PROVO — It’s already been a big week for the BYU basketball program.
It started Monday when the Cougars raced past Stanford, 112-103, on national TV. Then, on Wednesday, BYU signed five talented high school players, including Arizona star Payton Dastrup, who committed to Ohio State last Friday — then experienced a change of heart.
Now the Cougars will play two home games in two days, beginning with a matchup against Mount Saint Mary’s Friday (7:30 p.m. MST, BYUtv). It marks the first game of the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic. BYU hosts Colorado Mesa Saturday (7:30 p.m., BYUtv).
Coach Dave Rose is thrilled about the recruits he signed this week, and he was surprised by Dastrup's last-minute decision to become a Cougar rather than a Buckeye.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and that’s the first time that’s happened,” Rose said. “He changed his mind on Saturday night or Sunday. He let me know on Monday. We had a conversation before the Stanford game. I told him I would call him on Tuesday night, and he felt the same way. I was surprised when he called me and told me he was thinking about not going to Ohio State. He told me he felt comfortable with the decision (to attend Ohio State), but it just wasn't what he wanted to do. He has always wanted to come to BYU."
Junior guard Tyler Haws is glad his younger brother, T.J. has signed with BYU, although they won’t play together. T.J. will leave for a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before Tyler’s senior year.
"We're two different players, and kind of have two different paths, I guess," Tyler said. "We’ve known he’s coming for a while. We’re excited to have him here. He’s really pumped to be part of the program.”
Rose is concerned about his team not being overconfident this weekend after the impressive win in Palo Alto, Calif.
“There are so many things for us to work on,” he said. “I told the guys before the game that it was a really important game, but it’s not going to make our season; it’s not going to break our season. Now we’re trying to convince them that it didn’t make our season. A lot of games (left) to play.”
“We definitely enjoyed that (win) for a couple of days,” Tyler Haws said. “We’ve come back from the high and we’re ready for the next challenge.”
Mount Saint Mary’s (0-2) is an experienced team that won 18 games last season, Rose pointed out. Its two losses this season were at the hands of West Virginia and Villanova.
“They have really good guards. The style of play is the issue for us,” Rose added. “They’ll tell you that their style of play is mayhem. It’s what they’re trying to create.”
Haws, who scored 31 points against Stanford, is happy with the way the season is going so far. But he’s playing with a heavy heart.
Haws served a mission in the Philippines and is devastated by the destruction caused by last week’s typhoon.
“It’s terrible. The other night I was watching something and I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I had companions that are from that main area where the typhoon hit, and I still haven’t heard from them. It’s a tough deal. You just hope and pray that they can climb out of it. They’re the best people I know, and they’re the most positive people I know. It’s a tragedy. I think they’ll come out of it.”
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company