My dad went here. He played football here. (Louisiana-Lafayette) has been recruiting me since I was in high school. When I announced that I was leaving BYU, they were the first school to contact me, and we went from there. —Frank Bartley IV, on his decision to transfer to Louisiana-Lafayette
LAFAYETTE, La. — Basketball has Frank Bartley IV on a long journey.
The former BYU guard played high school basketball in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and later at a prep academy in California. But after his two-year stint in Provo, Bartley is finally heading home to Lafayette, Louisiana.
"My dad went here. He played football here," said Bartley. "(Louisiana-Lafayette) has been recruiting me since I was in high school. When I announced that I was leaving BYU, they were the first school to contact me, and we went from there."
After announcing he would transfer in April, Bartley received interest from Hawaii, Nevada, Long Beach State, Oral Roberts, Southeastern Louisiana, University of Indianapolis, Utah Valley University and Louisiana Tech. Family ties and familiarity with the coaching staff led Bartley to choose Louisiana-Lafayette.
Bartley averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 blocks in 10 minutes per game at BYU but scarcely played his position. That was one of the main factors in his decision to transfer.
"At BYU, I only played at (power forward)," said Bartley. "I was rarely a guard. I was always the smallest guy on the court, and I never played my natural position. I didn’t feel comfortable playing that position, but I had to do it to help the team. I don’t play the 4, but that’s what they had me playing.
"I wanted to play a guard position. Coach (Dave Rose) said that it would be very hard for me to get on the court as a guard because of Kyle (Collinsworth) and Chase (Fisher). I didn’t want to risk not playing again, and waiting until my senior year to finally play. So I felt like it was best to leave and to start a new chapter."
Bartley has nothing but good things to say about BYU and the state of Utah, though. He has high praise for the family oriented culture in the area and loved his coaches and teammates.
"It was a great environment," said Bartley. "You drive around Provo and Utah and everybody has their kids and stuff, and the crime rate isn’t that high, It’s a great place to live. There’s a beautiful view wherever you go. The coaches are amazing, too. Coach (Mark) Pope especially."
Bartley's admiration for Pope extends beyond the hardwood. He believes their relationship will continue, no matter where Bartley plays.
But when Pope tried to lure Bartley to Utah Valley University, Bartley chose to head home, and Pope understood.
"He wanted me to come (to UVU) so bad, but I just told him that I didn’t really want to and he understood," Bartley said. "He’s a really good guy. He always says to come to him for whatever I need. We have that kind of relationship; it goes beyond basketball."
As a non-LDS athlete at BYU, adjusting to the culture can be difficult. But when Bartley was asked whether religion played a factor in his decision to transfer, he was adamant he had nothing but respect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.
"When I got (to BYU), my best friends were (LDS players) Eric Mika and Luke Worthington," said Bartley. "I had a lot of friends on the football team that were Mormon, too. I respect a lot of them and the Mormon culture. It was interesting; I learned a lot of stuff. But it wasn’t a factor in my decision to leave. I enjoyed it and learned a lot from my (LDS) teammates."
Bartley could have enjoyed a successful career in Provo, but an unfortunate series of events sent him in another direction. He's making the best of his situation, though, and expects to have a bright future as a Ragin' Cajun.
"This season, I want to get better and learn the system, and help the other guys on the team to get better," said Bartley. "My goal, when I start to play, is to win two (Sun Belt) conference championships. I want to go to the NCAA Tournament and have that feeling again. After that, I want to go professional and play professional ball."
Bartley will sit out for one season, per NCAA transfer rules.
Samuel Benson covers BYU athletics as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Contact Samuel at [email protected].