Carlino striving for more

At times last season as a redshirt freshman, point guard Matt Carlino looked like he could be the second coming of Jimmer Fredette. But at other times, he looked like, well, a freshman. Coach Rose has praised his consistency since practices started last month, and said he thinks he's ready for a breakout season. Carlino, meanwhile, expects to be better in large part because of his teammates.

Matt Carlino was third on the team last season with 12.2 points per game, which is more than Jimmer Fredette's freshman average of seven points per game. Carlino scored a season-high 30 points at San Francisco on 13-of-19 shooting, including the game-winner with 18.9 seconds left. Seven different times he made at least three three-pointers in a game.

But as the season wore on, his shooting numbers generally went down while his turnovers went up. Coach Rose said that after the season ended, Carlino told him that he felt he was good at times but needed to be good all the time.

"I think what I meant by that is I just want to be a great player, and that's been my goal my whole life – just be a great player, and obviously I made freshman mistakes last year," Carlino said. "But I'm looking to improve a lot from last year to this year and keep getting better so I can just achieve my dreams."

Rose has said that Carlino's role on the team last year was different that what is normal for a BYU point guard, as he had to take on more of a scoring and outside shooting role because of the inconsistency at the wing positions.

Carlino admitted that he felt pressure last season to score more to compensate for the team's poor shooting.

"I was one of our bigger threats last year scoring the ball from the perimeter, so obviously I had to do that," he said. "I mean, that was one of my jobs as a part of the team is to score the ball … but I think this year we have a lot more help out on the perimeter scoring the ball, so I think that will take a lot of pressure off of me."

That increased help this season comes not just in the form of the team's new players, but also with the returning players – guys like Brock Zylstra, Craig Cusick and Anson Winder, whom Carlino said have all improved their shooting.

"I think our whole team improved this offseason, so I think everyone will be able to contribute more from last year to this year," Carlino said.

The key addition to this year's team is Tyler Haws. Carlino didn't transfer from UCLA to BYU until the season after Haws' tremendous freshman year. Haws was serving a mission in the Philippines during Carlino's first few years at BYU, although Carlino did hear people talk about the former Lone Peak sharpshooter.

"Yeah, I heard about him, but it doesn't matter what you hear," Carlino said. "You know, you hear a lot of great things about people, but once I met him, I've played with him, he's just unreal."

Having a teammate like Haws to dish out to would be a boost for any point guard, as Carlino is finding out.

"I love him," Carlino said. "I mean, it's so easy to play with a guy who can just knock down shots, a lot like Noah [Hartsock] last year on the inside, but this year it's from the perimeter. But he's just a great scorer, great teammate, great player to play with."

Carlino also has added help this year in the form of junior college transfers Raul Delgado and Agustin Ambrosino. He said they are both good shooters, but said they just have to adjust to Division I basketball, much like he had to last year as a freshman.

"It's just a transition playing at this level," said Carlino. "You're gonna make mistakes your first year playing Division I basketball, and hopefully they can just pick it up and limit their mistakes as much as possible, ‘cause they're both really good players. It's just learning how to play at this level."

Last year Carlino had to sit out the first 10 games of the season because of transfer rules, as he had transferred to BYU during the previous season. With the Cougars needing to replace Fredette, the team started three different players at point guard until Carlino took over the starting spot in just his second game of eligibility.

According to Coach Rose, the team had to adjust to a different style of play once Carlino entered the lineup.

When asked whether he got the sense that the team had to do much adjustment with the different lineups and playing styles, Carlino responded, "Maybe a little, not too much. I mean, it is different, it is different when you put someone in the lineup 11 games into the season that hasn't even played one minute. It's not like I even played a minute with them. I hadn't played any time with them. After the first game [I played], I was starting the next game, so it was definitely different."

As the Cougars get set to begin their second season in the West Coast Conference, Carlino is happy – needless to say – that he will be eligible to play right away on opening night, which is next Friday, November 9. It's a much different circumstance than last year.

"It's way different," Carlino said. "It's way better to be able to play with the first team to start off the year. I think our whole team is just creating a better chemistry, and I think we feel better this time this year than we did this time last year. And we're getting to play in the same league, so we want to get revenge on a lot of the teams that we played from last year."


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