Everyone wants to be the starter. Everyone wants to be the finisher. Then what did he do? He had another two (good) games. —Dave Rose on Luke Worthington
MALIBU, Calif. — BYU forward Luke Worthington made his fourth consecutive start Thursday night at Pepperdine.
A team captain, Worthington started the first 17 games of the season before coach Dave Rose decided to bring him off the bench and start Zac Seljaas, starting with the game against Pepperdine on Jan. 11 in Provo.
Seljaas started the next five games, then Rose decided to make Worthington a starter again to provide a more physical presence to the floor.
Rose has talked about the conversation he had with Worthington about the decision to not start him. Rose praised the 6-foot-10 junior for putting the team first.
“I brought Luke in last week after he had probably the two best games back-to-back as a player here,” Rose recalled. “I said, ‘This is going to be a shock to you but I want to bring you off the bench. How do you feel about it?’ After a lot of conversation back-and-forth he said, ‘Coach, I promise you this — you’ll get three things out of me. I’ll play as hard as I possibly can to help this team. I’ll be as vocal as I possibly can when I’m on the bench and when I’m on the floor. And I’ll help the guys with everything they need to execute and get wins.’ I’ve got some stories over the years of really great conversations with some of my players. But that’s one of the best because there was no hesitation of disappointment. Heck, you have to be disappointed. I played. Everyone wants to be the starter. Everyone wants to be the finisher. Then what did he do? He had another two (good) games.”
SWAN SONG: Earlier this week, Pepperdine announced that coach Marty Wilson would be relieved of his duties at the end of this season, through the West Coast Conference Tournament.
In Wilson’s seven years at the helm, he posted a record of 86-125. The Waves had a couple of 18-14 seasons before falling to 9-22 last season. Pepperdine entered Thursday’s game with an overall record of 4-22.
Wilson, who was an assistant coach under Rick Majerus at Utah from 2004-08, is a former Pepperdine player. A national search for a new head coach is underway.
TIP-INS: Yoeli Childs reached double figures for a 26th game in a row. Elijah Bryant has hit double figures for the 23rd time this season and has three-plus 3-pointers for the third consecutive game and 14th time this season. Freshman Rylan Bergerson attempted his first two free throws of the season in the first half. He went 1 of 2 from the charity stripe.