Meet the future

When it comes to size, Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery are on the relatively small side of the spectrum when compared to many basketball players. But, when they leave after this year, they will leave some Shawn Bradley-sized shoes to fill. Arguably one of the nation's best guard tandems and BYU's best ever, their replacements are currently at BYU taking notes and preparing to take over.

Replacing Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery next season would have been more manageable next season with Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth on the roster, but missions have a way of making things more complicated at BYU. Haws is already serving in the Philippines, while Collinsworth will be serving in Russia after this season.

Add to that the loss of Michael Loyd, who would have been a senior next season but parted ways with BYU after breaking out late last season, and the Cougars are in dire need of some new players to take the reins.

Enter guards Matt Carlino and Anson Winder, who are both redshirting and preparing for when they take over BYU's backcourt. Fredette said that "those guys are gonna be the future and we know that."

"I think they're doing well," Rose said. "They give us a great look every day in practice on the scout team. I think that they're both different players, but they really can help us in a lot of ways. "

Ask either of those two freshmen, and they say they are happy to be in the Cougar program.


Anson Winder

"I love it here so far," said Winder, a Las Vegas native. "The people are great. It's a nice, cool, calm town. It's a lot different from Vegas, but I'm loving it."

"I love it here at BYU," Carlino said, echoing Winder's sentiments. "I've got some good friends here already and it's been good. I get along with the team really well and the coaching staff also, so it's been really good."

Road to BYU

Carlino and Winder are unlike their senior counterparts on the team in that they are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, BYU may not have always seemed like the natural destination for either player.

"It's a little different, but the morals I think are the same, and it's the same morals I grew up with, the same my mom and dad taught me, so I just keep those in mind and I just live from that," said Winder. "I mean, there's nothing different."

There is of course a healthy LDS population in Las Vegas, so it wasn't as if Winder had never been exposed to the Church.

"I had a lot of LDS friends actually, so coming here, it wasn't like I was dealing with a different group of people. It was like people I'm already used to being around."

Carlino took a more unusual path to get to Provo. After originally committing to Indiana while in high school, he switched his commitment to another hoops power in UCLA. But his time with the Bruins was short, as he left the school this past December before choosing to transfer to BYU, a school that hadn't recruited him the first time around.

He declined to mention any specifics as to why he left UCLA when he did.

"I just don't think it was a good fit for me," Carlino said.

Like Winder, Carlino said he already lives similar values to those practiced by members of the LDS faith.

"Some people think of it as kind of weird, I guess," he said about the LDS lifestyle, "but it's good for me I feel like."

Out on the Court

So, it looks so far like Carlino and Winder are good fits for BYU off the court. Of course, fans are really waiting to see what they're like on the court.

"Anson is more of a player that gets out on the wing and likes to play in transition," said Rose. "Matt likes the ball in his hands. They're both good shooters, but they're both really aggressive offensive players, and that's what I really like."

Of course, what better authority on guards is there than the best one in the nation?

"Matt is a long and athletic point guard," said Fredette. "He can shoot the ball, dribble a little bit, has good vision. He's gonna be a good player, I think. [He's] left-handed, which is a little different. He brings a good dynamic to the team. He can shoot the ball very well.

"Anson, he's athletic, good defender, gets in passing lanes. He's continued to work and improve offensively, being able to shoot the ball and get to the basket. Just an energy guy, plays good defense, and he'll be a great, great addition to the team."

Winder said his strengths are toughness, shooting, and being able to get to the basket.

"I'm not afraid of the contact, and I like just playing hard, giving the team everything I've got."

Carlino, meanwhile, said that passing and shooting are his personal strengths. During practices he's shown to be an excellent shooter.

"I just think I'm a team guy. I can just do what the coach needs me to do whenever, and just want to win at all costs, so that's what I bring to the table."

Watching from the Bench

It's an unfortunate time for these two to be redshirting, as BYU is currently ranked in the top 10 and is having an exciting season and receiving a lot of national attention. Still, they're making the most of their redshirt seasons.

"They've always got an assignment each week of what they can bring to practice, and I think it really helps their game," said Rose. "I think if a redshirt looks at it and approaches it the right way, that redshirt year can really help expand a player's game because they get so much time in practice and they've got a lot of freedom and I think they can really develop their game, and I think these two guys are doing a good job of it."

"It's been good for me, I think," said Winder. "Overall I'm getting better and I'm watching a lot, so I'm learning while I'm getting better. So I think overall it's been great for me."

Of course, there's hardly anyone better to learn from than Fredette and Emery.

"Patience," Winder said when asked what he's learned from those two. "They don't rush anything really. They never take bad shots, and I just feel like the patience is what helps them be so good."

Indeed, Winder seems to be practicing a lot of patience himself as he sits this year out. He said that "whatever it takes to for my team to win, I'm with it. So if it's just practicing with them helping them get better, then I'm with that."

Likewise, Carlino is choosing to look at the positives that come from redshirting instead of sulking about being on the bench.

"I think it will be good for me to watch a team as good as this one play, and get to practice with them. It can't do much but good for you. It definitely can't hurt you."

Transferring to BYU when he did has given Carlino more time to learn BYU's system than he would have had if he waited until the offseason to transfer. He noted that it benefits him to practice with this particular team, which he said is one of the best in the country.

Of course, being here now also means that he gets asked all the time about replacing Fredette. Carlino is his own player, but fans right now want him to develop into the next Fredette.

"It's kind of hard in the sense that Jimmer's the best player in the country," said Carlino, "and so it's not just replacing one or two guys, it's replacing pretty much an icon for BYU … But I'm glad that that's what I'm gonna be doing because that's the position I've been put in."

Unfortunately for BYU, Carlino won't be able to put his talents on display at the start of next season. Because of when he transferred to BYU, Carlino will be ineligible to play next year until the end of fall semester.

"It'll be the beginning of the season, so it will be tough because everyone else is excited to get going and I'll still have to be on the bench, but it will just make me hungrier for when I get in."

Getting Their Shot

As the Cougars make the transition next season into the West Coast Conference, they will do it with a new-look backcourt. One can only wonder who things Winder and Carlino will go on to achieve throughout their careers, but of course they aren't guaranteed any starting spots. Instead, they'll have to earn those spots.

"I think if I just keep working hard and getting better, definitely I'll have the chance to start next year," said Winder.

Things will be a bit trickier for Carlino, who will likely have to earn the starting spot once he becomes eligible before conference play starts next year. Nick Martineau will be one of the players asked to help carry the load until that time, and Winder could also be a candidate to see some time running the point. Incoming recruit DeMarcus Harrison has even talked about the possibility of playing the point at BYU some. It remains to be seen whether Carlino will have to play a while before getting his first opportunity to start.

Such is the price of leaving UCLA when he did. Instead of being a Hoosier or a Bruin like he had originally planned, Carlino is now a Cougar, and when asked about it, he can only admit that he couldn't have anticipated things happening the way they have.

"No, definitely not, but I'm glad with how it worked out."


Total Blue Sports Top Stories