BYU men’s basketball head coach Dave Rose addressed members of the media on Sept. 29 as part of the team’s annual media day.
The event, held in Studio C of the BYU Broadcasting Building, was the first opportunity the 2016-2017 Cougars had a chance to speak to the media and address their goals for the upcoming season.
The Cougars have nine players on the roster who have yet to play a minute for BYU. While the lack of Provo experience may be concerning for some, Rose said he loves the talent of his squad.
“I don’t really remember having a team that’s this inexperienced,” Rose said. “But we have the deepest, most talented front line we’ve had since I’ve been here. On paper.”
Rose added similar sentiments about his backcourt, saying he “loves” the talent he sees there.
Much of the excitement about the upcoming season revolves around the arrival of the Lone Peak Three: Nick Emery, TJ Haws and Eric Mika.
Emery, Haws and Mika won the 2012-2013 High School National Championship and all were four-star recruits. Mika played for the Cougars during the 2013-2014 season, while Emery joined last season. Haws, a true freshman, returned from his LDS mission in the offseason. This season marks the first time the trio have played on the same court since winning a national championship.
“That’s part of the excitement and the hype of this group,” Rose said. “There are a few players that we’ve waited to play together for a long time.”
The three are joined by their former head coach Quincy Lewis, who is now an assistant coach for Rose.
With so many new faces on the roster, there has been concern over team chemistry. But the Cougars were quick to dismiss that notion.
“TJ (Haws) and Eric (Mika) and I have worked hard for this and we’ve always wanted to play together in college,” Emery said. “To have it finally here is so surreal. We didn’t skip a beat. We were playing together and to have that chemistry growing up, and to bring that to BYU, it’s going to be fun.”
Haws echoed Emery’s sentiments. He believes the Cougars’ chemistry will translate to winning games.
“I’m really excited to play with these guys,” Haws said. “I feel like there’s a lot of talent. We’re all really close, which I think will relate onto the basketball court as well.”
In addition to 10 underclassmen, the team will be led by its two seniors, LJ Rose and Kyle Davis. Davis started 37 games for the Cougars last season after transferring from Utah State.
LJ Rose is preparing for his first season in Provo after transferring from Houston. He sat out all of last season with lingering ankle injuries, but he said his health is good and he’s ready to contribute to this “talented” BYU team.
Dave Rose outlined his goals for the Cougars this season. After last season ended with a NIT berth, Dave didn’t mince words. He wants more in 2016-2017.
“We want to win the regular season championship. We want to win the conference championship and get to the NCAA tournament and advance as far as we can,” Dave said.
The BYU men’s basketball team begins its regular season on Nov. 14 when Princeton comes to Provo as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.