Collinsworth emerging as BYU’s next star basketball player

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The current season of BYU basketball has seen the emergence of a few new star contributors, who will become the top performers that fans are eager to watch, hear about and see on the side of the highway on billboards.

But some emerging key players this season, you will not find on any billboard.

Kyle Collinsworth raises for a shot against Pacific. Photo by Natalie Stoker
Kyle Collinsworth raises for a shot against Pacific. (Photo by Natalie Stoker)

One of these unsung heroes is Kyle Collinsworth. The 6-6 sophomore guard is fresh off his mission in Russia and is quickly becoming a household name in Cougar basketball. His ability to fill in gaps where the Cougars are lacking is his current role on the team, a role he is adjusting to and working on making perfect.

His hard work is paying off, too. Collinsworth is currently a dominant force in conference play and is walking away from games with impressive stats to back him up. In a recent game against the San Francisco Dons, he played only 33 minutes, scoring a total of 19 points, as well as had eight rebounds and four assists.

“He has done a really good job, coming back from his mission and getting into shape,” said Tyler Haws, a critical player in helping Collinsworth improve and acclimate to his ability.

Collinsworth and Haws have formed a bond as teammates, working together as team captains to better their teammates, personal game and overall quality as a team. The two have a real leadership quality that is great for their team dynamic, and this leadership role is also a title that has helped Collinsworth find his strength on the team.

Haws and Collinsworth are very similar players, both returning from their missions and jumping right into a successful college basketball career. This is a challenge that many BYU athletes face and are not always able to conquer. The secret to his vast improvement in play and finding his role on the team could be attributed to the fact that Collinsworth has gone back to the basics in preparing his body for each practice and game.

“I have really been focusing on doing the little things everyday,” Collinsworth said. “Taking care of my body, eating well and sleeping well have really helped.”

Doing the “little things” is something Collinsworth really accredits as helping him stay excited, energetic and working hard on the court. Strengthening workouts such as stretching and mobility are just two of the things he focuses on while conditioning at practice, as these exercises helping him recover more quickly and go harder without getting tired during games. Through his attention to detail, Collinsworth has set the example for his teammates.

“He is a fun guy to play with and definitely makes the guys around him better,” Haws said.

At this point in the season, members of the team have been grateful to have Collinsworth to look toward in times when they have needed someone in that leadership role. The consistent play of Collinsworth has been especially appreciated by the team when it has hit the road to take on conference opponents in unfamiliar arenas.

“Just his leadership overall, we all lean to him to lead our team, and he is a great leader and a great player,” said teammate Anson Winder. “We get behind him every game, and he has led us many times.”

How the short rest of the season will play out for Collinsworth, though, is still up in the air. The rising player has a few more conference games and a conference tournament ahead of him. He could possibly be seeing more playing time in these games and has been preparing himself for that chance.

“I am just trying to get into the mindset of getting better everyday,” Collinsworth said.

The team as a whole is looking strong coming off its win over San Francisco, and Collinsworth is hoping to play at a higher level at the next game against Pacific.

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