Yoeli Childs set to return to play against Utah

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BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey
Yoeli Childs dunks over two University of Utah defenders in a SportsCenter highlight of the night moment. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

Yoeli Childs is back, and the timing couldn’t be better as the Cougars gear up to take on the University of Utah in their Dec. 4 rivalry matchup.

Childs sat on the sidelines for the first nine games of the 2019-20 season after being suspended for the mishandling of his paperwork when declaring for the NBA draft, and for receiving benefits deemed improper by the NCAA. 

A similar situation took place this fall as Heisman Trophy candidate and Ohio State football defensive end Chase Young was suspended for two games following an akin NCAA violation.

BYU posted a 6-3 record during Childs’ nine-game absence — a stretch that included losses to No. 4 Kansas, San Diego State and an overtime loss to Boise State. 

BYU stayed competitive against No. 4 Kansas for 25 minutes before the Jayhawks pulled away for the final 15 minutes of the game. Kansas took a 29-27 point lead into the half after BYU shot just 29.4% from deep and 38.5% overall in the first frame. Comparing this to the shooting percentage that BYU has posted on the year thus far, the Cougars have averaged nearly 40% from three while shooting 48.3% overall. 

BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope gathers with the team during the BYU vs. San Diego State game at the Marriott Center on Nov. 19. (Hannah Miner)

The Jayhawks toppled BYU’s hopes after going on a 21-4 run over a 10-minute span in the second half, securing their victory. Childs looked on from the sidelines as BYU lost to Boise State and San Diego State leaving fans to wonder what would have been if he hadn’t been suspended. 

Now that the dust has settled and Childs’ return is on the horizon, BYU will finally get to showcase the starting lineup that had some NCAA basketball analysts saying that BYU could make it as far as the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament come March. Glimpses of that could be seen during BYU’s first nine games of the 2019-20 season as BYU prevailed over a UCLA squad that was eliminated in the Sweet 16 in 2017, and a Houston team that was eliminated in the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA tournament. Both teams entered the tournaments as No. 3 seeds in their respective brackets. 

Childs’ performance during the 2018-19 season earned him WCC First Team honors while he also collected USBWA and NABC All-District awards. Analysts around the country continued to respect Childs’ talent when they named him to the Karl Malone and The John R. Wooden Award Top 50 watch lists prior to the 2019-20 season. 

Childs averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game last season while pulling down an average of 9.7 rebounds per game. He was named the WCC Player of the Week twice during the 2018-19 season before declaring for the 2019 NBA draft and ultimately decided to return to BYU for one final season with the Cougars. 

The rivalry matchup again the Utes will be Childs’ first game under BYU basketball’s new head coach Mark Pope and Pope’s first rivalry game against the University of Utah.

BYU will go on the road to take on the Utes Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m at the Huntsman Center. 

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