BYU guard Nick Emery's first game against Utah in three years will require more of an adjustment for the Cougars than for the Utes, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said Tuesday.
Emery is expected to return to BYU’s lineup Wednesday vs. Utah State in Provo, having sat out last season and missing the Cougars' first nine games this season before being reinstated by the NCAA, related to his case of receiving extra benefits from boosters. BYU will meet Utah in Saturday’s opening game of the Zions Bank Beehive Classic at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Tickets remain available in both the upper and lower bowls for the doubleheader of Utah-BYU (noon) and Utah State-Weber State (2:30 p.m.).
Emery's punch of former Ute guard Brandon Taylor in the teams' 2015 meeting at the Huntsman Center led Krystkowiak to halt the series for one year, buying out the scheduled 2016 game. BYU beat Utah in Provo last December, after Emery withdrew from school in November.
Asked if facing Emery would evoke any feelings from three years ago, Krystkowiak said, “Emotions? No.”
As for the basketball element of the matchup with Emery, Krystkowiak said, “It can’t be something that we’re thinking about as far as a game plan goes, because we don’t have a lot of database and recent film. … That’s going to be something that’s maybe a little bit more new for them. He’s certainly a weapon for them that we have to account for, but it might be more of a transition in trying to figure it out from [BYU coach Dave Rose’s] perspective than it would be for me.”
Last December, Krystkowiak spoke of receiving a text message from Emery during the summer. He described Emery’s approach to the 2015 incident as being “super sincere about how he was growing up and didn’t handle it right and that he has felt bad for quite a long time." Krystkowiak added, “Kudos to him for reaching out.”