BYU basketball: Hartsock's coaching path starting at BYU

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2014 5:15 p.m. MST

BYU assistant coach Noah Hartsock calls out to a player during a game in Provo, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PORTLAND, Ore. — At BYU basketball practices these days, Noah Hartsock is still firing his trademark frozen-rope jumpers.

And those shots still usually settle in the bottom of the net.

Hartsock finished his eligibility a couple of years ago for the Cougars, but after a stint of playing professionally in Europe, he has returned to the program as a graduate assistant.

Part of his responsibilities include playing on the scout team, which prepares BYU’s starters in practice for the upcoming game.

The Cougars, who are riding a five-game winning streak, visit Portland Thursday (8 p.m. MST, Root).

During games, Hartsock sits on the bench, wearing a suit and tie, and he carries a clipboard. While he is doing what he can to help the BYU program, Hartsock is also preparing for his future — as a coach.

“I always wanted to be in coaching,” Hartsock said. “I never thought I’d play professionally. It’s been awesome to do that for a while. I’m OK with not playing anymore. It’s fun going against the guys. Practices are fun. I try to do as much as possible to give them a good look for the next game. I also help our redshirting players get a feel for our offense. It’s been a good time helping out at practice.”

Hartsock, who ranks No. 27 in school history in scoring (1,191 points) and is tied for No. 2 all-time at BYU in blocked shots (177) with Shawn Bradley, played pro basketball in Belgium — he was teammates for a while with another former Cougar, Lee Cummard — before returning to his alma mater last summer.

“I didn’t get the contract that I wanted (in Belgium),” Hartsock explained. “I talked to the (BYU) coaches, and they told me I could come back here and help out. It turned out to be the best for me and my family. I want to do coaching long-term. It’s been really good. A lot of what I do is helping players develop and stuff and also whatever they need, film work, breaking down film, behind-the-scenes work and helping out where I can.”

Hartsock, who's only two years removed from his collegiate playing days, brings a wealth of experience, and a different perspective, to a BYU team that doesn’t have any seniors on the roster.

“Noah’s just a great competitor. He’s one of the best we’ve had here,” said coach Dave Rose. “His experience is great for the younger guys. I think that he really looks forward to his career path now. He played here not knowing what was going to happen and he played professionally. Now, he really wants to get into the coaching profession. We love having him around. He’s a guy who understands our program from top to bottom. I think he can really help the younger guys.”

Guard Tyler Haws, who is the Cougars’ leading scorer, played with Hartsock as a freshman in 2009-10.

“He brings experience and a lot of winning experience,” Haws said of Hartsock. “He’s been around a lot of guys and knows a lot about the game. It’s good to have him around.”

At BYU, Hartsock was one of the winningest players in school history. He was part of the Jimmer Fredette teams that won conference championships and advanced in the NCAA tournament, including the Sweet 16 in 2011.

The year after Fredette moved on to the NBA as a first-round draft pick, Hartsock, then a senior, helped lead the Cougars to the NCAA tournament again. In the first round, BYU trailed by a seemingly insurmountable 25 points in the first half to Iona before staging a furious rally. The Cougars stunned the Gaels, 78-72, to record the largest comeback in NCAA tournament history. In that game, Hartsock scored 23 points, including 17 in the second half.

It stands as one of Hartsock’s most memorable moments at BYU. “It was amazing,” he recalled.

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