The BYU men’s basketball team held its first official practice of the 2016-17 season in the Marriott Center and Marriott Center Annex on October 4.
The team was focused on installing a new offense—utilizing the strength of the post position. The team has primarily been a guard-heavy team offensively for the last few seasons, at times playing four guards and one post player.
“Last year we were mostly guard-oriented, with one post,” sophomore Nick Emery said. “But this year we’ve got two post guys who can really score the ball.”
But even though head coach Dave Rose is utilizing bigger players, Cougar fans can expect the same fast-paced offense they’re accustomed to seeing.
“It will still be our same high-paced, fast offense,” senior Kyle Davis said. “It will just have different ways of getting to our shots.”
It didn’t take long for the bigs to provide the first highlight.
During a scrimmage in the first practice, Emery found freshman forward Yoeli Childs for an alley-oop. The dunk was an electrifying play, but it was just one of many plays made by the Cougars’ post players.
The talent and strength in the post should create some good matchups for WCC play this year. Gonzaga added depth to its interior with Przemek Karnowski returning for his final season of eligibility and McDonald’s All-American center Zach Collins.
The members of the first team in practice were Nick Emery, TJ Haws, Davin Guinn, and Yoeli Childs, with Davis and Eric Mika splitting time at center.
According to Rose, projected starter Elijah Bryant is recovering from a knee procedure, but is expected to begin practicing with the team in a couple weeks. Senior transfer LJ Rose was also sidelined with an injury during the first practice. However, coach Rose believes he is very close to participating 100 percent.
The team moved practice on Oct. 4 into the Marriott Center Annex for the first time. Rex Maughan, one of the major donors for the annex, was invited. He was given the ball to shoot the first basket in annex history, but instead passed the ball to Mika, who dunked and broke in the nets.
The BYU men’s basketball schedule begins with Princeton on Nov. 14 as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.