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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News Archive
BYU guard Jimmer Fredette (32) celebrates after beating San Diego State in NCAA basketball action in Provo on Jan. 27.

Putting together all-time teams is always difficult. Comparing players across eras is nearly impossible.

But these kind of lists are fun because of the debates they generate: Who is overranked? Who did we leave off?

On episode 233 of the Rise & Shout Podcast, my co-host Matt Mangum (my brother) and I drafted all-time BYU men’s basketball teams. We did a snake draft, and Matt got the first pick. Here’s how the draft went down.

1. Danny Ainge (Matt)

2. Jimmer Fredette (Me)

3. Kresimir Cosic (Me)

4. Tyler Haws (Matt)

5. Devin Durrant (Matt)

6. Michael Smith (Me)

7. Dick Nemelka (Me)

8. Kyle Collinsworth (Matt)

9. Rafael Araujo (Matt)

10. Fred Roberts (Me)

Where is Greg Kite? What about Travis Hansen? How can Shawn Bradley not make the list? Except for Bradley, if we didn’t draft them, then we liked the players we did better.

I watched all of these players except Cosic and Nemelka, and I only saw a little of Ainge, Roberts and Durrant. My brother is younger than me, so his memory starts with Michael Smith.

Of course I think my team is better. Cosic was an amazing player, and putting him and Jimmer on the same team seemed like a terrific deal for me. But Matt’s top three are a pretty potent bunch.

A couple of thoughts about the teams we drafted:

• Matt’s team has some serious scoring firepower with Ainge, Haws and Durrant, arguably three of the four best scorers in school history.

• My team is built around Jimmer’s scoring and versatile big-man play. All of my big men (Cosic, Smith and Roberts) are excellent passers and could shoot outside of the key.

• My guard line of Jimmer and Nemelka is small, especially compared to the taller unit Matt drafted. Nemelka was known as a tough defender, but at 6-feet tall, he would have had difficulty disrupting Ainge, Haws or Collinsworth.

• Fred Roberts should not have lasted to 10th pick. I think he goes over Araujo, but Matt wanted some toughness, and Rafael surely brings a lot of that. But Roberts was the second-best scorer on that awesome Elite Eight team (1980-81).

• We did not consider pro careers, so Kite (or others) get no credit for NBA or European experience.

• I required that all players drafted have two or more years at BYU. Call it "the Shawn Bradley rule." Arbitrary? Maybe, but I wanted more impact than the one-and-done folks.


1. Danny AingeYears at BYU: 1977-81; Stats: 20.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.6 APG; .526 FG, .816 FT Honors: National Player of the Year (1980-81); First-Team All-American (1x); Third-Team All-American (1x); First-Team All-WAC (4x); WAC Player of the Year (1980-81)

What makes him great:

• Led the Cougars on their best tournament run in school history to the Elite Eight, including a 37-point game against UCLA in the second round and the iconic coast-to-coast layup to beat Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. He also led three BYU teams into at least the second round. BYU has only reached past the first round nine times in school history — he led a third of those teams.

• Was the team’s leading scorer each of his four years. Read that one again.

• Owned the NCAA record for most consecutive games scoring in double figures (112).

• Set almost every BYU scoring record — and he didn’t get to shoot 3-pointers.

• He wasn’t just a scorer. As a freshman, he led the team in assists and was second in rebounds.

• Was considered an above-average defender.

• Excellent free-throw shooter.

Why he might not be the best:

• His team did make the NCAA Tournament his freshman year. Yes, I realize I’m grasping at straws.


2. Jimmer Fredette Years at BYU: 2007-11; Stats: 18.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.7 APG; .455 FG, .394 3P, .882 FT; 23.0 Win Shares, 30.7 PER Honors: National College Player of the Year (2011); First-Team All-American (1x); Third-team All-American (1x); NCAA Division I Scoring Leader (2010-11); MWC Player of the Year (2010-11); First-team All-MWC (3x)

What makes him great:

• Was the best player on possibly two of the best three teams in BYU history and helped 2010-11 team become one of only two teams in school history to make the Sweet 16.

• He won big games with the ball in his hand, often going toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the country.

• He was the all-time scoring leader at BYU when he left.

• He was an excellent passer and a sneaky rebounder.

• He was the best college player in the country his senior year, and arguably third or fourth his junior year.

Why he might not be the best:

• He was mediocre as a freshman.

• He was a below-average defender.


3. Kresimir Cosic Years at BYU: 1970-73 Stats: 19.4 PPG, 11.8 RPG; .487 FG, .787 FT Honors: Fourth-Team All-American (2x); First-Team All-WAC (3x); No. 11 is retired by BYU; College Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006)

What makes him great:

• He could score, behind only John Fairchild, Tyler Haws, Danny Ainge and Devin Durrant for PPG.

• He is tied for third in all-time rebounds, second in RPG.

• We don’t have assist numbers for him, but he was a big man ahead of his time who was considered the best passer on his team.

• Led team to two WAC titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

• His junior year (22.2 PPG, 12.8 RPG) is one of the greatest seasons in school history.

Why he might not be the best:

• It was a different era, and his numbers might not be as high as if he had played in a tougher era and against tougher opponents.


4. Tyler Haws Years at BYU: 2009-10, 2012-15; Stats: 19.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 APG; .479 FG, .379 3P, .883 FT; 22.4 Win Shares, 24.4 PER

Honors: All-American Honorable Mention (2x); WCC Player of the Year (2013-14); First-Team All-WCC (3x); Third-Team All WCC (1x)

What makes him great:

• Career scoring leader at BYU.

• Was the third best player on one of BYU’s best teams ever (2009-10).

• Was the best player on another really good team (2014-15).

• One of the best mid-range shooters and free throw shooters in school history.

Why he might not be the best:

• He never played on a team that got past the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

• He was not an all-around player, below average at defense and passing.


5. Devin Durrant Years at BYU: 1978-80, 1982-84; Stats: 19.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG; .545 FG, .757 FT Honors: WAC Player of the Year (1982-83); First-team All-WAC (2x); Second-Team All-American (1x)

What makes him great:

• Before Jimmer came around, Durrant had been the best scorer in school history, with a remarkable 27.9 PPG in 1983-84.

• Despite being a role player before his mission, he is fifthh all-time in scoring, and all this scoring was done without the 3-point line.

• Over his career, he shot almost 55 percent from the field, and he did a lot of that scoring from the perimeter.

• Played as a role player on one of the best teams in school history (1979-80).

• Led the 1983-84 team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to a Kentucky team that made the Final Four.

Why he might not be the best:

• Though his freshman and sophomore seasons are good, they’re not great.

• During his best two years (1982-84), the Cougars only made the NCAA Tournament once.


6. Michael Smith Years at BYU: 1983-84, 1986-89; Stats: 19.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.6 APG; .507 FG, .430 3P, .878 FT Honors: WAC Player of the Year (1987-88); Second-Team All-American (1x); First-Team All-WAC (3x)

What makes him great:

• His senior season is one of BYU’s best single seasons: 26.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, and shooting 525/379/925 (FG/3P/FT)

• Fourth all-time in scoring behind Tyler Haws, Jimmer and Danny Ainge.

• Third best FT shooter in school history behind Haws and Jimmer.

• Second all-time in rebounding behind Kyle Collinsworth.

• Played on 3 NCAA Tournament teams, including two that got past the first round.

• A player ahead of his time: a big man who could shoot threes and pass.

Why he might not be the best:

• Below average defender

• His best statistical season came in a year in which the Cougars had a losing record.


7. Dick Nemelka (pictured at left) Years at BYU: 1963-66; Stats: 16.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG; .470 FG, .740 FT; Honors: All-American (1x); First-team All-WAC (1x); Second-team All-WAC (1x)

What makes him great:

• Averaged 24.0 PPG his senior season.

• Best player on the NIT winning team his senior year (1965-66).

• Known as a tenacious defender and clutch scorer.

Why he might not be the best:

• Played in an era when BYU often played a very soft conference schedule.

• Shortest player on this list.


8. Kyle Collinsworth Years at BYU: 2010-11, 2013-16; Stats: 12.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.0 APG; .477 FG, .280 3P, .642 FT; 17.5 Win Shares, 21.0 PER Honors: All-American Honorable Mention (2015-16); WCC Player of the Year (2015-16); NCAA career record for triple doubles (12); First-Team All-WCC (3x)

What makes him great:

• BYU career leader in assists and rebounds. That is not a common combo.

• He is the freakin’ NCAA career leader in triple-doubles. I know people will say it’s a new stat, but he obliterated a record that covers a couple decades. It’s impressive even if Oscar and Magic had more.

• He was the fifth or sixth best player on arguably BYU’s best team ever (2010-11) and was the first or second best player on two other teams.

Why he might not be the best:

• During his year as the best player on the team (2015-16), the Cougars didn’t make the NCAA Tournament.

• He was a poor free-throw shooter for three of his four seasons and was not a jump-shooting threat.

• He was an average defender (though he got better over the years).

• He was not an elite scorer.


9. Rafael Araujo Years at BYU: 2002-04; Stats: 15.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.2 APG; .567 FG, .268 3P, .891 FT; Honors: MWC Co-Player of the Year (2003-04); Second Team All-American (1x); First Team All-MWC (1x); Third Team All-MWC (1x)

What makes him great:

• Was one of the best big men in the country his senior year, average 18.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks.

• Played on two NCAA Tournament teams.

• 16 double-doubles his senior season.

• Tough, physical defender.

Why he might not be the best:

• Often lost his cool in tense situations.

• Never led a team past the first found of the NCAA Tournament.


10. Fred Roberts (pictured at left) Years at BYU: 1978-82; Stats: 15.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.6 APG; .546 FG, .776 FT; Honors: First-team All-WAC (2x); WAC Freshman of the Year (1978-79); Honorable Mention All-WAC (1x)

What makes him great:

• Was second all-time at BYU in points scored when he graduated and is currently third in career rebounds.

• Played on three teams that made it out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

• Was the second best player on one of BYU’s best teams (1980-81) averaging 18.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG while shooting 58 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free-throw line

• Underrated defender.

• Excellent passer, accumulating 341 assists over his career, including averaging 3.4 during that fantastic 1980-81 season.

Why he might not be the best:

• Below-average rebounder for his size and was never the best rebounder on any of the teams he played on despite his size. Of course, Greg Kite had a lot to do with that.

Other players we considered: Jeff Chatman (1984-88); Mekeli Wesley (1997-2001); Shawn Bradley (1990-91); Travis Hansen (2000-03); Brandon Davies (2009-13); Keena Young (2004-07); Lee Cummard (2005-09); Gary Trost (1987-93); Jackson Emory (2005-06; 08-11); Jim Eakins (1965-68); Greg Kite (1979-83).

Adam Mangum is the host of the BYU sports show The CougarFan.com Rise & Shout Podcast. Check it out on iTunes or on the Web.

Check out the Rise & Shout Podcast at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-shout/id404706109?mt=2 or on Podbean: http://ajmangum.podbean.com/