Tyler Heap has racked up 408 assists, 20.5 points and 52 digs this year for the men’s volleyball team. And it’s barely February.
So how did the sophomore get here? His career is highlighted with CIF titles in both basketball and volleyball, a player of the year award and a spot in Volleyball Magazine’s “Fab 50” List. Heap spoke with the Universe about making his way to where he is now.
Being a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) champion as a junior and senior in high school for both basketball and volleyball, what made you choose volleyball?
Tyler Heap: I became better at volleyball than I did at basketball. I played basketball my whole life until high school; I started playing volleyball, and I grew a foot. I became a setter, and I was being looked at by some schools when I was playing club. And everything just kind of lined up for me to play volleyball. At first I wasn’t sold on volleyball, but soon I really bought into it and I love it now.
Why did you choose to come to BYU?
TH: I like the coaches here. I like the school; it’s a great school, and my parents went here. Plus, my older brother was here. So, I thought it would be fun to go to school with him.
How was playing with your brother on BYU’s volleyball team?
TH: We played together last season, and it was a lot of fun playing with him and seeing him everyday. I’ve definitely missed him, and I think the rest of the guys have really missed him too. He’s a great player and teammate. I do still get to see him a lot since he’s my brother, just not as much. He’s not gone forever.
What motivates you when it comes to volleyball?
TH: Anything I do I want to be really good at. I’m really self motivated. You see a lot of the players that come to BYU and the standard that they have set. It makes you want to be that kind of player. Carlos Moreno and Rob Neilson, those kind of setters that set here were really good, and it makes you want to be that kind of player someday. That was an influence and motivation for me to become a really good volleyball player.
What is the hardest part about being a BYU volleyball player?
TH: It takes a lot of time and energy. It’s three hours a day and then hours for serve and pass and hours where we lift and condition. All these hours add up. It’s just the time it takes, and then put school on top of that. All of that combined can make it hard, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun.
What are your favorite moments when you’re on the court?
TH: When the crowd gets really loud and it’s a tight game, if there’s a long rally and we win the rally, watching 5,000 people just go crazy. Those are my favorite moments.
Does your team have a team philosophy that you play by?
TH: We have some team values. We’re a family here at BYU. We work hard. We’re accountable. We’re dedicated. We’re committed. Those are the main values we have. Those all work in to make our team atmosphere what we want it to be.
What are you working on this year as a team?
TH: Something that coach has emphasized a lot this year is playing hard every single point. Every point matters. If we lose a point, that’s okay, but we need to get ready for the next point. Each point deserves its own dedication. Working hard every single point. That’s something we’re really working on this year.
What do you like about being a student at BYU?
TH: I like the atmosphere here. It feels like a good place to be. I don’t know any other way to explain it. Ever since I was a little kid and came up here to BYU and just hung out on this campus, it just feels like a great place. You have a good feeling being here.
What are your plans after BYU?
TH: I want to play a little bit of professional volleyball. Other than that, I haven’t really thought that far.
Heap will be back on the court with the BYU men’s volleyball team in its next match on Friday against Pacific.