When you're the point guard, you're also a team leader and you need to be constantly aware that you're helping your teammates as much as you're helping yourself. —BYU guard Matt Carlino
PROVO — A lot of improvement usually takes place from a player's first year and second year, and that's what coaches are hoping happens with BYU guard Matt Carlino.
Through preseason practices and one exhibition game, the Cougars' expected starter at point guard looks well on his way.
Carlino immediately started as a true freshman with mixed results. He showed flashes of great play, but also some inconsistency that he hopes to put behind him this winter.
"I was good at times last year, but I need to be a lot better for this team this year," said Carlino. "When you're the point guard, you're also a team leader and you need to be constantly aware that you're helping your teammates as much as you're helping yourself. I need to do that way more than I did last year."
Like most first-year players, Carlino was simply learning how to play the game and get up to speed with the more experienced players during the 2011-12 season. With that process now behind him, Carlino seems poised to play much better.
"Matt (Carlino) has been one of our most consistent guys in practice," said coach Dave Rose. "He's really pushing the ball well and he's picked up the system and is ready for a breakout year — at least we hope so. He's talented enough and if he stays on this pace with how he's learning, then he should have a big year for us."
Those strides aren't just limited on the offensive end, as Carlino aims to provide better help on defense as well.
"I love playing good defense and last year I didn't get the tough assignments; last year most of those assignments went to Charles Abouo. But hopefully I get some of those assignments this year," said Carlino. "I'm working as hard on being a good defender as I am on anything else, so hopefully I can show people that I can be a shutdown defender and make things happen on that end of the court."
WINDER IN A BOOT: Anson Winder did not play in either the team's exhibition or its opening scrimmage and showed up at Tuesday's practice in a walking boot. The sophomore guard has an ankle injury and will remain in a walking boot for the next week.
"X-rays were negative, which is a good thing," Rose said about Winder's injured ankle. "He'll practice, we hope, in a week and see how it goes. If he can go then we'll move on, and if not we'll put him in a boot for another month. He's nervous and we're nervous, but we'll just see how he responds."
SHUFFLING THE STARTING 5: Rose went with a starting lineup of Brandon Davies, Josh Sharp, Tyler Haws, Craig Cusick and Carlino last Friday against Southeastern Oklahoma State, but mentioned he'll shake that up a bit for the team's next game against Findley.
"There's nine or ten guys with our team right now that are capable of starting," said Rose. "Guys like to start and I like starting the same guys, so we have to find our (starting) group. We probably won't find those five by (the next game), but we'll probably figure it out in the next two weeks or so."