Sometimes things are better the second time around. For the BYU Cougars and Jamal Aytes, that is exactly the case.
In the summer of 2013, Jamal Aytes was one of the most sought after class of 2013 players in the summer of the same year. Schools like West Virginia, Gonzaga, UNLV and of course BYU were heavily recruiting Aytes for a late-addition to their 2013 class. Eventually it came down to the Bulldogs, Runnin’ Rebels and Cougars for his services, and Aytes picked UNLV, much to the dismay of the BYU fan base who thought it was in a good place to sign him.
Fast-forward to winter and Aytes announced his intent to transfer from UNLV on December 11. Two days later, on December 13, BYU head coach Dave Rose publicly announced they would be adding Aytes to their 2014-2015 roster, with him becoming eligible after the fall semester.
While at UNLV
Aytes struggled at UNLV, mostly due to the limited playing time.
The 6-foot-6 forward played in only four games for the Runnin’ Rebels, posting 9.3 minutes per game. He averaged 2.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in that short span.
Aytes shining moment in a UNLV uniform was a 10 points, two rebound performance against UC Santa Barbara. He played 19 minutes in the game, twice as many minutes Aytes played in any other games in 2013.
Impact at BYU
With Eric Mika serving a mission for two years, the Cougars are lacking talent in the frontcourt. While Nate Austin, Luke Worthington and Josh Sharp are nice role players, neither can score at a consistent rate. The jury is still out on the newcomers, Ryan Andrus and Isaac Nielson.
With Aytes, the Cougars are landing a workhorse player that can score and rebound. While Aytes is undersized for the power forward position at 6-foot-6, he uses his wide frame to gain positioning in the post.
Overall, the WCC is getting more athletic and physical. By adding Aytes, the Cougars can go toe-to-toe with the more physical teams, especially in the post.