Almost everyone has heard of Jimmer Fredette, the former BYU standout with the cool name and flashy game who was ready to shoot, and often did, as soon as he crossed midcourt.
Very few — outside of loyal Cougar fans, of course — know that much about senior Tyler Haws.
By the time this season is over, Haws’ name could be the one at the top of the record books. He’s on the brink of passing BYU icons Danny Ainge and Fredette as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
To think, many thought Fredette’s mark (2,599 points) might stand for years, maybe even decades. Sort of like Ainge’s total (2,467) did before Fredette’s arrival.
But Haws has steadily climbed his way up the charts and sits just 655 points behind Fredette, who’s now with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Haws pretty much flies under the radar despite possessing one of college basketball’s most lethal mid-range jumpers. He’s just a local kid from Alpine, Utah, who’s following in the footsteps of his father, a former BYU point guard in the mid ’80s.
And the number he’s far more interested in is 10 — as in, helping the Cougars make their 10th straight postseason appearance.
“We just want to win,” Haws said.
Haws has been a part of the BYU program since 2009-10, spending that season as Fredette’s wing man. Haws then went on his two-year Mormon mission to the Philippines, before returning in 2012.
If he averages what he did a season ago — 23.2 points — Haws could surpass Fredette’s mark by February. And if he can get on a roll like Fredette did his final year — when he improved his scoring average by six points per game — the record could topple much sooner.
“I’m amazed when I actually sit down and look at the numbers, but that’s only half of what Tyler has brought to the program,” said BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team was 23-12 a season ago. “He’s an example of what I would consider true BYU greatness. He embraces the culture here at BYU and everything that he does is for the good of the team and the good of the program.”
The Cougars are picked second in the West Coast Conference, behind perennial power Gonzaga. Haws will have plenty of help, too, especially with Kyle Collinsworth back on the court after tearing the ACL in his right knee last March.
Collinsworth averaged 14 points and 8.1 rebounds last season. His presence was missed in the NCAA tournament when BYU lost to Oregon.
“It’s fine that people doubt because I tore my ACL, but I have a really good feeling about this year,” Collinsworth said. “I’ve worked hard and I know I’m going to come back and be even better than last year.”
Here are other things to know about BYU before the season opener against Long Beach State on Nov. 14:
SENIORITY: There are five seniors this season after having none a year ago. The Cougars almost had another in Matt Carlino, but he transferred to Marquette for his final season. “These five seniors will come every day with a piece of urgency to them and the finality of their career that maybe we didn’t have in our locker room last year,” Rose said.
CHANGE OF PLANS: Freshman center Corbin Kaufusi figured he’d play football following his mission to South Korea. But he grew nearly three inches in his two years away and decided that maybe basketball was more his calling. Kaufusi’s brother, Bronson, is a linebacker for BYU.
FORMIDABLE SCHEDULE: The Cougars will play former Mountain West foe San Diego State in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 24. BYU also hosts Utah, Stanford and UMass in December. “With December’s preseason schedule, we have an opportunity to make real noise on the national level,” Rose said.
CENTER OF ATTENTION: With 6-foot-10 forward Eric Mika in Italy for his mission, the Cougars are looking for someone to step up in the frontcourt. They thought it might be Jamal Aytes, the transfer from UNLV. But he recently underwent ankle surgery. Freshman forward Isaac Neilson could see more time. So, too, could sophomore Luke Worthington.
CHASE IS ON: Guard Chase Fischer hasn’t even played a minute for BYU and already he’s a team captain. The transfer from Wake Forest has quickly bonded with his teammates. Fischer was a captain for the Demon Deacons as a sophomore in 2012-13. “I think that’s kind of my personality, just being a leader,” Fischer said.