PROVO — Usually on the day after the final game of the season, BYU coach Dave Rose experiences feelings of anxiousness and uneasiness when it comes to recruiting.
Not so much this time.
The Cougars ended their 23-12 season with a tough setback to Oregon in the NCAA tournament, but Rose already had reinforcements in place for next season.
“Sometimes you wake up that next day and say, ‘Whoa. We have so much work to do just to find the guys (for next year’s team),’” Rose said. “We have the right guys. Now the work will be with those guys. That’s a really good feeling. After the disappointment of the loss to Oregon, I really felt like that if we had to play a game that next day, with our current roster, adding Kyle (Collinsworth) back from his injury, and these new guys, that our program is in a real positive direction.”
BYU will add a handful of newcomers that are expected to make an immediate impact.
While Rose made those comments one day before guard Matt Carlino decided to transfer after graduation in June, there’s no doubt that BYU's coach likes what two transfers (Jamal Aytes and Chase Fischer), two LDS returned missionaries (Isaac Nielsen and Jordan Chatman), and one incoming high school player (Ryan Andrus) bring to his program.
Aytes, a transfer from UNLV, joined the team last January, so he won’t be eligible to play until next December due to NCAA transfer rules.
“Jamal is a physical, skilled low-post scorer,” Rose said. “He can score in the mid-post and in the high-post. But where he really wants to be is down on the block with the ball, being able to use his size and strength.”
A 6-6 sophomore forward, Aytes played in four games for UNLV before transferring. He prepped at JSerra Catholic High in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., where he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. ESPN.com ranked Aytes No. 66 nationally among power forwards in the 2013 class.
BYU is hoping Fischer, a junior-to-be, can provide consistency when it comes to 3-point shooting. A Wake Forest transfer, he led the state of West Virginia in scoring as a high school junior and senior, averaging 32 and 37 points, respectively. He finished with 2,210 points, 10th all time in West Virginia prep history.
Fischer knocked down 142 3s as a senior and finished second in the inaugural High School 3-Point Championship held during the 2011 NCAA Final Four in Houston.
“Chase will add an offensive punch from the perimeter,” Rose said. “I think he’s confident, crafty and skilled from the 3-point line. He’s improved his ability to score off the dribble.”
Fischer played sparingly at Wake Forest, though he was named a team captain prior to his sophomore season. He saw action in 62 games, and started six, during his two years with the Demon Deacons. He averaged 5.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Fischer sat out in 2013-14 as per NCAA transfer rules, but practiced with the Cougars the entire season.
Neilson joined the team in January after returning home from a mission. The 6-10 freshman, who signed with BYU in 2010, averaged 15.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and five blocks as a senior at Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. He’ll be counted on to help fill the void left by Eric Mika, who is leaving on a mission.
“Isaac is just a raw, talented, skilled big guy,” Rose said. “Where that takes him, we’ll see. But he can score inside, he can score outside. He’s a good free-throw shooter. He has a really good shooting touch.”
Chatman, the son of former BYU star Jeff Chatman, returned home from his mission the end of March.
“He’s a guy that will bring some real depth to our guard line,” Rose said. “He’ll come in here as a combo guard with the possibility of playing the one, two or three. We’ll see how he adjusts back to the game after being gone for a couple of years.”
The 6-4 Chatman averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals at Union High in Vancouver, Wash.
Andrus is planning to play one season, then leave for a mission, Rose said.
“He’s a complete post player,” Rose. “He’ll fit in well with our system.”
At 6-10, the American Fork High star will provide BYU with depth inside.
Rose is looking forward to working with those newcomers, as well as the rest of his team, this summer in preparation for next season.
“I’m really excited for the addition of those guys to our roster,” Rose said. “Basically, you’re adding three really good offensive pieces to an already pretty good offensive team. Then you bring Jordan Chatman in and hopefully a healthy Kyle to the group that walked off the court in Milwaukee. Our program is going in a real positive direction. We feel like the future is bright.”
Help is on the way for BYU as the Cougars add three post players and two guards for next season.
Player Pos. Ht. Class Previous school
Ryan Andrus F 6-10 Fr. American Fork HS
Jamal Aytes F 6-6 So. UNLV
Jordan Chatman G 6-4 Fr. Union (Wash.) HS
Chase Fischer G 6-3 Jr. Wake Forest
Isaac Nielsen C 6-10 Fr. Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS
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