I remember thinking that to play in front of fans like this, and so many of them, is something I wanted to do, so I'm definitely excited for the Tipoff. —Junior college transfer Augustin Ambrosino
PROVO — The Marriott Center is considered by many to be one of the best basketball venues in he country to play in. Certainly most recruits who end up signing with the program cite the Marriott Center game atmosphere as a plus for BYU.
Junior college transfer Augustin Ambrosino definitely enjoyed the Marriott Center atmosphere while being recruited. He was able to attend both the St. Mary's and Gonzaga games last season and is anxious to finally get his chance to play in front of the Marriott Center crowd.
He'll get his first chance tomorrow night with the Cougar Tipoff, and although it's purely an exhibition, the game is something the players are looking forward to.
"Whenever I got to go to games here I just loved the fans and how they got into the game," said Ambrosino. "I remember thinking that to play in front of fans like this, and so many of them, is something I wanted to do, so I'm definitely excited for the Tipoff."
Rose will split the team as evenly as possible for the Tipoff and it will consist of two 20-minute halves. While it's only an exhibition, Rose is anxious to see how some of the new guys perform under the bright lights and in front of fans.
"I think everybody has a different approach to them when you turn the lights on and when people are in the crowd," said Rose. "Those situations sometimes it's really positive (for players) and sometimes they need some work."
The Tipoff will open its doors at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. scrimmage with autograph opportunities following afterward.
FILL-INS AT THE FOUR: The one position on the team that is completely open for fill-ins is the starting power forward position — or the "four position" — that was vacated by graduated star Noah Hartsock. Rose mentioned he's looking primarily at Ambrosino, Josh Sharp, Nate Austin and even Brock Zylstra to help fill-in at the spot.
"I think you'll see a lot of guys playing in that spot early," said Rose. "Brock (Zylstra) is an option there for a short period of time, but it would be difficult for his size to play that position."
PLAYERS ON THE RISE: A lot of improvement usually takes place from a player's first year to their second. Coach Rose believes he's seeing great improvement with second-year players, particularly Sharp and Matt Carlino. Both players, especially Carlino, have impressed Rose so far.
"Matt has been one of our most consistent guys in practice," said Rose about his second-year point guard. "He's really pushing the ball well and I think that he's picked up the system and he's ready for a break-out year."