BYU Basketball: Most Surprising and Most Important Players

Kyle Collinsworth

I asked a few members of the @TornBySports BYU crew who the most surprising and most important players are for BYU Basketball. Check out the responses:

Question #1: Who has been the biggest surprise (for better or worse) for BYU?

Cris Balmanno:

Matt Carlino off the bench.  I wasn’t sure how he’d react to being demoted from the starting lineup.  He seems to have embraced his role and is really giving the team a boost.

Ryan Bennion (@RyBen3):

Biggest surprise this year has been how well Collinsworth has handled the point for BYU. I think the other surprise has been Carlino coming off the bench and Halford starting. I think it fits both better. Still not a complete fan of Halford, but Carlino has shown he is smarter in his shot selection as well as his assist/turnover ratio because he is going against other backup point guards/defenses.

Aaron Kartchner (@aa14dk, @SportsBros):

Kyle Collinsworth. His contributions on various levels on the floor were completely out of left field. His consistency at the stripe is appalling however.

Andy Kartchner (@akartchner, @SportsBros):

Kyle Collinsworth, hands down. With all his flaws (read: free throws), he is the glue that holds this team together and the matchup nightmare for all opposing coaches. He is second on the team in scoring and rebounding and leads the team in assists. No one could have expected that he would have been this productive on his first year after his mission.

Justin Burr (@jburr21):

I am going to say Matt Carlino, but not in a good way. Coming into a year where I had high expectations for him, he has been a let down. However, he has taken to coming off the bench well and is very important to the success of this team. I just expected more.

Question #2: Who is the most IMPORTANT player (not MVP) for BYU?

Cris Balmanno:

Eric Mika.  When he stays out of foul trouble and plays his game he can be tough on both ends of the floor.  When he picks up 2 quick fouls and then has to sit for extended periods of time it forces Luke Worthington to play (who is useless offensively), or it can force a smaller lineup which then leaves the middle of the zone defense vulnerable.

Ryan Bennion (@RyBen3):

Eric Mika, then Kyle Collinsworth.

Eric Mika gets a lot of stupid fouls. He’s out of position a lot on defense, which I believe can be changed with some experience. He needs to be healthy and out of foul trouble for BYU to win. His post play opens shots up for Carlino, Halford and Haws. When people respect his game down low, as shown in Iowa State game the most I thought, Haws curl screens or Carlino at the top of the key wide open. Love his post game.

Collinsworth is also very important because he has the size to drive the ball. However, I don’t feel he should be in late game situations where FT’s are going to happen due to his HORRIBLE FT shooting. I say under two minutes you can have him play D, but get the ball out of his hands on offense and give it to Haws who can make better free throws.

Aaron Kartchner (@aa14dk, @SportsBros):

Without a doubt, Matt Carlino.  When he is passing and playing smart ball they have a complete roster.

Andy Kartchner (@akartchner, @SportsBros):

Again, Kyle Collinsworth, hands down. His ability to beat his (normally smaller) defender and rebound consistently from the 3 spot are invaluable to a team that always wants to push the pace. He may not be the athlete or shooter that Haws and Carlino are, but he always seems to be around the ball and making plays. Coach Rose apparently agrees with me, giving KC more minutes per game (33.9) than anybody not named Tyler Haws (who, by the way, averages a whopping 0.1 minute per game more than KC).

Justin Burr (@jburr21):

Eric Mika. When the man is in the game, BYU is a different team. He brings a real threat to the post on offense and defense. The only problem is that he can’t stay out of foul trouble. BYU will miss him while he is on his mission.

Check back for more from the BYU crew.

—Who do you think is the most surprising or most important player for BYU? Comment below…—

About the author

Justin Burr

I am an avid sports fan, especially BYU football and Yankee baseball. I watch basically any and every game I can. Currently living in NYC for school and work mean I get my Cougar fix with ESPN and the KSL 1160 app. Hit me up @jburr21.