HIGHLAND — When Lone Peak basketball coach Quincy Lewis first saw Tyler Haws play basketball, when Haws was an eighth-grader, he knew something special was coming his way.
Haws, as a 14-year-old, already had a good feel for the game, was a hard worker and had good size.
"I figured he would probably be a kid that would eventually become a first-team all-state player for a couple of years," Lewis said.
But when Lone Peak assistant Tom Perkins told Lewis that Haws, even as an eighth-grader, was already too good to be stuck on Lone Peak's junior-varsity team in the spring of 2005, Lewis' early assessment was already changing. And when Lewis put Haws into a varsity game at Kearns High a few days later, and Haws scored 12 points off the bench in a tough and competitive game, he recognized just how big of a superstar he was going to have for four more seasons.
"I knew that day, walking out of the gym, that it was only a matter of time," Lewis said.
Haws started every game his freshman season at Lone Peak and has been the Knights' main foundation ever since on a team that won back-to-back state 5A championships in 2007-08 and finished as the runner-up this year.
In those four seasons Haws has garnered much more than just two first-team all-state honors. He was the 5A MVP as a sophomore, Mr. Basketball last year as a junior, and is Mr. Basketball again this year — joining Murray's Jeff Johnsen (1995-96) as the only other two-time winner of the award.
"His approach has always been 'I want to be the best player I can be to help my team win a state championship' and whatever comes out of that he'll take," Lewis said.
This season the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, who is heading to BYU next year, averaged 23.4 points per game, shot 61 percent from the floor, 58 percent from 3-point range, and averaged nearly eight rebounds and three assists per game.
He's Lone Peak's all-time scoring leader with 1,772 points, more than 600 points ahead of Sam Burgess. He holds individual school records in 21 categories. But the legacy he hopes to leave at Lone Peak is not measured in numbers.
"I wanted to win, and that was the most important thing, and that I always put the team first," Haws said. "If people told me that that's what they remember about me 20 years from now, I'd be pretty happy."
What Lewis and others will also remember is Haws' consistency. His basketball strengths might be his hustle, ability to get to the rim, shoot, and rebound for a guard, but the difference in his big nights and bad nights have always been slight.
"He's a boring guy. He's the same guy every game. But I like boring when it's that efficient," Lewis said.
As good as Haws was early in his prep career, he developed into a more all-around player through individual time in the gym and practicing at home with his father Marty, a former BYU hoops star.
"He's always put the time in," Lewis said.
Lone Peak folks also heap praise on Haws' character on the court and off. Lewis likes to tell the story about when the team, after a long road trip, forgot to clean up the bus. But when Lewis went to apologize to the bus driver the next day, the driver informed Lewis that Haws stayed after everyone else had left and cleaned up the bus all by himself.
"The guy he is on the court is the same guy he is off the court. He never puts himself on a pedestal as if he's better than anyone else on his team. He's never felt he was entitled to anything," Lewis said.
Haws hopes to compete for a starting spot next year at BYU, or at the very least some significant playing time before he leaves a year later on an LDS Church mission.
"I just want to become the best I can be," Haws said. "I'm going to take college on first and whatever happens after that happens . . . but I want to play next year. I'm going to go in there and show them what I've got, and however I can help the team, I'm going to do it."
Obviously, with so many prep honors and two state titles to his credit, Haws' name always comes up in discussions about where he ranks all-time among Utah's prep greats. Most feel he's for sure among the best two or three in the past four or five decades.
There's at least two, however, who say Haws is the best ever. Lewis' father Tim, who coached many greats at Timpview High, and former Provo High legendary coach Jim Spencer feel Haws belongs right at the top.
"They both say he's the best player they've ever seen in Utah," Lewis said.
E-MAIL: [email protected]