Tyler Haws: The guy behind the game

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Tyler Haws’ life on the court has not always been smooth. After failing to be invited back to a team in third grade, Haws made a pivotal decision: basketball was worth fighting for.

“I think I kind of fell in love with working hard at first,” said Haws, the starting guard for the BYU men’s basketball team. “I liked getting up in the morning and feeling like I had done something and worked toward a goal.”

BYU guard Tyler Haws shoots over Washington defender Andrew Andrews during the 2012 NIT tournament. Photo by Sarah Hill
BYU guard Tyler Haws shoots over Washington defender Andrew Andrews during the 2012 NIT tournament. Photo by Sarah Hill

There are few BYU fans who do not know Haws’ name, his stats and his endless list of accomplishments. However, few people know the guy behind the game.

“I think that I’m a nice guy and I am approachable and stuff, but I am intense and focused on what I’m doing,” Haws said. “I kind of have both sides to me. I’m not super nice on the court either. I’m intense. I’ll tear your head off on the court, but I am cool off the court.”

But Haws’ fervor in life is not solely for basketball. Haws loves spending time with his family and cat, Todd, at his home in Alpine. Backyard games with his dad, former BYU guard Marty Haws, and brother, TJ, are always in high demand, as are the attentions of his little sister, Gabi.

Beyond his family, Haws has great love for his faith. In 2010, Haws left basketball to serve a two-year mission in the Philippines for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“My mission has probably been my biggest accomplishment as far as everything goes,” Haws said. “That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life, by far. Learning a new language, trying to teach people about Jesus Christ, being in a different culture. … They were long days. But somehow I did it, and I have so many cool memories, so many people that I met.”

Perhaps it was through that refining process in the Philippines that Haws learned to deal with the many pressures, praises and criticisms that come with being in the spotlight.

“When you are in a game and you start thinking about the fans and who is there watching and what people are going to say, that is when everything starts to get out of control,” Haws said. “I think focusing on what you have to do to help your team gets rid of all that. With praise you can get way too high and think you are way too good, and then you just get humbled. It is better to just stay even-keeled. Don’t come too low or too high. Just smooth sailing.”

Yet, according to those who know him, on and off the court, Haws is the model of modesty.

“He is so humble,” teammate Frank Bartley said. “He really is. You wouldn’t even know he was a basketball player if you didn’t watch BYU basketball.”

However, Haws does have some pride in one particular aspect of himself: his hair.

“If I could I would grow it out. It would be way long,” Haws said. “I love long hair. I had a controlled mullet in June. My hair just stays still. It’s curly and super thick. … I do like my hair.”

Fellow teammates have acknowledged the consistent humility and kindness that seem to emanate from such a high-profile player.

“He is one of the best kids,” fellow guard Kyle Collinsworth said. “He just does what he is supposed to always. (He) is super nice, and he is just the same guy every day. I really admire that about him.”

It is through Haws’ love and willingness to work that he has seen his greatest hopes and aspirations come to life, but his dreams only continue.

“I would like to keep playing basketball, whether that is in the NBA or in Europe or somewhere else. I’d like to keep playing as long as I can,” Haws said. “Hopefully have a wife and a family. After basketball I want to get involved in a start-up company with the buddies I have grown up with and try to help it grow and see where it goes.”

If basketball somehow were taken away from him, however, Haws’ ambition would remain because he understands there is more to life than the game.

“I like working hard, and I like accomplishing something,” Haws said. “And that’s what I think keeps me coming back to basketball, is success and improving. … If it wasn’t basketball it would probably be something else. If not another sport it would be in the classroom, getting good grades, or maybe it would be service, or I would get involved in a club or something. Getting involved in something where you are working with people and you are working toward a goal.”

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