Transfer athletes thriving in BYU basketball program

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Maddi Dayton
Junior forward Kyle Davis transferred from Utah State and is now averaging 13 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cougars in 29.2 minutes a game. (Maddi Dayton)

The BYU men’s basketball team continues to integrate transfer athletes successfully into the program. Five athletes on the roster this season have transferred to BYU, seven transfers played on the 2014–2015 roster and five during the 2013–2014 season.

“The biggest thing is to put your arm around them and make sure that they feel comfortable,” said BYU men’s basketball assistant coach Terry Nashif. “Make sure they understand what we expect and what we want from them and how they can be successful here at BYU on and off the court.”

A handful of players on the men’s basketball 2015–2016 roster transferred to BYU within the past few years. As NCAA rules stipulate, transfers must sit out for a year in order to adjust to the new school. Sophomore Elijah Bryant recently transferred from Elon University and is sitting out this season. He practices with the team but cannot compete in games. Other transfer athletes on this season’s roster include Jamal Aytes and Davin Guinn. Aytes attended one semester at UNLV before enrolling in BYU in January 2014. Guinn played for UC–Riverside as a freshman in 2012–2013 and came to BYU following his LDS mission. He was a member of the practice squad last season but moved to the active roster this season. Guinn saw a little bit of playing time against St. Mary’s and Santa Clara earlier this season.

Starters Chase Fischer and Kyle Davis transferred from Wake Forest and Utah State, respectively. Fischer redshirted the 2013–2014 season while Davis did so from 2014–2015 during their NCAA waiting periods. Fischer averaged 13.2 points per game his junior year and is averaging 18.3 points per game this season. Davis is averaging 13 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in his first season at BYU.

Davis said the transition hasn’t been too difficult because he already knew some of his teammates from competing against them in high school and when the Aggies played the Cougars.

The junior forward played at Southern Utah University before Utah State and came to Provo in pursuit of something besides more playing time.

“I just knew I needed to make a change for myself, for my health, for my career,” Davis said. “So we entered into the transfer process and BYU was just far and away the best choice for me.”

Davis said he loves the fast-paced style of BYU basketball and the freedom Rose gives them as they play. Nashif agreed and said transfer athletes are “pleasantly surprised” at the offensive freedom they receive. He said it’s easier to join a college basketball team as a transferring player than as an incoming freshman.

“You’ve played the college position before, you’ve played at a college basketball program before, you know the grind, you know what’s expected,” Nashif said. “And then just have to adjust to what the demands are.”

Players transferring from BYU to other schools is also part of the college athletic world. This situation is a disappointment for the close-knit team, but the Cougars are understanding and follow the transfer’s success. Nashif said they’ve been following Cory Calvert, who announced his transfer in December but has yet to enroll at another school.

“(We’re) cheering for him,” Nashif said. “Watched him since he was in eighth grade. So you get to develop a relationship with these kids, wish them the best.”

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