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BYU basketball: With Mika era over, what can fans expect from this year's new-look Cougars?

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  • Crazy in California Acampo, CA
    May 24, 2017 1:04 p.m.

    I like the BYU critics taking shots. Sometimes they make valid points. They keep us on our toes. What would we do without them telling us that we are not as good as we think we are. Hatred seems the thing these days, but it's dumb, from either side.

    I cheer for the U unless they are playing the Y.

    The real value of sports is as a metaphor for life; winning or loosing the game isn't the be all and end all, though this is hard to remember when the two schools play each other.

    I look for passion, team play, coaching schemes, courage and faith. If the team will develop a hard nosed all out committed defense I think they will do better than expected.

    Prognosticating is fun. The quality of the team will reveal itself on the court.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    May 19, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    What can we expect? A mediocre team will be a bonus.

  • UU Provo, UT
    May 19, 2017 12:29 a.m.

    Blue Husky,

    If you're troubled by Ute fan comments then take it up with your blue brethren. It was a BYU poster who dragged Utah and the final 4 in to the conversation.

    We Ute fans are here simply to provide a public service to you Cougars.... Taking a dig at Utah's final four prospects makes no sense at all when you're wearing a Y on your chest.

  • wahului Stockton, CA
    May 18, 2017 11:07 p.m.

    There is and should not be a "Mika" era. He doesn't deserve it. He has abandoned any semblence of loyalty to BYU or his teammates. He showed himself to be an exceptional college big, but self centered and not particularly interested in helping to build the program. He has calculated how to best serve himself, and is now moving to do so without further regard for much else. This is not a profile to be remembered.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    May 18, 2017 8:56 p.m.

    UU is irrelevant to BYU. Do they even play a game this year?

    I don't know what to think about next year. I think they'll be good. Childs will be the man underneath. Selijas could be a great shooter. Emery can play defense. I'm out on Haws. Terrible defense last year and did way too many drives into the middle only to lose the ball.

    I don't see BYU in the NCAA next year, but I haven't seen any of the new guys play and the RM's from last year could be good this year. Every year is new in today's college hoops with the Pros raiding the colleges with impunity.

    Maybe we'll be surprised.

    As for ancient history, why do UU fans always bag on BYU's history? Who cares who won in 1944? Or even last year. Do they play this year? If so, brag then. Don't tell me about a team 15 years ago.

  • UU Provo, UT
    May 18, 2017 4:49 p.m.

    deductive reasoning,

    Like I said in my original post.... Some teams have been to the final 4 multiple times and some have not.... Guess which camp your team is in?

    You can spin all you want, BYU simply has not been there and hasn't been close. The Y has had all the same opportunities that the Utes have had in terms of winning just a few tournament games (when the field was smaller) and find itself in the final 4 but guess what, the Cougars could never do it. Regardless of how many tournament wins it took the Utes in the early days to get to the final four, they have at least been there 5 times.... BYU 0.

    Warning: You are welcome to continue to spin, but you will continue to lose.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 18, 2017 4:42 p.m.

    gchris - rock springs, wy
    May 17, 2017 2:57 p.m.
    As usual, we can depend upon the Utah fans to tell us how bad the Cougars will be. The truth is that the Cougars will still be in a re-building year with a lot of new faces.

    -------

    Which is the current stat of college basketball. Most teams rebuild every year.

    Utah had 10 new faces last year, preseason #8, ended up #4 in a 5 bid league. Yet we didn't lose at HOME by double digits to Utah Valley.

    This year we lost 4, including a NBA prospect. We will also be rebuilding.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 18, 2017 4:23 p.m.

    @Swoop

    Utah foot was rebuild by McBride in early 90s, not 2003. Since then:

    * Runner-up: Utah 1 (BYU 0)
    * Top 25: 8 (7)
    * Top 10: 3 (1)
    * BCS: 2 (0)
    * CFP Rankings: 16 (0)

    Over the same last 25 years in basketball:

    * Runner up: Utah 1 (BYU 0)
    * Final Four: 1 (0)
    * Elite Eight: 2 (0)
    * Sweet 16: 6 (1)

    Remember, the last decade was the lowest point in Utah basketball history, yet we havr more tournament wins than BYU 4 vs Utah 6.

    Without Mika, BYU is headed for a "one and done" in the NIT in a one team league.

  • Gruncle Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2017 2:57 p.m.

    @Azute

    Soon to be 4 straight & counting.

    ---------------

    It could've been this year if your head coach hadn't ducked for cover and ran away.

  • Laxman taylorsville, UT
    May 18, 2017 2:17 p.m.

    @ Striker

    It is hard to believe that superior talent is coming in! Wasn't the LP3 going to give you a national Championship? It will be another long year in Provo.

  • Pugman TREMONTON, UT
    May 18, 2017 1:49 p.m.

    @John in SLC.
    Same for the Cougars on a national championship football season. I'll take that hardware any day of the week. And while we're on the subject....ever notice how when past history favors the Ute's it's ...been there done that? But when it's the Coogs...."that was eons ago and not relevant...As Arsenio Hall used to say as he pointed at his head...HMMMMMMMM.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 18, 2017 12:20 p.m.

    Dark days ahead for byu men's basketball, indeed.

    Soon to be 4 straight & counting.

    Go Utes!

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    So much of this goes back to the people in charge. The "Lone Peak Three" were never going to win a national championship on their own, and it needed to be made clear that BYU was *not* Lone Peak; the LP3 are/were great but so are/were several other players on the team. Permitting Jordan Chatman to transfer was a horrible decision. Showing Jake Toolson the door didn't make much sense either. And Isaac Neilson wasn't a world-beater, but one could make a very strong case for him contributing more than Braiden Shaw this season and likely next.

    And clearly there was a need for a staff shakeup, or we wouldn't have a coach leaving "to pursue business opportunities". Yeah, that's what all successful coaches want to do, isn't it?

    Accounting for injuries, BYU should still have been much better this year. Mika choosing to leave was likely as much from a feeling that they wouldn't achieve their potential as it was a burning desire to leave college right now. And I don't know that Heath Schroyer is the answer on his own. I'm just tired of the feeling that BYU will never do what they're capable of doing as the situation currently stands.

  • deductive reasoning Arlington, VA
    May 18, 2017 10:48 a.m.

    UU

    Remind us how many teams were invited to each of those tournaments and how many games the Utes had to win to advance to the Final Four.

    Research is a great thing and pretending the all Final Fours are equal is misleading.

    It's interesting how Utah fans constantly try to diminish BYU's 1984 National Championship with claims of it being ancient history, but don't apply that same standard to Utah's accomplishments in basketball.

    According to U, the only Final Four worth talking about is 1998, and that is nearly 20 years ago.

  • Manooch Springville, UT
    May 18, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    There is, perhaps, hyperbole in calling Eric Mika's time in Provo an "era." Kresimir Cosic at BYU? There's an era. Danny Ainge, for four full years? There's an era. Tyler Haws might be worthy of having his work at BYU labeled an era. But Eric Mika? In his two years, separated by a two-year mission, he didn't bring his team along well enough nor far enough to call it an era. Years from now, looking back, we will not remember an "Eric Mika era" any more than we will remember any other two-year player's time at BYU. Had he stayed for two more? Maybe. He's a nice young man. He tries hard. He has some skills, sprinkled with some glaring weaknesses for the professional game. But he does not have an era. Not in my history book of BYU Basketball.

  • UU Provo, UT
    May 18, 2017 8:05 a.m.

    Swoop,

    There's a lot more than 1944. Research is such a great thing before making a post.

  • Jello is Good ,
    May 18, 2017 4:38 a.m.

    This is unfortunate, but maybe now some of us BYU fans can adjust our expectations to something a bit more realistic. Without Mika I think BYU will be 2nd or 3rd in the WCC and probably go to the NIT. The only way I see anything different is if Rose and Shroyer actually take back control of this team. If Bryant is healthy (1 injury does not make him a china doll) and Emery plays more like his freshman year, the back court could be fine. My fear is now with the strong personality of Mika gone, Haws may find even more need to play out of control me-first ball. If he is not held accountable to at least attempt to play defense and plays like last year with Rose continuing to give him starter minutes, it might be 4th or 5th.

    As to the bigs, Childs is ok but I am concerned with what's left. Do they have the size and attitude to compete in the paint without Mika. Let's be realistic Cougar fans. We don't know what to expect so stop with the final four, we'll be better than last year talk. This could be a rough season.

  • CoHawk Littleton, CO
    May 17, 2017 9:28 p.m.

    Mika determined that he would be better off going pro. I suspect that he felt he could get better coaching and help with his game. I agree. But, no doubt, he felt that he needed to get away from the BYU program, which says a lot about Haws and Emery. I don't share the opinion that the bigs will be the question mark. Andrus will be a good center Childs will continue to improve. This team will go as far as the guards take it. That is the problem. Haws better show some maturity and Emery needs to up his game. Bryant seems to be injury prone and I think that physically he, Haws and Emery don't have the basketball instincts that the Beo kid had. Physically, Beo seemed overmatched but he was a smarter ball player than the others and he was a true freshman. My bet is that we will see a new coach in Provo in 2018 because I don't believe Rose can handle Emery or Haws and they will run him and the team out of the gym and out of championships as they attempt to get their points. If Mika could have taken those two with him, BYU could start the rebuild now.

  • Rockyrd Gilbert, AZ
    May 17, 2017 6:45 p.m.

    "You hit rock bottom..." 22-12 rock bottom? If so, that says a lot for where the program is. I always thought 1-26 was rock bottom.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    May 17, 2017 5:48 p.m.

    Lets keep the Utes out of it Coug fans. They played for an NC, BYU to my memory hasn't. About next year, I expect the same. Nothing will dramatically change until the coaching changes. I was hugely disappointed with this teams lack of passion, consistency and discipline. That my friends rest on the coaches.

  • fireonthemtn Reno, NV
    May 17, 2017 5:13 p.m.

    The Cougars cannot realistically compete with Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. Both of the aforementioned teams have depth and experience both on the front line and in the backcourt. Mika was a difficult player to defend with his agility in the low block and his mid range shot. He'll be sorely missed. I don't think Childs has the stamina to anchor the front court. I'll also be interested to see if Haws and Emery are stronger and better conditioned this upcoming season. Both players appeared at times to be gassed down the stretch last season. Then, there is lack of commitment by Rose to play solid defense. We'll see how it goes...

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:45 p.m.

    "I love how 1944 is like yesterday to Utah fans"

    (non)swoop:

    And I love how you intentionally leave out 1961, 1966 and 1998.

    When do you suppose BYU-P will also share the same number of Final Four appearances as Arizona, UNLV, Villanova and Wisconsin?

  • steve24/7 Sandy, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:29 p.m.

    Idea for another big man: Have Motekiai Langi join the team for a season. He's played basketball before, has quick feet, and the exercise will help get him in shape for football next season since he won't be playing football this season anyway. Can you imagine him guarding the basket? Opposing players would have to take a shuttle to get around him.

  • steve24/7 Sandy, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:20 p.m.

    "I expect that 3rd in the wcc and 1 and out in the nit is wide open now." - ekute

    Yes, it'll be 1st or 2nd place for the Cougars most likely. Oh I see, the utes are planning on joining the WCC. That's why you're so excited. Thanks for sharing insider info.

    BTW, congrats on your team's 4th place finish in the pac and one-and-done in the NIT at the Huntsman Center with a final RPI of 83 vs. BYU's RPI of 65.

  • steve24/7 Sandy, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:23 p.m.

    "I expect that 3rd in the wcc and 1 and out in the nit is wide open now." - ekute

    Yes, it'll be 1st or 2nd place for the Cougars most likely. Oh I see, the utes are planning on joining the WCC. That's why you're so excited. Thanks for sharing insider info.

    BTW, congrats on your team's 4th place finish in the pac and one-and-done in the NIT at the Huntsman Center with a final RPI of 83 vs. BYU's RPI of 65.

  • Swoop Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 4:21 p.m.

    UU

    "I love that the Utes have already been to the final four multiple times..."

    I love how 1944 is like yesterday to Utah fans...

    when talking about basketball,

    but anything before 2003, is like ancient history to Utah fans...

    when talking about football.

    The inconsistent time lines are absolutely hysterical.

    btw, remind us how many college teams the Utes beat in 1944 during the regular and post season COMBINED, in order to make it to the NCAA Final Four.

    Hint: Idaho St (twice), Colorado College, and Missouri

    It's hysterical how Utah fans crow about making it to the 1944 Final Four with a 4-1 record.

  • Scores Idaho Falls, ID
    May 17, 2017 3:59 p.m.

    Go have some fun and make some money. This is about the individual. Not the team. It will be a long time and maybe never that any college team in Utah goes to a final four.

  • UU Provo, UT
    May 17, 2017 3:50 p.m.

    @Pugman "the Utes will never be a final four team....and I love that"

    I love that the Utes have already been to the final four multiple times and BYU hasn't even sniffed it.

  • CougarCat Tucson, AZ
    May 17, 2017 3:49 p.m.

    We'd have to go back to the previous decade to see a Mariott Center based squad that took its defense seriously. When, or should I say if, the 2017-18 version of BYU Hoops shows us some better intensity defending the bucket - THEN, and only then, should we expect them to rise above 3rd place in the WCC and have any impact in the NCAAs.

    Until that happens don't expect much to change with the b-ball scene in Provo.

  • HoboA1 Saratoga Springs, UT
    May 17, 2017 3:41 p.m.

    BYU will stagger on as it has since after the Jimmer era. The only player with any upside coming back may be the Seljass kid. The other three returning should not even have scholarships in my opinion. The program struggles to put a complete package on the floor. Whether due to honor code, missions, transfers, etc. Gotta wait another 25 years for another super hero to take BYU to the sweet 16. A final four, or NC is never realistic for the school.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    May 17, 2017 3:24 p.m.

    Ah, the perils of having too good of talent on your college team - you only have them for a short while. I wonder how Mika's decision process might have been different had BYU gone to the NCAA tournament or better yet, won a game or two in the tournament? I guess we'll never know. Were the Lone Peak-Three over-hyped or did they just not live up to their potential? I guess we'll never know that either. Good luck to Mika. I can't blame him...

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 17, 2017 3:07 p.m.

    "the Utes will never be a final four team"

    Pugman:

    If so, at least Ute fans can say, "Been there, done that!"

    You can't.

  • Truebluecoug Park City, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:56 p.m.

    Just finished reading the first 10 comments. I don't know how many of you were following Cougar basketball at the turn of the century? Then again, I don't know how much you were following Heath Schroyer?

    I cannot imagine Heath not taking on the D? Oh, do we ever need some help there. Well, an improved D, which it is highly reasonable to assume will occur this year, will make a huge difference in game outcomes. When Schroyer and Rose last coached together it was under Coach Cleveland. 2001-02 I believe is when they last won a conference title. Last year our team D gave up 74 ppg. Coach Schroyer had the D on that conference title team which only gave up 62 ppg. We will see hopefully another huge difference from last year to this year and next year. I just hope he stays awhile. This guy can coach D!

    Truebluecougar

  • gchris rock springs, wy
    May 17, 2017 2:57 p.m.

    As usual, we can depend upon the Utah fans to tell us how bad the Cougars will be. The truth is that the Cougars will still be in a re-building year with a lot of new faces. As good as Mika was, his personal performances didn't always equate to great team play. I think that, if a BYU guard steps forward as the floor leader that they didn't have last year, this could be a good but probably not great team. Haws may mature as a college player but if he doesn't and if Rose lets him run wild, it could be another long year. There is always one big surprise (Childs, last year) and hopefully it will be Andrus or Dastrup. Also, Heath Schroyer should bring a better defensive emphasis.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:52 p.m.

    As a Cougar fan, I'm now officially laughing at the renewed hope for the basketball program. Pull your heads out of the sand folks. 3rd place and NIT all over again.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    May 17, 2017 2:47 p.m.

    What we can expect is a zero big-man presence. As much as Mika was a consistent presence last year, the most consistent of any player, he needed to come back for at least 1 more year. He will make his $$ over in Europe, which he obviously has a right to do. I don't think he'll get a sniff by the NBA in the draft. He could have developed his game & outside shot into a stronger game if he returned and THEN make himself into a more realistic NBA prospect in next year's draft.

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    May 17, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    "Cleveland believes Mika’s exit should take a lot of pressure off of Emery and Haws in terms of the unrealistic expectations heaped upon them."

    How did the guards have more pressure when they had a star to work with? Last year simply showed how poor of point guard play BYU had. Will that improve with an even more "boombs away" offense? Will Childs continue his development under that playing style? I doubt it.

    Ok with being optimistic but simply to spout BYU hype every year causes you to lose credibility.

  • 1984 for life Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    This one is easy to answer:

    Expect more running and gunning.

  • Jimbo Low PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:32 p.m.

    I am hoping for the best, but until we have an elite scorer or two (ala Jimmer, Tyler Haws) we are most likely going to be an improved defensive squad finishing in the upper middle of the WCC pack hoping for an NIT bid.
    I really like Seljaas' shooting stroke but how bad is the shoulder injury? The big guys on the roster seem to have a substandard scoring game and quite frankly most should not be on a Div I team. Haws and Emery can get hot--but does that translate to an elite scoring team?
    Time will tell!

  • Dan Smith Phoenix, AZ
    May 17, 2017 2:10 p.m.

    "“There’s no team in this league that has the depth and the talent of this guard line … and they’re going to get better.”"

    I heard a lot about this last year, and I didn't see a whole lot of 'getting better' then. I don't anticipate that BYU will improve during the season (from beginning to end). What they will be at the beginning of the season is what they will be at the end of the season. I hope I'm wrong.

    As with Mika leaving, I think it's the wrong move for him, but a guys got to do what a guys got to do. The upside to this is that we (hopefully) won't every have to hear about the "Lone-Peak Three" anymore. I got so sick of that.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    May 17, 2017 2:08 p.m.

    even less defense and more 3 pointers, that is what will happen all season long and in the NIT

  • ekute Layton, UT
    May 17, 2017 1:54 p.m.

    I expect that 3rd in the wcc and 1 and out in the nit is wide open now.

  • Pugman TREMONTON, UT
    May 17, 2017 1:53 p.m.

    @Chris B
    And the Utes will never be a final four team....and I love that.

  • Eastern CO Coug Elizabeth, CO
    May 17, 2017 1:43 p.m.

    Good article. I believe Cleveland is right. Childs and Bryant bring a strong core that the team can build around and I like forward to improved play from Emery. In my opinion, Childs has the most upside than anyone on the team and look for him to show great progress this next season. He showed flashes of how good he can be as monster rebounder and decent shooter. I also think that Andrus showed some good energy as a freshman. I think we will be fine in the post with Childs and Andrus and a hopefully trimmed down Dastrup who had so much hype in high school. And Shaw is a good backup. The guard from Florida sounds like he can play good defense averaging nearly 2 steals a game. With he and Emergy and Bryant on the guard line our defense should be improved let alone a better defensive mindset. Haws can come off the bench (which I doubt will happen) and through up some threes.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    May 17, 2017 1:29 p.m.

    Cleveland seems to overlook the guard lines at St. Marys and Gonzaga. Those folks reload every year.

    Cleveland can assert anything he wants at this point, but I think all Cougar fans are gonna be disappointed [again?] when all this "superior talent" proves not to be very superior.

  • Adirondack Cougar Loon Lake, NY
    May 17, 2017 1:30 p.m.

    Hopefully at least one of the returning big men can surprise us similarly to the way Eric did upon his return. Lets also wait and see who Coach Rose can pick up now to replace the Mika scholarship vacancy. If they are decent, that could make the team as good, if not better. How better.....I'm hoping for better chemistry and better defence.
    Rise and Shout.

  • top of the world ,
    May 17, 2017 1:20 p.m.

    Hope you're right, Cleve. That last game (NIT) at home was, indeed, rock bottom. It was very painful to watch. Go Cougs!

  • Midwestcoug Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 17, 2017 1:14 p.m.

    I think Cleveland is right on this! The bigs will be a question mark but the guards will be strong. Go Cougs!

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    May 17, 2017 1:12 p.m.

    There is excellent talent coming in, so BYU is covered there. The team element just seems to be missing. It will help to not have Kaufusi coming midseason, although he too was talented. If at least two of the players can emerge as leaders, and the defense improves, they should be able to win again in the postseason.

    The talent coming in is as good as it's ever been, so you'd hope they can really raise the level of play.