Josh Sharp’s career at BYU goes much farther beyond his career 2.2 PPG scoring average. It was the hustle plays, the energy, the athleticism, and the willingness to accept whatever role Coach Rose gave him, that defined Sharp. As a freshman in 2011-12, he found himself the odd man out in a rotation that included BYU’s best starting frontcourt in the Dave Rose era. Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock both had elite years when given more opportunities in the post Jimmer era, and Nate Austin emerged as the primary big man off the bench, whose hustle and outside shooting touch gave him consistent minutes backing up both Hartsock and Davies. Sharp saw some time in November, but was largely out of the rotation for most of his freshman season, seemingly too skinny to play significant minutes.
As a sophomore Sharp took advantage of the graduation of Hartsock, and beat out Nate Austin for the starting power forward spot next to Davies. And for the first few months of the season, he was very efficient, averaging 5.3 PPG and 4.6 RPG in about 21 minutes a game through February 2nd. Unfortunately, as BYU’s defense collapsed in February and some bad conference losses started piling up, Sharp was pulled from the starting lineup in favor of more playing time for Austin and senior guard Craig Cusick. Sharp saw limited time through the WCC Tournament then missed BYU’s run to the NIT semifinals with an Achilles injury, as Austin shined in significant minutes.
As a junior, Sharp was stuck behind Austin and freshman star forward Eric Mika, and often times registered DNP Coach’s Decisions during the early part of the season. From mid-December onward, Sharp saw significant playing time, usually in double figure minutes, but didn’t look to score the way he had as a sophomore. The team didn’t need him to with so many options on the guard line. While he only averaged 1.4 PPG as a junior, his contributions off the bench were key on a team that had very little frontcourt depth.
For the majority of his senior season, Sharp saw a career low in minutes as BYU had so many frontcourt options including Corbin Kaufusi, Isaac Neilson, Luke Worthington, Ryan Andrus. Combine all those big bodies with Dave Rose’s decision to move to a 4 guard lineup, and Sharp saw the bench more than he ever had in his BYU career. Through February 5th, Sharp had played only 77 minutes all season, and most of those were in garbage time. But after the loss at Pepperdine on that date, BYU had fallen to 7-5 in the WCC and an NCAA Tournament at-large bid seemed out of the question. But when Dave Rose inserted Josh Sharp, the Cougars went on an 8 game winning streak en route to finishing 13-5 in conference and making it to the WCC Championship game against Gonzaga. While he still wasn’t used much offensively, his defense really helped the Cougars salvage what looked to be an NIT bound season. Several of his fantastic blocked shots helped the Cougars go on a run in close games. He was not playing huge minutes either, but he did average 16.1 MPG over the last 10 games.
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While 56% of Josh Sharp’s career points came in his sophomore season, he was actually more instrumental to the team’s success in his junior and senior years, when BYU went on late runs to make the NCAA Tournament. Sharp won’t be remembered as much as the other BYU seniors, but he certainly made an impact that cannot be measured by total points scored.