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For BYU's Haws, scoring ability, mid-range game started at church gym with his dad

Published: Monday, March 3 2014 6:30 p.m. MST

Junior guard Tyler Haws has been a key factor for the Cougars this season after averaging 21.7 points his previous season.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

PROVO — Marty Haws fondly remembers those early mornings.

The door to his bedroom would swing open, and from the comfort of his bed he’d hear his young son, Tyler, whispering through the darkness.

“Dad.”

It was Marty’s wake-up call, and it happened like clockwork. Some days, Marty would think to himself in semi-amazement, “Man, here he is again.”

Together they would head to their local church gym in Alpine for a pre-dawn basketball workout. Tyler was in elementary school when these daily father-and-son outings began, and they happened because Tyler wanted to hone his hoops skills.

Marty, who starred for BYU from 1985-1990, was both happy and willing to help, whether that was to rebound for his son or teach him a new move.

“My deal with Tyler was, ‘I’ll go with you every day, but I won’t wake you up,’ ” he recalled. “I told him, ‘I have to go to work at 8, so we need to go at 6.’ It was very rare that he ever missed a day. I never had to coax him.”

Tyler would hoist up hundreds of shots — up to 800 some days — and Marty would keep track of them on a chalkboard as a tangible way to monitor his progress.

“I knew if I wasn’t working, somebody else was,” Tyler said of those workout sessions. “I wanted to go into my season knowing I did everything I could to be a better player.”

Monday, Tyler Haws, BYU’s junior guard and team captain, was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Haws will lead the Cougars into the WCC tournament Saturday in Las Vegas with hopes of earning an NCAA tournament berth.

Averaging 23.5 points per game this season — good for No. 3 in the nation — Haws has led the WCC in scoring for two straight years. If he continues at his current pace, Haws is poised to dethrone consensus All-America Jimmer Fredette as BYU’s all-time leading scorer sometime next season.

But Haws didn’t become a relentless scorer without having a relentless work ethic.

“We’ve never counted on Ty doing what he’s done,” said Tyler’s mom, Tiffanie. “It’s a tribute to how hard he’s worked. He’s been determined. I think it came with him. It’s a gift. He’s willing to do hard things.”

After his BYU career, Marty played professionally in Belgium, where Tyler was born. Yet Tyler’s collegiate success wasn’t part of some grand design. At first, the Haws' hope was that he would be able to play high school basketball.

Tyler was cut from a team in the third grade, which fueled his desire to improve. Then came what Marty calls “a perfect storm of things that helped Tyler reach his potential” — growing to 6-foot-5 (Marty is 6-2), and playing for one of the best high school coaches, Quincy Lewis, who leads one of the best programs in the state at Lone Peak.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s continued in college,” Marty said. “He’s had great teammates that do so much to get him the ball. You combine that with his work ethic — that’s what will make him successful in anything he does.”

Over the years, Tyler has developed a repertoire of shots and a mid-range game that is a rarity in a world that glorifies long 3-pointers and rim-rattling dunks.

In fact, the countless hours spent in that particular church gym as a kid played a major role in shaping his game.

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