Enter the point guard

BYU has already started three different point guards this season, and though that number won't increase this Saturday against Baylor, it's likely only a matter of time until UCLA transfer Matt Carlino takes over. Finally eligible after being at BYU for about a year, he has the opportunity to take his place as the heir apparent to Jimmer Fredette, and it all starts against the nation's No. 6 team.

First, Brock Zylstra started the first two games of the season at point guard. Then, he was moved back to his natural position on the wing and Craig Cusick started at point guard the following two games. Meanwhile, Anson Winder has started at point guard during the past six games.

BYU's uncertainty at point guard this season has largely been a result of redshirt freshman Matt Carlino's ineligibility during the first 10 games due to transferring to BYU midyear last season. Had he been eligible from the get-go, he likely would have been the starter on day one.

Carlino's father Mark played basketball for Arizona State, while his uncle Brock Brunkhorst played for Arizona. As a UCLA transfer and one-time Indiana commit, it's clear that Carlino has a solid basketball pedigree. Now, he finally has the opportunity to get out on the court during an actual game and prove his worth.

"I'm really ready. I've been ready for a while I feel like, and I'm just excited to play now," Carlino said.

Coach Rose said Carlino will not start against Baylor, but he will get minutes. Just how many minutes he gets will depend on how he plays.

"Basically how we've done things for a long time is if you're playing well, you play more, and hopefully we get a lot of guys playing well," said Rose.

Rose noted he has a deep team when discussing how much Carlino will play. But, that depth just took a hit after Stephen Rogers suffered a knee injury on Thursday and had to have surgery, keeping him out for the next two-to-four weeks.

Carlino has shown to be an excellent outside shooter during practices, and perhaps he can fill the shooting void left by Rogers.

In any event, Rose has been encouraged by what he's seen out of Carlino in the nearly one year since he arrived in Provo.

"I like how he practices … We like what he does, we like what he brings, and we'll see how he adjusts, how quickly he adjusts."

Most of Carlino's time at BYU has been spent running the practice team and simulating opponents' offenses, but during the last two or three weeks, the majority of his reps have been spent playing with BYU's starters and running his own team's schemes.

Of course, practice is one thing. Playing in his first Division I game is another, especially when it's against the nation's sixth-ranked team in front of a likely sellout crowd of 22,700.

"It's exciting," said Carlino, who said his biggest challenge on Saturday may be getting comfortable and getting the jitters out. "Not a lot of people get to play against that good a caliber team in their first game, so I'm just really excited."

While fans have awaited the day he would step out onto the Marriott Center court, Carlino said the pressure he feels is from himself, rather than from fans' expectations.

Sitting out for so long could very well have only increased that pressure. He said that sitting out the first 10 games of this season was tougher than sitting out all of last season, as he knew he would never suit up last year. But knowing he was going to get to play this year made the wait that much more difficult.

"It's been tough but it's been good," Carlino said about sitting out. "I mean, our team's been playing really well and we're just going to continue to keep it going."

While adding a player with talent and potential could seemingly only make a team better, integrating a new piece into a finely tuned machine could upset the balance.

"The most important thing is trying to get used to just how you play, how he plays on the floor, how the other guys play with him," said Rose. "It's not the most ideal situation to add a player 10 games in, but we felt like the opportunity to get Matt and to have him here for three and a half years with us was worth this adjustment period that we're going to go through right here."

This Saturday, Carlino will get his true introduction to Division I college basketball. It's been a long time in the making.

"It's going to be different," he said. "I haven't played in a little while, but it's just going to be fun."

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