Lone Peak is farming ground for BYU basketball recruiting

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The promised land for BYU basketball recruiting is proving once again to be the soil of Highland — more specifically, the gymnasium of Lone Peak High School. In recent memory, four BYU players have gone through Lone Peak to play at BYU, including three current players. BYU will add at least three more players from Lone Peak’s roster over the next few years.

What’s in the water just 16 miles north of Provo that continually turns out BYU basketball players?

“I think we have some kids who work pretty hard,” Lone Peak Head Coach Quincy Lewis said. “Anytime you win, it starts with players. And we’ve had guys that have worked hard. Our emphasis in the offseason is the individual work, and we think that is of far greater importance than games in the offseason.”

TJ Haws shoots a three-pointer during Lone Peak’s 75–49 victory over Lehi on Jan. 25. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

On the current BYU roster, three sophomores who receive significant playing time started out stunning high school crowds in the Knight Fieldhouse. These include Tyler Haws, the 10th leading scorer in the nation, averaging 20.5 points per game; Josh Sharp, a starter known for his nonstop motor in giving the Cougars multiple possessions with 2.2 offensive rebounds per contest; and Nate Austin, a big forward/center averaging 16 minutes and 3.8 points per game.

“It’s fun to be able to watch them play through their career,” Lewis said. “My biggest thing is that they’re playing in a place where they have a coach that cares about them and they’re in a program that has a chance to be successful.”

Another player who had his start at Lone Peak and recently played for BYU was guard Jackson Emery, who graduated two years ago after having a phenomenally successful career through four years with the Cougars. He still owns the career record for steals at BYU and was the second piece of arguably the best backcourt in the entire nation for the 2010–2011 season, along with Jimmer Fredette.

The Emery tradition, however, does not end with Jackson. And neither, for that matter, does the Haws name end with Tyler. Lone Peak will give BYU two brothers who are Cougar stars and another talented post player to dress in the blue and white over the next several years.

Nick Emery, a senior at Lone Peak, has committed to play at BYU after his two-year mission to Germany that begins on May 1. Emery has averaged 20.5 points per game throughout his career for the Knights, while setting the all-time record for three-pointers made. He is also second all-time in steals, behind his brother Jackson. Carrying on the Emery legacy is something he looks forward to.

“It’s motivating because (Jackson’s) really helped me through all of this,” Nick Emery said. “I wouldn’t be the player I am right now if it wasn’t for him playing defense on me and being that leader. He’s always telling me what to do.”

The fact that the BYU team will be quite a bit different after serving his mission doesn’t concern Nick Emery, as he’s confident about the players BYU brings in.

“I’m not worried,” Nick Emery said. “Coach (Dave) Rose always brings in great recruits. I’m just excited to play with whoever I play with. I’m excited to play with TJ (Haws) and Eric (Mika) in a few years. I’m not worried. I’m just excited.”

TJ Haws is another Lone Peak player looking to continue the family name as an important BYU basketball player. His father, Marty, played for BYU from 1986 to 1990, and his brother Tyler currently leads the Cougars in points, minutes, free throw percentage and three-point percentage. However, TJ is a junior and will spend one more year at Lone Peak before playing for the Cougars. He averages 14.9 points per game and is already in the top 10 in scoring and three-pointers made for the Knights. TJ Haws hasn’t decided if he will play basketball or serve a mission first, but there are several factors in his consideration.

“Hopefully when I get there, I can make an impact and play a little bit and get some minutes,” TJ Haws said. “A mission is for sure what I’m planning on doing. It would be an amazing experience being able to play with Tyler for a year, but to play with these guys for three years again would be great. I’m still waiting it out.”

Finally, the third player who has committed to BYU is 6’10” center Eric Mika, who has decided to play for BYU next year. During this season, Mika is averaging a double-double, with an average of 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. With current BYU senior Brandon Davies graduating after this season, the Cougars will need size in the post like Austin and Mika to step in and make significant impacts.

Lone Peak’s Eric Mika takes a shot in in a game against Lehi. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

“I don’t know how they’re going to put me in their system, but I know we play similar to them, so I’m just ready to do whatever Coach Rose needs me to do,” Mika said. “I’m just going to work my hardest. Every time I watch them, I get really excited, especially the younger guys.”

Lone Peak High School is continuing a legacy of basketball greatness, as it is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in high school basketball with a 13–1 overall record and several tournament wins across the nation against the country’s top schools. The Knights returned home on Jan. 25 to play a conference game against Lehi, easily winning 75–49. Nick Emery did not play, but TJ Haws and Mika led the team with 22 points apiece before sitting the entire fourth quarter. The tradition that Lone Peak has in sending players to NCAA basketball, is not overlooked by its players.

“Lone Peak’s an awesome program,” Haws said. “Coach Lewis knows what to do, and he knows how to make players become really good. And give credit to the players; they’ve worked really hard to be where they are.”

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