In our interview last week with Jeff Chatman, the BYU legend told us that the number one reason his son, Jordan, committed to BYU was Dave Rose’s “style of play.” Jordan, who was the 2012 Gatorade player of the year in Washington, is, in his father’s words, a “playmaker,” and he wants to play somewhere where he can use his size and athleticism to its fullest. While Chatman didn’t tell us straight up that Jordan fell in love with Rose’s fast tempo, it seemed obvious that at heart, Jordan wanted to run and have fun.
And run this BYU basketball team does. The Cougars average one shot every eleven seconds of possession. They also rank 8th in the country in points per game, 10th in rebounds per game, and 9th in assists per game.
But Go Fast Go Hard, as it is called on the football side of campus, has started to rear its ugly head with this young team. As good as the above-mentioned stats are, they come with one caveat stat: 97th in the nation in field goal percentage. In other words, the Cougars score a lot of points mainly because they shoot a lot of shots.
As reflected by the stats, at the heart of BYU’s problems this season has been abysmal shot selection. Tyler Haws has struggled to create his own shot, Matt Carlino thinks he’s Jimmer at times, Frank Bartley IV seems determined to get to the hoop even when there is no path available, and Erik Mika touches the ball half as much as he should. The result has been quick jumpers and highly contested shot attempts in the lane, usually less than 15 seconds into the shot clock. These young players simply do not value each possession, and on Saturday it all came tumbling down on them in the Huntsman Center, where the Cougars shot an anemic 32% from the field.
So, while Dave Rose’s loosey-goosey style seems to be impressing the young recruits, it has been only moderately successful on the court. Until the players learn to play fast and smart, BYU can count on losing more games to good teams that can keep up with their pace and blowing out bad teams that cannot. And that record will earn them another trip to the NIT.