Not a Typical Freshman

When thinking of BYU players that might mean the most to their team lately, one is not likely to pick a true freshman over the team's more experienced players – including a number of juniors, seniors and players with various All-MWC honors. Yet, true freshman Tyler Haws has cracked the starting lineup, and has gone on a tear the past several games while playing like a seasoned veteran.

"You know, I didn't know what to expect," Tyler Haws said of his role as a freshman. "I just knew I could help, and I knew that if my opportunity came I was gonna be ready. And so my goal is just to play hard every game and make the best of my opportunities."

Well, his opportunity did come, and he was indeed ready. Haws received his first collegiate start just three games into the season when the Cougars hit the road for the first time to play Hawaii. He's started every game since.

It goes beyond simply starting, however. One can start but not play a lot of minutes. Haws, however, has been on the floor a lot, including playing 37 minutes against Arizona State and 36 minutes against Fresno State.

Haws said "every game I get a little bit more comfortable and I feel like I'm figuring out where to get my shots and where to help this team. And so the past few games opportunities have come and I feel like I've stepped up."

For Haws, stepping up has meant racking up the points lately. In the past three games, he's scored 17, 17 and 16 points. His 17 points against Arizona State (8th game of the season) were tied for a team-high, and he was the Cougars' leading scorer with 16 points against Wagner (10th game of the season).

As a comparison, junior Jackson Emery never led the Cougars in scoring in any game until the fourth game of this season, which was his 65th game as a Cougar and his 42nd start.

Haws credited his teammates with providing opportunities and taking some heat off of him.

"Whenever you're around guys like Jackson, Jimmer and guys that have been around for a while and kind of know the system a little bit, it's definitely very helpful and it makes it easy for me because a lot of times … a lot of attention is on them, and so I get open shots from that."

Hitting open shots didn't come easy right off the bat for Haws, however. In his first seven games, he went 0-for-10 from beyond the arc. For a player that was an excellent scorer in high school, that was an unusual and tough stretch. However, Haws hit a big three at the first-half buzzer against Arizona State. In the past three games, he's shot 5-of-11 from outside, signifying the end of that drought.

"[I was] just trying to get over that hump, and you know, the college game's so much different than high school, and so I just had to get that one under my belt and I'm glad to have that over with."

Of course, scoring isn't the only important aspect of basketball. Haws has also contributed greatly through rebounding, such as when he grabbed 11 boards against the Sun Devils. It's all part of becoming a consistent contributor for the Cougars.

"I just try and get myself ready to go every game mentally and physically," said Haws. "I have a routine, and so I just want to come out and compete the best I can and play as hard as I can on every play, and you know, at the end of the night looking back hopefully I can say I did some good things."

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