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BYU basketball: Tyler Haws off to fast start following mission

By Lynn Debruin

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 12:07 p.m. MST

BYU coach Dave Rose said Haws simply is a winner, having led Lone Peak to state titles as a sophomore and junior and to the finals again as a senior.

"I've watched him play for most of my life," Rose said. "He makes winning plays. His high school coach is a great coach and we've had conversations about his ability to affect the game for good. We felt when he came here that's what he would be able to do."

It helped that Haws was part of one of the best teams in BYU history.

"But he's gotten off to a much better start after his mission and not playing two years than he did coming out of high school," Rose said. "It takes a special guy to be able to do what he's doing."

The likable, low-key Haws takes it all in stride.

When he started the season scoring 20 points or more in the first six games, Haws said he wasn't thinking about 20 as a goal.

After Saturday, he said he hopes he doesn't have to score 40 for BYU to win.

But he acknowledged learning from Fredette when he was putting up big numbers game after game.

"You can't stay satisfied with anything," Haws said. "... We've got to keep getting better and keep improving."

Entering WCC play, Haws is averaging 20.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game and is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range.

"I do have high expectations of myself and feel like I can do some big things," Haws said. "But the fun thing is when your team is doing well and winning games."

Marty Haws, who went on his mission first before returning to play four seasons at BYU in the late 1980s, said there are no guarantees that a player can pick up where he left off — even if some argue that an athlete on a church mission comes back more mature and older.

"I'm not ready to say stepping away from a game for two years helps you at all," the elder Haws said. "But I know he wouldn't trade his mission for anything."

Tyler Haws speaks fondly of the Filipino people and smiles thinking about their love for basketball — even though most came up to his chest.

He said they would tack up hoops without nets on walls and trees, and play barefoot or in flip-flops.

When he walked down the street during the 2011 NBA finals, a few yelled "Hey, Dirk" as if he were Dirk Nowitzki.

"They had no idea who he was," Marty Haws said with a laugh.

The elder Haws also is quick to say any comparisons between Tyler and Fredette "fall flat" because the 2011 national player of the year was "really special."

But dad won't argue the fact that Tyler has surpassed his father in ability.

"I figured out a way to use my speed to become a good basketball player," said Marty Haws, a point guard who played two years professionally in Belgium, where Tyler was born in 1991. "He's bigger, more physical and a better scorer, rebounder and defender."

Don't expect Haws to get a big head over his big games, or get tripped up by publicity.

Teammates say he's humble, unflappable and can take the ribbing about his quirky habit of tying his shoelaces seven or eight times for games.

So far everything seems to be working for Haws, who is seeking to join Danny Ainge as one of a handful of BYU players to total 1,000 points over their first two seasons — something even Fredette didn't accomplish.

Never mind that the mission in the Philippines came in between for Haws.

"I feel like I came back a new person with a different perspective on what's important in life," Haws said. "The Filipino people changed me. It's a Third World country and they don't have a lot. But they're some of the happiest people I've ever met."

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