“Dunk!” said the little Filipino kids as they threw the basketball to the six-foot, five-inch American walking by the wooden makeshift basketball hoop. The tall American accepted the challenge and started to run toward the hoop. All of a sudden his legs fell from underneath him, and he landed on the hard gravel. The locals gathered around to make sure the embarrassed American was okay. Little did the Filipinos know they were staring at one of the top college basketball players in America: Tyler Haws.
Basketball has always been Haws’ love. It runs in his family; his grandpa, Ralph Haws, has always loved basketball, and Tyler’s dad, Marty Haws, played point guard for BYU from 1986 to 1990.
With the help of his dad, Haws had an outstanding high school career at Lone Peak High School, winning two state titles and being awarded as Mr. Basketball in Utah back-to-back years. But despite his dad playing for BYU, Haws wasn’t a shoo-in to come to BYU.
“I just didn’t see myself going to BYU,” Haws said. “I was planning on going to Stanford.”
BYU head coach Dave Rose worked hard to get Haws to come to BYU. Rose would travel to most of Haws’ tournaments to watch him play, even if the game was at 8 a.m. in an empty gym. Rose and his staff worked hard to sell Haws their program, and their hard work paid off when Haws finally made a visit to BYU.
“It wasn’t until I came on my visit to BYU (that I decided) I was going to come here,” Haws said. “I just felt comfortable here with the coaches and the team.”
Luckily for BYU fans, Haws did decide to come to BYU. He became a starter midway through his freshman season and helped BYU snap a 17-year streak of failing to make it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The prospects for the next year were bright with superstar Jimmer Fredette returning for his senior year; but Haws already received his mission call to the Philippines for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It was always in the back of my head that after my freshman year I would go on a mission,” he said. “I had a really great support system, and I never really struggled with the decision to go on a mission.”
Less than a month after his freshman season, Haws left his friends, family and basketball behind to go to the Philippines. Haws attributes much of his success now to serving a mission, where he gained leadership skills and a greater outlook on life.
After Haws returned from the Philippines, he had eight months to get back into playing shape.
“It was hard because my mind remembered everything, but my body couldn’t do what it needed to do,” Haws said of his transition from the Philippines to the basketball court. “It took me six months to feel comfortable again in in-game situations.”
With hard work and help from the BYU training staff and his dad, Haws was prepared for his sophomore season, when he led BYU in scoring and led the Cougars to the NIT Final Four.
Haws continued to impress on the basketball court. After his sophomore season he played for Team USA in the World University Games in Russia. Haws’ experience on Team USA helped propel him into having an impressive junior season, when he won the WCC Player of the Year Award and led BYU back to the NCAA Tournament.
BYU has seen many great players come and go, but what makes Haws so special?
“He is just an example of what I would consider to be true BYU greatness,” Rose said. “He embraces the culture here at BYU. … He is in the community, in the state and in the region sharing stories of success and influencing people in a positive way.”
According to his grandpa, Haws is a “righteous warrior.” He is soft, kind and caring but a warrior while on the court. Outside of basketball Haws spends time with his family, calls his grandpa a few times a week, travels hours to support his cousin playing quarterback at Snow College and enjoys reaching out and being an example for kids. Haws’ teammate, Isaac Nielson, describes him as being easygoing, supportive and a hard worker.
With stats of a superstar, Haws remains humble. He understands that there are goals he has yet accomplished. He wants to win a conference championship; he wants to go as far as any BYU team has gone in the NCAA tournament, and as far as the NBA.
“I want to play in the NBA,” Haws said. “That’s been the dream and goal for a long time.”
As Haws enters his senior season, he is the preseason favorite to win the WCC Player of the Year Award and is rated the No. 1 shooting guard in basketball by Lindy’s College Basketball Preview. All the recognition doesn’t mean much to Haws at the end of the day, so how does he want to be remembered by BYU fans in five to 10 years?
“Just that I was a consistent player,” Haws said. “I want to be known as a consistent player who gave everything he had to the program and devoted himself to the team so they can be good.”
Haws has been nothing but consistent in his time so far at BYU. If Haws continues to be consistent and averages at least 21.7 points per game his senior year, he will be remembered as more than just a consistent player. He will be remembered as the all-time leading scorer at BYU, one of the best players to ever put on a BYU uniform.