Big things expected for younger Collinsworth

Forgive Kyle Collinsworth if, during the course of this season, he mistakenly thinks he's still playing for Provo High. After all, he'll be playing a stone's throw away from his old school, and with two former Bulldog teammates – one of which is his brother. Of course, the crowds will be a little bigger at BYU, so the fact that this is Division I ball shouldn't be lost on him for long.

Yes, playing at BYU will in a way be a sort of continuation of Provo High for true freshman Kyle Collinsworth; the two campuses practically run right into each other. But the most unique aspect of his freshman year will be who he will play alongside with.

Kyle had the unique opportunity to play high school ball with his older brother Chris, who would go on to play in every game his freshman year at BYU before serving a mission in Australia. With Chris having returned and Kyle having graduated from high school, they now have an opportunity to play together on a much bigger stage.

"It's gonna be fun," said Kyle. "It's a lot bigger atmosphere in college, so it will be that much more fun I think to be able to play with him on such a high level."

"It's gonna be experience of a lifetime, really," said Chris. "It's something we've always wanted to do. We played at high school together a little bit, but now we get to play when we're pretty much at the same level in college, so it's gonna be fun."

The two also played on the same high school team as BYU sophomore Brandon Davies, making this year's Cougar squad a Bulldog reunion of sorts.

"Yeah, it's pretty funny ‘cause we were just right across the street, so it's funny that all three of us are here," said Kyle.

Big things are expected of Kyle, as he's the preseason Freshman of the Year in a league that features a wealth of talented players. That preseason honor, however, doesn't seem to have gone to his head.

"Preseason stuff really is just preseason stuff, but all it did was make me want to work harder so at the end of the year that I can get that award. So it was good motivation for me."

Coach Rose even went so far as to say that Kyle reminds him of former versatile Cougar standout Lee Cummard, in that Kyle has the ability to make whatever play is needed of him and is an unselfish teammate.

So both the media and Kyle's coach have big expectations for him, but what type of expectations does his big brother have for him?

"Big. Big expectations," said Chris. "I expect him to do well, to be a big contributor to our team, ‘cause he's got a lot skill, a lot of talent, and I don't expect him to shy away from all of this. He's a competitor."

Even if Chris is two years removed from playing competitive basketball, it would be only natural to assume that he's taken his little brother under his wing and given him some pointers. However, that apparently hasn't been the case.

"No, he's been giving me pointers," Chris said with a laugh, "but there's a few things I help him out with along the way. But he really is a very capable basketball player and capable person, and he doesn't need much of my advice."

In any event, the two brothers are different types of players. Big brother is literally the big brother, measuring in at three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than his younger counterpart and contributing as a forward, whereas Kyle is a guard. Kyle isn't lacking in size, however, as he's 6 feet 6 inches tall. That size would seem to peg him as a wing player, but Coach Rose said he thinks Kyle has a real future at point guard.

That future will likely have to wait, as Rose said there won't be many available minutes at the point this year with Jimmer Fredette running the show. Still, Kyle is in the running to be the backup point guard, and will still see time elsewhere as well.

Kyle wouldn't go so far as to say he prefers one position over another, but it's clear that he's more than fine with having the ball in his hands and facilitating the offense.

"I like it," he said about playing point guard. "I'm a little more used to it ‘cause that's what I did in high school. But with such a great point guard like Jimmer here, I have to play the three [or the] two, so I just gotta get used to that and work hard."

With Kyle planning to follow in his brother's footsteps and leave for a mission after his freshman year, he will indeed have to wait a while if he is to ever take over at point guard. Still, it can't hurt to have the opportunity to learn from Fredette, an All-American.

"I watch him a lot," said Kyle. "He helps me a lot with stuff like that, just his moves and the way he plays. He's like a mentor to me, so it's good, it's good to have a point guard like that here."

While evaluating himself as a player, Kyle said his strengths are getting people the ball, getting to the whole and just making plays. As for things to work on, he said he needs to become a better spot-up shooter and improve at playing without the ball.

It would certainly seem as though Kyle is in the right system to have an impact as a freshman, given what Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari, Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Haws and even his own brother have done before him. And, he'll get the opportunity to do it all on a team that has high expectations and that can accomplish a lot this year.

"We're a good team," said Kyle. "We're gonna be really good if we get everything together, do what we're supposed to on the floor in the way that we want to play. It should be a good year."

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