BYU men's basketball head coach Mark Pope speaks with media at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo. (Melissa Collado)

BYU men’s basketball media day introduces new faces and energy

Elite Eight. Final Four. Championships.

The BYU men’s basketball team got the 2021-22 season off to a bang with both new and familiar faces sharing lofty goals for the Cougars at the team’s media day on Thursday.

“We’re knocking on the door,” head coach Mark Pope said. “These guys are knocking hard on the door. You just keep pounding on the door and hope you’re going to break it down.”

The Cougars have overachieved in each of Pope’s first two seasons in Provo, reaching the AP Top 25 both years, and making the NCAA Tournament as a six-seed last spring. But this year they want to take it even further.

“My expectations are nothing short of going to the Final Four,” sophomore Caleb Lohner said.

Caleb Lohner speaks with media on Thursday at the BYU Broadcasting Building. (Melissa Collado)

Those expectations were echoed by veteran point guard Alex Barcello and newcomers Te’Jon Lucas and Seneca Knight, with Knight saying he expects at least an Elite Eight appearance from the Cougars.

Barcello was quick to point out that the team has been counted out in previous years, but always manages to exceed the public expectations.

“We’re a really good team. And people are going to need to respect us,” Barcello said. “It’s been the same story every year: people don’t respect us, and then we prove them wrong.”

Knight, a transfer from San Jose State, brought similar confidence in his comments but said he prefers to prove those who believe in him right, as opposed to those who doubt him wrong.

Te’Jon Lucas speaks with media on Thursday at the BYU Broadcasting Building. (Melissa Collado)

Lucas and Knight were the big-name additions of the offseason for BYU, with Lucas choosing BYU over Kansas after leaving Milwaukee. The latter will likely make up the starting BYU backcourt with Barcello, offering a healthy dose of both shooting and playmaking for the Cougar offense.

Knight did not participate in the practice open to media on Thursday, but received his NCAA waiver and is eligible to practice once he becomes healthy.

The starting group will likely be rounded out by Lohner and returners Gideon George and Richard Harward, at least to begin the season, though sharpshooter Trevin Knell and athletic big man Gavin Baxter could make a run at some of those spots.

Barcello and Lohner were recently named to the All-WCC Preseason Team, and Barcello is a preseason All-American candidate after a stellar and efficient senior season. He elected to return for one more year using the extra eligibility afforded by the NCAA due to COVID-19.

“We just want to win as much as possible,” Lucas said. “Because winning solves everything.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Top Sports Stories

Undefeated season derailed by painful shooting woes for BYU men’s basketball at UVU

Shooting woes ended BYU men's basketball's undefeated season as the Cougars dropped their first game of the season to Utah Valley University 72-65 at the UCCU Center Wednesday.

BYU football escapes USC 35-31 in tense regular-season finale

Saving the year's most dramatic affair for last, No. 13 BYU football overcame a late collapse to snatch a 35-31 road victory from USC and notch double-digit wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

Cougars out-hustle Utes in men’s hoops rivalry game for 75-64 win

Saturday, Nov. 27, a night where most rivals were facing off on the gridiron, BYU men's hoops took to the hardwood against their arch-rival, the Runnin’ Utes of Utah. 

BYU throttles South Carolina to advance to first Final Four in program history

BYU women’s soccer took down the South Carolina Gamecocks 4-1 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in front of a sold-out crowd at South Field Saturday to advance to the Final Four for the first time.
- Advertisement -
Print Friendly, PDF & Email