Tyler Haws: A historic BYU basketball career

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BYU's Tyler Haws gives a thumbs-up to fans after BYU's 82–69 win over Portland on Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
BYU’s Tyler Haws gives a thumbs-up to fans after BYU’s 82–69 win over Portland on Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Tyler Haws was cut from a basketball team in third grade. His dad, former BYU star basketball player Marty Haws, used the moment to teach an important lesson: work as hard you can, and good things will happen.

Now nearing the end of his collegiate basketball career, Tyler Haws has proved to be more than just good. He now stands among the ranks of the best basketball players in BYU history.

Haws came out firing in the Cougars’ Feb. 26 game against Portland. After six minutes of play he found himself teetering on the edge of history, tied with Jimmer Fredette’s record 2,599 career points.

Taking a pass from Ryan Andrus, Haws drove into the paint. He was able to score on a  layup despite being double-teamed. It was a classic Haws move.

His record-breaking basket wasn’t a flashy three-pointer or fade-away jumper from the corner, but the fans went wild. True to his style, the moment that became Haws’ biggest achievement at BYU illustrated his whole career of consistency and quiet confidence. Rather than celebrating, Haws ran back down the court to get on defense.

“It’s a great thing to see all his hard work pay off,” teammate Skyler Halford said. “He’s a great person, and he deserves everything.”

Haws was recruited to BYU as a guard from Lone Peak High School, where he won two state championships. He had high expectations to live up to as just the second player in state history to be named Utah’s Mr. Basketball in back-to-back years.

He began his career in the shadow of Jimmer-mania. While Jimmer Fredette was busy making long-range 3-pointers, Tyler found his sweet spot in the midrange shots. Haws averaged 11.3 ppg his freshman year before deciding to take a two-year break to serve a mission.

Haws returned from the Philippines facing a new challenge: filling the enormous shoes vacated by Fredette. Haws quickly began putting up results by averaging 21.7 ppg as a sophomore, numbers that warranted national attention.

Haws was asked to join Team USA to compete at the 2013 World University Games in Russia prior to the start of his junior year. He averaged 23.2 ppg as a Cougar that season, besting Fredette’s junior year average. Haws is averaging 22.3 points per game as a senior, giving him an overall career average of 19.5 ppg.

“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,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “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.”

Tyler Haws drives against Portland's Kevin Bailey on Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
Tyler Haws drives against Portland’s Kevin Bailey on Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Haws’ style of play and work ethic emerged from his family roots. He would go to the church gymnasium every morning and practice shooting different shots with help from his dad. Every practice included shooting 100 free throws in a competition between the two. That hard work has translated to his game, where he holds the record for most free throw attempts and the highest free throw percentage in BYU history.

“It’s pretty special,” Haws said. “I’m really glad to be at BYU and to have experienced all that I’ve experienced.”

When asked how he wants to be remembered 10 years from now, his response echoed what his dad told him in the third grade.

“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.”

There’s no questioning Haws’ ability to consistently pump out high-scoring performances. The only unknown is whether it’ll be done in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. That all should become clear as the Cougars finish the regular season at No. 3 Gonzaga before beginning WCC Tournament play next week in Las Vegas.

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