X Factors: BYU’s Anson Winder


It may come as a bit of a surprise that the headline of this article doesn’t read “X Factors: Kyle Collinsworth,” but why not go a little outside the box here? Entering his final year of NCAA eligibility, Anson Winder is going to be a difference maker for the Brigham Young Cougars in the 2014-15 season.

Sure, Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth are going to be the guys that are regularly filling up the stat sheets and finding their pictures on the front page of the newspaper. There’s no question that this dynamic duo is going to have a monster year. But if BYU wants to solidify its hopes of securing an NCAA Tournament berth and compete against the other top teams in the WCC, Winder is going to have to play a big role for the Cougs.

March 10, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Anson Winder (20) dribbles against the San Francisco Dons during the second half in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Bringing experience and leadership to an already potent backcourt, Winder is BYU’s best ball-on-ball defender. He adds a firm defensive presence to a team that is regularly known for having a horrendous defense. Who can forget last year’s game against the University of Massachusetts in which BYU managed to score a resounding 96 points… and still lose by a considerable margin (105-96 was the final score). This is where Winder fits in: if he can elevate the defensive standards of this Cougars team and guys like Haws and Collinsworth can continue to put up numbers that high, BYU will become a force to be reckoned with.

Anson’s offensive game shouldn’t go unnoticed either. He averaged 6.5 points per game last season, scored in double figures for five consecutive games, and knocked down 16 points and six steals in the Cougars’ win against Loyola Marymount in the WCC Tournament. Most notably, Winder notched an outstanding, team-high 17 points in BYU’s impressive win against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, in which he was 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

Despite these impressive performances, though, he is going to have some competition at the guard line this year. BYU has a plethora of talented guards to distribute minutes to. That being said, thanks to his defensive capabilities and veteran leadership, Winder has a fair shot at cracking a spot in the starting rotation.

But regardless of his status as a starter or a bench player, Anson Winder is going to be a key contributor to this Cougars squad. Expect to see him have a stellar year for BYU on the defensive end, contribute solid numbers on a more consistent basis, and play a significant amount of minutes for a Cougars team that is bound to make a statement in the WCC.