Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
#60 Brigham Young Cougars
2003-04: 21-9, 10-4, 2nd
2003-04 postseason: NCAA
Araujo led the Cougars last year to a 10-4 conference mark. They’ll have to
do this year without him and many other key players from a season ago. A
group of newcomers will have to step in immediately if BYU hopes to have
another 20 win campaign. Head coach Steve Cleveland has plenty of talent to
work with, the key will be getting his guys to play together quickly.
Who’s Out: Araujo averaged
18.4 points and 10.1 rebounds in an incredible season that culminated with
an 8th overall draft choice in the NBA draft. The 6-11 center
got a double-double in half of the teams 30 games. Swingman Mark Bigelow
did it all, averaging 13.4 points, 3.8 boards and 2.8 assists. Point guard
Luiz Lemes averaged 4.5 assists per outing and added 8.7 points in a
starting role last year after hardly playing at all as a junior. Guard
Kevin Woodberry was usually the first guy off the bench and scored 5.0
points and dished out 2.1 assists per game. Jake Shoff didn’t see many
minutes as a senior, but appeared in 27 games. Marc Roberts and Mike
Dresser only played in five games each last year at BYU.
Who’s In: There are really
only five players that saw any significant minutes returning from last
year’s team. A group of Junior College transfers are expected to fill in
immediately, while a talented group of big freshmen have the ability to make
a major impact. Local product Chris Miles is one of the three incoming
freshmen that has BYU fans excited. The 6-10 power forward is quick and a
great defender. His shot blocking skills alone will get him some
significant playing time. Miles isn’t the most polished offensive threat
around, but he can get it done under the basket. Trent Plaisted is another
6-10 power forward headed to Provo. Plaisted is a crafty southpaw who can
attack the basket. He can, and will, play on the perimeter and can do
plenty of damage from the outside. David Burgess rounds out the group of
6-10 freshmen. At 260 pounds, David Burgess is a tough low post player. He
is a solid rebounder and will see plenty of playing time as a freshman.
Keena Young highlights the group of transfers. Young, a 6-6 swingman, has
three years of eligibility remaining and is a solid replacement for Mark
Bigelow. Fellow transfers Sam Burgess and Josh Reisman will add some depth
to the backcourt.
Who to Watch: Mike Hall has
finally found a home at BYU after a few years of a college carousel. It all
worked out well though, as the 6-3 guard has a place where he fits in
perfectly. Hall is the returning leading scorer with 12.8 points per game.
He isn’t a great shooter, but is a pure scorer and can rack up the points.
The San Bernardino, California native uses his quickness and strength to
beat and out muscle defenders to the basket. With terrific hops, he has
become a great rebounder and shot blocker. He averaged 3.5 boards per game
last year and could get more if he needed.
Projected Conference Rank:
This is a team that is talented enough to finish on top of the MWC. The
only problem is they are young and the returning group of players is very
small. They’ll need time to pull it together, but finishing 3rd
in the conference after losing three starters and two major options off the
bench isn’t a bad season by any means. The absence of Rafael Araujo alone
is enough to make most programs fold over, but BYU reloaded and reloaded
quickly to make another run at the MWC title.
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