BYU basketball notebook: As ranking climbs, target on Cougars' backs gets bigger
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
On Monday, as the Cougars were preparing for Wednesday's matchup (8 p.m., The Mtn.) at Air Force, they rose one spot in the Associated Press poll to No. 7. They also jumped one place in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll to No. 8.
BYU players and coaches realize how much opposing teams want to spring an upset against them.
"We know we have a target on our backs, just because we're in the top 10 and we've got a lot of hype around us nationally," Fredette said. "They don't like seeing that, I'm sure. I'm sure they want to be in that position. In order to do that, they need to beat us. If they do, they can be in the national spotlight. So we've got to be prepared for that and know they're going to play as hard as they can every single night. We've got to bring our 'A' game."
Also on Monday, Fredette was named one of the final 10 candidates for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, emblematic of the nation's top point guard.
The list was whittled down from 20 candidates to 10 by a Hall-of-Fame, nationally based committee. The original list started with 70 candidates.
Fredette leads the nation in scoring at 27.6 points per game and he also averages 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest. He shoots 47 percent from the floor, 41 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. The All-America candidate, and national player of the year candidate, has been named the Mountain West Conference player of the week seven times this season.
"He's a good point guard. He belongs in there," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "He just has to continue playing well."
The winner of the 2011 Bob Cousy Award will be announced at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on April 4, as part of the NCAA Final Four weekend.
The other nine players on the list are Norris Cole, Cleveland State; Corey Fisher, Villanova; DJ Gay, San Diego State; Brandon Knight, Kentucky; Demetri McCamey, Illinois; Mickey McConnell, St. Mary's; Nolan Smith, Duke; Isaiah Thomas, Washington; and Kemba Walker, Connecticut.
Fredette was also named MWC co-player of the week, along with San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard. It's the 14th time Fredette has been the league's player of the week, extending an MWC record.
The last week or so, Fredette has been battling a head cold, but he said his health is improving. "It's a little better. I can breathe a little better. It's not too bad," Fredette said Monday. "I feel pretty good. I'm ready to go."
"I got whacked across the nose and had a headache the rest of the day," Collinsworth said. He was told that the blow came as a result of an inadvertent elbow from teammate Noah Hartsock.
"I remember a white arm, so obviously it was Noah. That's all I remember," Collinsworth said. "I was a little dizzy walking off (the court)."
Collinsworth did not practice Monday and he must pass concussion protocol today in order to play against Air Force.
Meanwhile, center James Anderson did not practice either, after suffering a shoulder injury against the Rebels.
"James' range of motion is really limited," Rose said." We'll see if (Anderson and Collinsworth) progress any more (Tuesday). Basically, at this time of the year, when you have those types of injuries, you just have to move forward and assume that you won't have them until they come back and actually get all the way in. We'll hope for the best."
CALLED TO SERVE: Collinsworth received his mission call last week. He'll be serving in the Russia Vladivostok Mission and he leaves on May 18.
The mission call letter arrived at Collinsworth's home on Wednesday, while he was in Laramie for the game against Wyoming. He returned home right after the game on the team's charter flight and opened it that night.
Cougars on the air
No. 7 BYU (22-2, 8-1) at Air Force (13-9, 4-5)
Wednesday, 8 p.m.
TV: The Mtn.
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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