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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 27th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


BYU Cougars


Overall Rank: #44

Conference Rank: #2 MWC


2005-06: 20-9, 12-4, 2nd (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT


Last season first year coach Dave Rose led BYU to a surprising 20-win campaign and a trip to the NIT.  With most of the impact players returning, the Cougars are looking to take the next step and return to the NCAAs for the first time since 2004.


Who’s Out: Brock Reichner averaged 10.4 points per game during his senior campaign.  The guard was the main long range threat on the team and his consistent shooting will be missed, yet there are others ready to take over.  Jackson Emery, who started six games last year, is also leaving the backcourt and heading out on a two-year mission.  The frontcourt loses Derek Dawes to injury and seldom used forward Jermaine Odjegba to BYU-Hawaii.  Dawes saw limited action in 19 contests, averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.


Who’s In: Up front Vuk Ivanovic and Luiz de Toledo will see minutes off the bench.  Ivanovic, a 6-10 transfer from Seton Hill (not Hall) is a crafty big man who isn’t afraid of a little contact.  The Brazilian to Provo pipeline continues with de Toledo.  An amazingly athletic player, the coaching staff may have trouble keeping the 6-7 power forward on the bench for too long.   Sam Burgess, Jonathan Tavernari and Jordan Cameron will battle for minutes on the wings.  Burgess is the experienced option who played as a sophomore two years ago before redshirting during the 2005-2006 campaign.  He can be lethal from long range, but may lose some of his minutes thanks to Tavernari and Cameron.  They don’t have the experience, but both are good athletes who are no strangers to putting up big numbers in the scoring column.  Ben Murdock will see some minutes as the backup point guard.  The transfer from Dixie State College is a solid ballhandler who can create for his teammates with his quickness. 


Who to Watch: Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year, led the Cougars with 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.  At 6-11 and 245 pounds, Plaisted is surprisingly athletic and can run the floor and step out and hit the mid-range jumper.  On the defensive end, the San Antonio, Texas product is a shot blocking threat and can use his athleticism to shut down the opposition.  Keena Young and Fernando Malaman split the starting job next to Plaisted last season.  Young, at 6-6, is more of a slashing wing than a power forward, but he proved to be the more effective option on the offensive end and in the rebounding department.  Malaman has more size at 6-9 and 215 pounds and still put up decent numbers averaging 7.0 points and 3.2 boards on the season. 


Final Projection: Point guard Rashaun Broadus will once again be the play-caller on the court.  Broadus averaged 9.0 points and 3.7 assists during his first season in Provo after a stint at Western Nebraska Community College.  With a year in the system, Broadus should be more effective and keep his 2.7 turnovers per game down a little bit more.  The experienced Jimmy Balderson and the dynamic Lee Cummard are a tall and lethal pair on the wings.  Along with Broadus, Balderson will be asked to do much of the long range shooting.  With a little consistency in that department, the 6-6 guard will improve on his 10.2 points per game.  Cummard started in 14 games as a freshman and showed his skills in all facets of the game.  His best attribute may simply be his intensity.  If there’s a ball on the floor, there’s a good chance Cummard won’t be far behind.  With the bevy of newcomers and returning players like Austin Ainge and Mike Rose, depth won’t be an issue.  The Mountain West is tough this year and even if there are two NCAA bids to go around, BYU will have to fight hard to get one of them.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Rashaun Broadus, Senior, Guard, 9.0 points per game

Jimmy Balderson, Senior, Guard, 10.2 points per game

Lee Cummard, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 points per game

Keena Young, Senior, Forward, 10.3 points per game

Trent Plaisted, Sophomore, Forward, 13.6 points per game

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