BYU center Richard Harward taking ‘step back from basketball’ due to heart condition

Harward thanked BYU fans and said he will not play for the rest of the season

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars center Richard Harward (42)looks for a shot, as Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Anton Watson (22) defends, in West Coast Conference Basketball action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Marriott Center in Provo, on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

The BYU men’s basketball team took a blow Tuesday afternoon as one of its key big men announced he won’t play basketball for the foreseeable future.

Senior center Richard Harward announced on Instagram that he is taking “a step back from basketball” this season due to a heart condition that has kept him out of every game so far this season.

“The condition affecting my heart has developed further complications,” Harward wrote. “For my health and safety, it has been determined I will be out the remainder of the season. I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of kindness and support.”

Harward received words of encouragement from teammates on his Instagram post. Caleb Lohner said, My man! Love forever bro ... keep rockin!” Seneca Knight added, “Praying for you bro bro! One Love.”

Harward averaged 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season for the Cougars.

The center had hoped to be an important piece of coach Mark Pope’s puzzle this season. Along with him and other players like Gavin Baxter, the Cougars wanted to be a dominant rebounding team. But Harward’s absence and Baxter’s own season-ending injury has shifted the identity of the Cougars.