One week and counting

It seems like last season – and the resulting Jimmermania – barely ended, yet another BYU basketball season is only a week away. Coach Rose will have his work cut out for him as he works to replace some great players, one of which was the nation's player of the year and leading scorer. But, Rose has consistently shown he's up to the task of reloading yearly and getting back to the NCAA Tournament.

The following are some things Coach Rose discussed this week as his team prepares for the start of the season next Friday.

- Overall, the team has been healthy and players haven't had to miss practice much. The main health issues on the team right now are with two return missionary post players. Nate Austin is dealing with shin splints, while Ian Harward has a sore hip.

- Speaking of freshmen, Coach Rose is looking for them to rise up and contribute. "What's really important is that a couple of these freshmen actually step up to help us, because we really need them. I think the returning players are beginning to feel more comfortable playing with each other, but we need a couple of these freshmen to really kind of rise up and find their spot to really help this team."

- As for who will be the starting point guard on opening day, Rose said they're still looking at Brock Zylstra, Nick Martineau and Craig Cusick. "I think it's still a battle, but I think that Brock has played the most minutes. It's interesting because he's played his whole career here as a shooter, mainly in practice, and doesn't get as many shots at the point guard position, so we'll continue to play him on the wing."

- Zylstra looks as though he'll be a big part of the team this year, despite not playing much during his previous years at BYU. Part of that, Rose said, is because he played behind some talented players. But Rose also said that Zylstra has really improved, and that is why he now has a chance to play a much bigger role.

- Regarding new assistant coach Mark Pope, Rose said, "He's a pretty energetic guy, and he has a great relationship with the bigs on our team. I think the credibility that he brings to our staff, as far as his ability to get these guys to believe in him, I think has been a great transition, very quick. He played in the league for seven years, and I think we got quite a few guys that that would like to do that themselves. So I think he knows what it takes and he's extremely energetic, he's very personable, spends a lot of time with the guys one-on-one, and so we're really excited to have him on."

- Regarding Charles Abouo's new role as a captain, Rose said, "One thing about Charles is that he's one of the hardest workers that we've ever had here as far as just playing hard consistently day after day, play after play, and hopefully that will kind of permeate throughout the team. He's one of the hardest practices players that we've ever had, and I think the competitive edge that this group kind of has in practice is a direct result of his leadership."


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