Identifying the new faces on the BYU basketball team


The BYU men’s basketball team is no stranger to turnover.

The Cougars have averaged 6.5 new players each season since Dave Rose was named the head coach back in 2005. In 2013 – 2014, the Cougars welcomed 10 new players.

A few of the numerous reasons for the large turnover rates include players serving LDS missions, injuries and redshirts. These things require the coaching staff to constantly evaluate scholarships.

Things are no different for the Cougars this season as seven new players were added to the active roster.

Jamal Aytes 

Aytes looks to help lead the Cougars offensively. He was a three-star recruit on ESPN. (BYU Photo)
Aytes looks to help lead the Cougars offensively. He was a three-star recruit on ESPN. (BYU Photo)

Jamal Aytes would have become eligible to play last December following his transfer from UNLV, but an ankle injury forced him to redshirt. Aytes is slightly shorter than a traditional post player at 6-feet-6-inches but makes up for with a wide, powerful 230-pound frame.

Jamal didn’t receive much playing time at UNLV, but ESPN ranked him as the 28th best player in California in 2013 as a high school senior. He received scholarship offers from Boston College, the University of Miami and Kansas State out of high school.

Aytes offensive abilities are top notch, according to assistant coach Terry Nashif.

“Jamal is a tremendous low post scorer and a great free throw shooter,” Nashif said. “He runs the floor well, and we can play through him offensively.”

Nashif also put to rest any rumors concerning Ayte’s health, saying that his ankle is “great.”

Jakob Hartsock

Jakob Hartsock is the younger brother of former Cougar Noah Hartsock, who played from 2008 to 2012. Jakob is similar in size to his older brother, standing at 6-feet-8-inches and weighing in at 210 pounds. Despite the similar build, head coach Dave Rose told KSL in April that the two have different skills.

“He’ll be kind of similar to Noah,” Rose said. “He’s more of a perimeter guy than Noah, but he’s good around the basket, and he has good athleticism, good lateral quickness, (and) has really good timing. (He) could be a very good defender.”

Jakob was ranked as the third best player in Oklahoma by ESPN in 2013 and averaged 18.6 points per game as a high school senior. He recently returned from a LDS mission to Detroit.

Braiden Shaw

A 6-foot-8-inch forward from Eagle, Idaho, Braiden Shaw adds even more height to the Cougars’ frontcourt. Rose has praised his athleticism—even comparing him to former Cougar Josh Sharp—but Nashif likes a different aspect of Shaw’s game.

“Braiden is tough,” Nashif said. “He’s tough, rugged, a good rebounder, athletic, and smart.”

Shaw graduated high school in 2013 and served a two-year mission to Sacramento. Shaw’s father, Kelly Shaw, played on BYU’s junior varsity team in the 1980’s.

Braiden Shaw averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game as a senior in high school. ESPN ranked Shaw as the top player in Idaho in 2013.

Chatman projects to be a crucial player in the rotation. In 2012 he was the Gatorade Player of the Year. (BYU Photo)
Chatman projects to be a crucial player in the rotation. He averaged over 20 points per game as a high school senior. (BYU Photo)

Jordan Chatman 

From Vancouver, Washington, Jordan Chatman is the son of Cougar legend Jeff Chatman (No. 8 on BYU’s all-time scoring list). Jordan redshirted last season after returning from his mission in Taiwan. The 6-foot-4-inch guard received offers from Utah, Stanford and Washington State coming out of high school.

Chatman was named the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012. He averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game as a senior for Union High School and led his team to a third place finish in the state high school championship.

“Jordan is athletic and a great defender,” Nashif said. “He can really shoot, and he’s gotten stronger and more athletic.”

Chatman scored nine points in a 75-52 victory over Albacete Basket in Spain on Aug. 20, 2015.

Nick Emery 

Nick Emery is the younger brother of former BYU player Jackson Emery, and was an extremely accomplished high school player. Part of the “Lone Peak Three” with TJ Haws and Erik Mika, Nick won four straight Utah high school championships at Lone Peak High School and was named the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013.

He’s also drawing lofty comparisons. ESPN’s David Auguste wrote in 2012 that Nick Emery looked like then-BYU superstar Jimmer Fredette and San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.

Nick can’t help but notice the similarities to Fredette.

“I try to emulate the way (Fredette) moves and the way he finishes around the basket,” Nick told ESPN. “He also likes to shoot from deep, and I like to shoot from deep. If I feel open once I cross halfcourt, I’m shooting.”

With Kyle Collinsworth running the point this year, many have speculated that Nick would be forced to play off the ball, but Nashif said that may not be the case.

“Nick is a versatile combo guard and skilled competitor,” Nashif said. “We’ll see how the point guard situation plays out, but he and Kyle will both play the point.”

ESPN ranked him as the second best recruit in the state in 2013.

Zac Seljaas 

Zac Seljaas is the lone commit of the Cougars’ 2015 class. Ranked as the third best player in Utah by ESPN, the 6-foot-7-inch, 210-pound wing player should provide some offensive depth for the Cougars.

Nashif described Seljaas as a “terrific shooter with great size.” As a senior at Bountiful High School, Seljaas shot 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.

Zac was named the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year last season.

Kyle Davis 

Davis may be a starting forward for the Cougars. He will wear no. 21 this season. (BYU Photo)
Davis may be a starting forward for the Cougars. He will wear no. 21 this season. (BYU Photo)

Kyle Davis, a 6-foot-7-inch forward from Draper, was ineligible to play last season after transferring from Utah State. He averaged 9.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg and was the team’s leading shot blocker during his last season with the Aggies. Many close to the team believed Davis was one of the most polished post scorers in practice last year.

“Kyle is a tremendous low post scorer and great rebounder,” Nashif said. “He’s also a leader. He’s got great experience, and he can play well on both ends of the floor.”

The Cougars host Arizona Christian University on Oct. 30 and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on Nov. 7 before tipping off the regular season at home against Utah Valley University on Nov. 13.

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