach Mark Pope told us Haws had returned to practice this week, albeit only part time. He expects the senior to come back at full capacity next week.

The news was a bit of relief for a program that's been riddled with scandal, injuries and NCAA suspension and pending eligibility waivers since the end of last season.

But Haws’ situation was always different. He underwent minor knee surgery to, hopefully, prevent a serious injury. His surgery was planned, and the goal was always to come back for the start of the 2019-2020 season.

With all of the other bad luck the team has endured, it almost would have made sense if Haws wouldn’t be ready in time, but fortunately for the Cougars that isn’t the case.

“It's been great,” Haw said of his recovery. “I had surgery about a month ago and my recovery has gone really well. I'm working my way into practice this week, building my endurance and building my strength, and should be back next week.

If anything, it was good that all these issues came in the offseason.

Now, hear me out — it will still hurt the Cougars to have Yoeli Childs sit out the first nine games for a NCAA suspension and be without Gavin Baxter, who will most likely miss the entire season due to a shoulder injury, plus guard Nick Emery left the program, but best deal with that before the season starts and not in the midst of it.

As is, the Cougars have been able to work other players up to fill in the open spots. And hopefully not miss a beat come Nov. 5, when they open the season against Cal State Fullerton.

Haws also said the offseason adversity has been a great opportunity for the team to come together and see what they're made of.

When I asked him what that is, he said they’re going to find out. "But I think this team has a lot of toughness,” Haws said. “We worked so hard this offseason and I think these guys really just want to win no matter what it takes. When you have guys that really believe in that, you step on the court, there’s no agendas or anything like that – you really could win a lot of games that way.”

More BYU football coverage

South Florida hasn’t seen the success under third-year coach Charlie Strong that they would like, but are entering this week’s game off a 48-22 win against UConn.

The Cougars used their bye week to move past their last couple of losses and get a head start on the Bulls.

Coaches and players don’t think the offense will look much different with Jaren Hall at QB. Why? He might be even faster than Zach Wilson.

Other voices

Jay Drew of the Deseret News wrote about Beau Tanner, who will start at strong safety on Saturday.

Jared Lloyd of The Daily Herald takes a look at BYU’s defense rotation.

KSL’s Sean Walker wrote about how the Cougars’ need to look past individual success and find a way to make the team consistent.

Around campus

• Both BYU cross country teams are ranked No. 2 in the country, for the first time in program history. The men remain at No. 2 for the 13th consecutive week, while the women moved up two spots in the latest USFTCCCA NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches Poll — their best ranking since 2003.

• BYU freshman swimmers Tyler Edlefsen and Katie McBratney earned their first MPSF Athlete of the Week honors after their performance at the Intermountain Shootout. Bratney, who led the women in a team win, finished first place in the 200 breast in 2:17.83, 400 IM in 4:21.38 and 200 IM in 2:03.16 and in second place in the 100 breast in 1:03.48 and 100 IM in 58.44. Edlefsen finished in first place in the 400 IM in 3:52.50, the 1650 free in 15:56.32 and the 200 breast in 2:03.89 and in second place in the 200 IM 1:51.53 and 500 free 4:39.89.

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