It’s the circle of life. And it moves us all.
When Matt Carlino decided to leave the Wasatch Mountains in favor of Lake Michigan, he left the BYU basketball team in the same way he joined it – with a big question mark at the point guard position.
Memory lane reminds us that Carlino’s first game for the Cougars after his transfer-mandated sitting time was on December 17, 2011. That year, after an off-season trip to Greece, Coach Dave Rose settled on Brock Zylstra to hold down the fort until Carlino could take over. Anson Winder, a redshirt freshman at the time, even got some run as the point guard during that stretch.
Different circumstances surround this year’s Cougars; however, the injury status of Kyle Collinsworth and the lack of a proven point guard contribute to a definite up-in-the air situation. If KC can’t go when BYU opens the season, who will be bringing the ball up the court for the Cougars?
If I had a way-too-early-could-be-wrong guess, it would be Jordan Chatman.
Never before have returned LDS missionaries had so much pressure to perform. Recently, Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws have experienced skyrocketing levels of success immediately after their service. Whether it be fair or unfair, the expectations of Chatman are as heightened as they ever have been for any returning player.
When perusing the roster, it makes logical sense to place the point guard mantle on Chatman’s shoulders. The BYU guard line will consist of Skyler Halford, Anson Winder, Chase Fischer, Tyler Haws, and Frank Bartley. Tyler Haws is automatically disqualified from point guard duty because of his superior movement off the ball. Skyler Halford is disqualified because he made too many people nervous when handling the ball last season. Chase Fischer is a possibility, but most likely better suited as a 3-point specialist. Frank Bartley is most effective as an athletic, slashing two guard. That leaves Winder and Chatman to chew up any point guard minutes in Collinsworth’s stead.
To me, the question is “Who can be more than a stop-gap option?” I ask that question because that is what the Cougars faced in 2011 before Carlino got to take the floor. Zylstra took a shot and so did Winder. Winder was surprisingly efficient for a redshirt freshman, but neither Zylstra nor Winder were a definitive presence at the point guard position.
Part of the excitement that Chatman brings to the table is his blend of athleticism and size, similar to that of Kyle Collinsworth. He also brings a smooth jump shot and some pretty solid court vision. To consult the video evidence, the sweet pass at the beginning of this clip shows his ability to get into the innards of a defense, as well as the ability to recognize the open man and dish the ball when the defense converges. In the recent season, too often did BYU guards commit to driving and forcing contested shots instead of finding an open man.
It just makes the most sense to give the true freshman the keys. Winder and Bartley have shown tremendous ability in getting the ball on the wing and taking it to the rack. Fischer and Halford will be hanging out on the perimeter to shoot 3’s. And remember, somebody’s got to get the ball to Tyler Haws after he runs through his requisite five screens each possession. Chatman’s length and vision is a definite difference maker in that scenario.
Until Big Russia can play big minutes, the need for Jordan Chatman to play well is a big need. I’m looking forward to what he can do.