PROVO — Quality depth in the frontcourt has been a stated concern for BYU coach Dave Rose, and depth will be imperative in his team's matchup against Weber State on Saturday night. The Wildcats present a very good frontcourt, led by 6-foot-10 center Kyle Tresnak, that should give the Cougars all they can handle.
BYU senior Brandon Davies has proven equal to the task against most any frontcourt foe, but his backups and their effectiveness remain a question mark in the early season. Fortunately for Rose and his team, however, those backing up and playing alongside Davies have shown improvement.
Josh Sharp earned a starting spot in the early season with his play, while backups Nate Austin and Ian Harward have both battled through injury but have raised their contributions with every game played.
“They’re both coming along,” Rose said of Austin and Harward. “Nate’s biggest issue so far this year has been injury. He’s had really sore shins that have added to some of the other issues he’s had. Ian has had an issue with his back, but he’s been practicing every day and makes it until the end. I think the minutes he’s (played) have really helped our team.”
Harward is happy with his progress after redshirting last season upon return from his mission service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year, the 6-foot-10 forward feels his legs are back and his game is that much better as a result.
“I can always improve and I have tons I can improve on, but I feel so much better about my game than I did last year,” he said. “By the end of the season I hope to see more growth in myself and my moves inside. I’m confident out there and I’m just happy to be helping the team.”
Carlino makes strides: Point guard Matt Carlino hasn’t had the smoothest start this season, but after a breakthrough performance against Utah his confidence is riding high. The sophomore had his starting role yanked from him in favor of Craig Cusick early in the year, but remains confident and happy to help out where he can.
“I don’t necessarily care about my role and when I’m playing and how much ... I just want to do whatever I can to help the team,” Carlino said. “I’m always confident in my game, but I can obviously feel myself making strides and that helps build even more confidence.”
Scout team help: Any team’s overall play can be boosted by going against a quality scout team during practice sessions. This year the team has been able to go against former BYU players Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard and the Cougars have benefited greatly as a result.
“Those guys have been around a lot and experienced a lot and they bring a different aspect to the scout team,” said sophomore Tyler Haws. “It’s really good for our guys to go against them.”
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @BrandonCGurney