BYU to Honor Three Seniors on Saturday

On Saturday three Cougar seniors will be honored during Senior Day at the Marriott Center. They all came to BYU at different times and under different circumstances, but have all played a part in helping BYU achieve one of the most successful periods in the program's history. It's quite fitting then that Senior Day also happens to be such a huge game against No. 10 UNM for first place in the MWC.

Saturday's game will be an emotional one, as Jonathan Tavernari, Chris Miles and Lamont Morgan will all be honored as part of BYU's Senior Day.

"Well, every Senior Day or Senior Night is kind of a sad occasion," said Coach Rose. "You realize that's their last home game. But these guys have had great careers and they've had a great experience here, they've helped us win a lot of games, and represented the university in the best manner possible. I'm just really proud of them, proud of the leadership they've given this team, proud of the work ethic and the things that they've established here for the next group that's gonna come in next year."

Miles was the first to come to BYU, joining the program in 2004. He served a mission to Portland after a disappointing 9-21 season, and then returned before playing during the past three seasons. Needless to say, the success the team has enjoyed over those past three seasons has been a welcomed change from what Miles experienced as a freshman.

"It's what I hoped for, and truthfully what I expected, but to see it come to pass and happen is an entirely different thing," said Miles. "So I'm really, really proud of how hard the guys have worked every single day."

Tavernari came to BYU in 2006 and has played in each of the past four seasons. Along the way he earned MWC Freshman of the Year honors, and set school records for three-pointers and most wins by a Cougar. He also endured some struggles on the court, eventually relinquishing his role as a senior starter and volunteering to come off the bench for the good of the team.

"It was a great time, kind of changed [me from] a boy into a man," Tavernari said of his BYU experience. "I evolved everything, from my basketball skills to my education, [and] kind of [grew] my testimony and my view of the Church."

Morgan transferred to BYU from Saddleback Community College in 2007 and redshirted before playing the past two seasons. Despite not being a starter, he was selected to be one of the two team captains this season.

Morgan said that "for the most part I've enjoyed every moment, and I love this program, love the team, the coaching staff, and it's just been great."

Unfortunately, Morgan will be unable to play in final home game as a Cougar, as he is still recovering from a knee injury.

"It's just a tough situation, and you just got to take the positive out of it," said Morgan. "I'm sure it won't hit me until some point in the game that everything, here in the Marriot Center especially, is coming to an end."

Right now Morgan's health is a day-to-day and week-to-week issue. It isn't known when he'll be able to get out on the court again, but ideally he will be back for postseason play.

"Hopefully," said Morgan. "That's the plan. It's hard to specifically pick a date, but that's just what we're hoping for. You gotta hope for the best and continue to work hard with rehab and therapy."

Miles and Tavernari, like Morgan, indicated that the fact that this is their last home game hasn't quite hit them yet. Tavernari joked that he wants to prove KSL play-by-play man Greg Wrubell wrong by not crying on Saturday like he predicted he will. Meanwhile, Miles said he might not feel different until after Saturday's game.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to play with my teammates again, and see what we can do together, and just try and enjoy the moments that we have in the games that we have left," said Miles.

As for his college career, Miles said it went by pretty fast despite starting six years ago. Over that time, he's seen the Cougar basketball program evolve a great deal.

"I think that I couldn't have asked for it any better, because some people know what it was like for me to start my career here at BYU. We had a really rough year my first year and we've gradually gotten better and better, and this is the best record that we've had since I've been here. And we've won championships and we're trying to create records of consecutive championships and different types of challenges for groups to come in the future [to] see if they can try and beat."

Miles said that when he first came into the program he could finish a day feeling like he worked harder than some of his teammates. But the current group is so competitive according to him that he can work his hardest and still feel like others outworked him, and vice versa. He also said there is no program he would rather be in and no teammates he would rather have.

Meanwhile, Tavernari expressed a lot of gratitude and appreciation for those that helped him at BYU in any degree.

"I have to thank everybody for great times, and especially Coach Rose for the opportunity he had for me to get an education and play at this level."

BYU's three seniors have played a role in helping BYU achieve a great deal in recent years, including three consecutive conference titles (with potentially a school-record fourth on the way). Since the first of the current seniors entered the program, BYU has won its first outright title since 1988 and its first consecutive outright titles since 1979 and 1980.

They've also helped with putting together a school-record 53-game home winning streak, earning BYU's highest national ranking since 1988, and beating its highest-ranked opponent (No. 6 Louisville) since 1965. This season they've already set a record for wins in the regular season, and have helped BYU crack the national rankings for the fourth consecutive year (a program-first).

Of course, their Cougar careers aren't over yet, and they can still reach another great accomplishment by picking up BYU's first win in the NCAA Tournament since 1993. But, their time is nevertheless winding down.

"I just think that for the most part we had a lot of good times, we've all battled, we've all been through trials and tribulations, but we've all overcame, and it just takes the collective group effort for us to become the team that we are today," Morgan said.

Total Blue Sports Top Stories