“He felt he could just go out and either play some hoops or go put on another 60 pounds and try and play offensive tackle,” Steve Kaufusi said. “He just kind of thought, ‘Hey, I’m where I need to be [at weight-wise] but all I need to do is just get in shape.’ Finally we sat down and talked with him and said, ‘Hey, what do you feel here?’ and he said, ‘Dad would you be mad if I wanted to go play basketball?’ I told him, ‘No, I would support you if that’s what you want to do.’”
The decision to make the change in sports came by of a few pickup games with some prominent former BYU basketball Cougars. Corbin Kaufusi began playing pickup games with Brandon Davies and Jimmer Fredette and was able to hold his own.
“Ever since he came back home he would go play pickup games with Brandon Davies and Jimmy [Fredette] because they’re all here,” Steve Kaufusi said. “They’re all here so he goes and jumps in there with them and holds his own ground, so he comes home and he’s like, ‘Dad I blocked this guy and had a blocked shot.’ The more he played over these past three or four weeks we would talk to Bronson some more [about football] and felt like he should play hoops since he’s grown a little too tall.”
Steve Kaufusi called up Bronco Mendenhall and let him know of his son’s decision to switch sports. It was a little stressful for young Corbin who felt like he might be letting people in the football program down.
“I called Bronco while he was on vacation, and I told him that we’ve got to make some changes on whoever we have to add to the 105 man [roster],” said Coach Kaufusi. “Bronco was very supportive and thought about it for a while, and did his part to make sure and got confirmation and feels good about it. But Bronco came back and met with him and said, ‘How can we help out?’ [Corbin] was like, ‘Oh dad he was great!’ which is what he was worried about. The coaches were great and Garret Tujague was supportive saying, ‘Hey, if that’s what you want to do, go find your passion.’ So, we’ve got everyone’s support in that way and he’s excited because he was worried about letting everyone down.”
Along with the offensive coaching staff, Steve Kaufusi is also supportive of his son’s decision to walk away from a football scholarship to try his hand at the sport of basketball as a walk-on under Dave Rose.
“You know I support him in whatever he wants to do,” said Steve. “Ever since he’s been home he’s been doing football stuff, but at the same time my kids love basketball.
“Basketball is my favorite sport. I love it,” Steve continued. “I played a lot of it growing up, and I wish I was taller because I would played it but I knew I wasn’t going to get any taller. I stuck with football, but [my] kids love it.”
“He has my blessing and I just told him, ‘Hey, football was great for me but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be great for you,’” said Coach Kaufusi. “You need to find what your passion is, and if basketball is it so be it.”