Luiz de Toledo Heading to Provo

In a recruiting class that was supposed to be devoid of scholarships for new players, head coach Dave Rose managed to conjure four full ride offers and two walk-on spots for BYU's men's basketball team.

Entering the 2005-2006 season, BYU had eight juniors on basketball scholarship. The team's only senior was a walk-on, and there was only one mission bound freshman. Given those circumstances, it appeared as if there would be only one scholarship available. Then head coach Dave Rose blew his magic practice whistle and things started falling into place.

The first available scholarship (the only one that was originally open) went to Jordan Cameron, a swingman from southern California who will join the program this coming year. Because there were no scholarships available during the early signing period in November, power forward Noah Hartsock from Oklahoma elected to serve a mission before enrolling and playing at BYU.

Then center Dave Burgess transferred to Gonzaga – opening up an unexpected scholarship. That surprise allowed Coach Rose to reopen the Brazilian pipeline. Enter Luiz de Toledo stage right.

The only thing more unforeseen than Burgess' departure was de Toledo's signing. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound power forward from Modesto Christian High School in California seemingly came from nowhere to sign with BYU.

"It's a great school," said de Toledo about why he chose BYU. "They've got Jonathan [Tavernari] and a coach from Brazil. That's going to help a lot. They speak my language and that will help me to understand everything better. The communication will be better when I have questions about the game."

On a side note, Tavernari was yet another unexpected signee. His scholarship did not open up until it was determined that Derek Dawes' shoulder injury would not allow the seven-footer to continue playing.

Tavernari and de Toledo tripped to BYU at the same time in April. They are both excited to come to Provo and play. If they play as advertised, BYU fans should also be excited.

"I can run the court and jump high," said de Toledo about his playing style. "I play good defense. I jump quickly and get up again. I just do whatever to make my team better."

The Sao Paulo native feels that he will be able to play either the small or power forward position at the next level. His athleticism led some to compare his game to Elton Brand. Others see his rebounding and dunking ability as reminiscent of Ben Wallace.

Local fans and students may even get a sneak peak at what de Toledo can do this summer. He will spend two weeks back home in Brazil and then enroll for summer semester classes and begin voluntary practices with the team.

"I'm going to work on my athleticism [this summer]," de Toledo said. "I want to run a little bit faster, jump a little bit higher and get a little bit stronger."

The extra conditioning will come in handy if de Toledo wants to see some playing time for Coach Rose. He likes the up-tempo style that BYU runs and said that Coach Rose is the "perfect coach" and likes the way he "makes the team run."

For the record, de Toledo likes Miami in the NBA Finals. He also said that everyone else is playing for second place behind Brazil in the World Cup.


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