Monday, August 11, 2008

BYU: 2008-2009 Team Preview

2007-2008 Record: 27-8, 14-2 MWC

Key Losses: Trent Plaisted (15.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg), Sam Burgess (8.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Ben Murdock (3.5 apg, 2.5:1 a/to)

Key Returnees: Lee Cummard (15.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.6 apg), Jonathan Tavernari (13.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 3's)

Newcomers: Charles Abouo, Michael Boswell

Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard have had a huge effect on the BYU program, as the Cougars have enjoyed three straight 20 win seasons since the two arrived in Provo. The loss of Plaisted, a first team all-MWC performer, to the league is going to leave a void in the middle, but the Cougars caught a break when Cummard, the reigning MWC co-player of the year, decided to withdraw from the draft.

Cummard had a great season last year, leading the team in scoring, FG and 3 PT percentage, but he also led the team in blocks and was second in rebounds at the guard position. The lanky, 6'7", do-it-all Cummard should have a great season as the focal point of the Cougar offense and will be a trendy all-american pick. Sharpshooter and third-team all-conference Jonathan Tavernari also returns.

BYU's biggest problem will be replacing Plaisted's production in the middle. They also lost big man Chris Collinsworth to his Mormon mission (he won't return until 2010-2011) and Vuk Ivanovic to graduation, and they did not bring in any recruits of note, meaning that the Cougars will have to rely heavily on Chris Miles (junior) and James Anderson (RS freshman), both of whom returned last season after their two-year missions.

Outlook: With Cummard on the roster, BYU will continue to get mentioned as a favorite in the MWC, but their success this season will depend on the production they get out of their big men.

1 comment:

CougarB said...

According to national recruiting sites, I'd agree about the "no recruits of note". Coach Rose does a nice job of making a good team out of "average" recruits.

Another tough thing analyzing BYU is tracking which players may be returning from missionary service. This year, returning players are true freshman Noah Hartsock 6-8 PF/SF, and Soph. Jackson Emery 6-3 SG. Both of these players may have a significant impact on this year's team.

In addition, Jimmer Fredette was a key sixth man last year. Playing both PG and SG, he'll likely be starting this year. Junior Chris Miles, who played behind Plaisted last year while getting back in shape after his mission, will be more of a defensive force at center. BYU also has a couple of players coming off redshirts who will help out as well.

UNLV and other MWC teams may have more star power, but BYU will be tough enough to get the job done this year.