Takeaways from BYU Basketball Practice
BYU basketball tipped off its first practice of the 2020-2021 season on Wednesday. Coach Pope and staff aired the first practice on BYUtv for fans to watch from home. If you missed it, you can watch the full practice here. Here are my takeaways from the first day of practice, in no particular order:
- Jesse Wade may be the best shotmaker on the roster. Wade hit five or six threes in a row spanning 20 minutes of team portion. If healthy, I think Wade can be a difference maker for this team. I was surprised, however, to see him running with the scout team at the end of practice. I expect him to find a role this season.
- Hunter Erickson is a freshman returned missionary who looked very explosive off the dribble. He needs some time to learn the system and grow accustomed to the speed of the college game, but he brings intriguing athleticism to BYU's backcourt.
- In a Mark Pope practice, everything is fast paced and competitive. The coaching staff awards points to players that win drills and every possession is numbered during drills. Every possession matters during a college basketball game and BYU emphasizes that by valuing every possession starting with the first day of practice.
- The coaching staff encourages three-point shooting unlike any coaching staff I've ever seen. As Coach Burgess said, "Everyone has a green light...we don't turn down wide open shots." It's not a coincidence that BYU was one of the best shooting teams from distance last season.
- Trevin Knell took a step forward during the offseason, he will play a much bigger role this season.
- Matt Haarms is as good as advertised. He is really long and he makes an impact on both sides of the floor. Most impressively, Haarms nailed a few three-point shots during practice. If Haarms can consistently stretch the floor from the outside and improve his shooting percentage, BYU will be a very difficult team to stop.
- Caleb Lohner's athleticism stood out during practice. BYU hasn't had many guys with his size and athleticism in recent years.
- Gideon George is such an intriguing player. He is an asset of the defensive end and in rebounding situations. He also shoots well enough to be a "3 & D" player for this season. He has plenty of room to develop his game on offense.
- Alex Barcello and Brandon Averette are you starting guards this season. Both players are a little undersized but very capable on-ball defenders.