Zac is very competitive on the defensive end, and understands team defense and positioning. Zac has had the opportunity to lead his team to a championship at the high school level. He understands what it takes to be successful. I am grateful for Zac's commitment to BYU, and look forward to coaching him. —BYU coach Dave Rose
PROVO — While the BYU basketball program is focused on opening the 2014-15 season Friday at home against Long Beach State, coach Dave Rose announced on Wednesday five additions to next year’s roster.
Bountiful High senior forward Zac Seljaas signed a national letter of intent to play for the Cougars Wednesday. In addition, four players who are currently serving LDS missions will also join BYU next season — guards Nick Emery and Cory Calvert and forwards Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw.
Calvert played for the Cougars as a freshman in 2012-13 before departing on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Emery, Hartsock and Shaw left for missions out of high school.
Emery, who helped lead Lone Peak High to a MaxPreps.com national title, came home from Germany in August for surgery, then returned to complete his mission. He is the younger brother of former BYU star Jackson Emery.
Hartsock (Bartlesville, Oklahoma) is the younger brother of former Cougar Noah Hartsock. Shaw, who hails from Eagle, Idaho, was named BYU’s top recruit of the 2013 class by ESPN.com.
As a junior last season, the 6-foot-7 Seljaas averaged 18.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists — while knocking down 70 3-pointers — in leading Bountiful to a 26-1 record and the 4A state championship.
"Zac fits our program perfectly as a player and person. Zac can really score the ball, but is not defined by that,” Rose said. “He’s a terrific passer and tough rebounder. Zac is very competitive on the defensive end, and understands team defense and positioning. Zac has had the opportunity to lead his team to a championship at the high school level. He understands what it takes to be successful. I am grateful for Zac's commitment to BYU, and look forward to coaching him."
CHATMAN TO REDSHIRT: Freshman guard Jordan Chatman, who returned home from a mission last spring, will redshirt, Rose said Wednesday. That will give BYU 15 players on the roster for this season.
Forward Jamal Aytes is out indefinitely after undergoing ankle surgery. Kyle Davis will sit out due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Utah State.
FRESHMAN IMPACT: A few freshmen could make significant contributions to this year’s team, including centers Corbin Kaufusi and Isaac Neilson, forwards Dalton Nixon and Ryan Andrus and guard Jake Toolson.
Nixon and Kaufusi combined for 15 rebounds in the Cougars’ exhibition win over Seattle Pacific last Saturday.
“I think that Corbin can really help this team. He has a presence about him and the physical ability to protect the rim,” Rose said. “His ability to challenge a shot and then secure the ball on a rebound will really help us. Just his size. With Luke, Issac and Corbin, they all play a little bit different but they can all add positive things to our team.”
Of Nixon, Rose said: “Dalton’s a gamer. When the lights come on, he loves to play. He’s confident. He’s getting some good minutes because he plays the same spot as Nate (Austin) and he’s been out. He’s made the most of his time and he adds to the depth of our team. I like when he’s out there. He’s a smart guy that plays hard.”
EARLY TIP: BYU and Long Beach State will tip off at 5 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center, and Rose is hoping for a big crowd. The game will be televised by BYUtv.
“We had a great crowd for an exhibition game. We’d love to get all these people in the building,” he said. “I know that 5 o’clock is an awkward time to start a game. If we get everyone over here, it will really help our guys.”
The reason for the early tip? Long Beach State’s home opener is Saturday afternoon and the team needs to return home quickly after Friday’s game.
“It’s very difficult to schedule games here,” Rose said. “We were looking for a home opener and we’d been through a lot of teams. This was part of the agreement.”