BYU announced on Monday afternoon that Frank Bartley and Isaac Neilson are transferring from the men’s basketball team. As a result, Jake Toolson and Corbin Kaufusi will be receiving the last two of BYU’s 13 scholarships after being walk-ons last season due to their late arrivals on the team last summer.
While both transfers had stretches of solid play, neither figured to play too many minutes next season, although both would’ve likely been in the rotation. Bartley was actually playing the most minutes he had played all season in February and March as a result of Anson Winder’s injury, averaging 15.5 minutes per game over the last 12 games of the season. But with three freshman guards coming in with a lot of talent and potential (Nick Emery, Zac Seljaas, and Jordan Chatman) along with return missionary Cory Calvert and sharpshooter Jake Toolson, Bartley would have had a lot of competition for the 3rd starting guard alongside Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer. Although he had some excellent games early in his freshman season, Bartley simply turned the ball over to often for Dave Rose’s liking and didn’t use his strength and quickness to play under control, often ending up out of the rotation for a decent amount of his two years at BYU.
Neilson’s transfer is a bit more suprising, despite the fact that his minutes decreased as the season went on, leading to a DNP in the NCAA Tournament. He had four double figure scoring games in the first month of the season, highlighted by 15 points on 4/5 from beyond the arc in the win at Weber State, where his performance was crucial in a game where Tyler Haws got injured. But as the season wore on, he fell out of favor and his minutes were taken by Corbin Kaufusi and Ryan Andrus, who became the two primary centers for the Cougars down the stretch. But with Andrus and Luke Worthington headed out on missions, and Nate Austin (assuming he gets his medical redshirt) not fully healthy, it would appear that Neilson would have had a chance to see minutes at the 5 spot behind Corbin Kaufusi. Because of his transfer, BYU now only has two players on the roster taller than 6’8 (Kaufusi and Austin), which could spell trouble if everyone is not healthy.
With all 13 scholarships accounted for, let’s take a look at what BYU’s rotation could look like next year:
C Corbin Kaufusi Nate Austin
PF Kyle Davis Jamal Aytes
Wing Chase Fischer Jake Toolson/Zac Seljaas
SG Nick Emery Cory Calvert
PG Kyle Collinsworth Jordan Chatman
In my opinion, return missionaries Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw seem destined for redshirt years if the above frontcourt stays healthy. My reasoning here is that both will return from their missions in mid to late June (they both left on or around June 19, 2013, based on their individual twitter accounts), and will not have too much time to get back into basketball shape before fall practice starts. There are a lot of unknowns in that rotation such as true freshman Zac Seljaas, UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes who has but 37 minutes of college basketball to his name, and 2014-15 redshirt Jordan Chatman. It is also possible that Nate Austin could get his starting spot back from Corbin Kaufusi if he gets healthy, but this is just a way too early April projection for how things will stack up. The idea of a back to the basket scorer in Kyle Davis is exciting after no post scoring last season for BYU, but the Cougars will need to find consistent scoring options to replace the production of not only Tyler Haws but also Anson Winder and Skyler Halford. It will be interesting to see if Dave Rose goes after any addition players for 2015 if he sees any weaknesses in the roster he currently has.
But if this is the final roster for next season, BYU fans should be excited about the versatility and depth they have at many different positions.