We look forward to Nick’s return. Hopefully we’ll get him back in the fold and things will work out. —BYU coach Dave Rose, on Nick Emery
PROVO — Early Tuesday morning, Nick Emery sent a message on Twitter and provided an update on his situation.
“My plan is to be back in Cougar Blue,” wrote Emery, who was a BYU guard in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. “We all have challenges in life but I believe strongly that God doesn’t put us through a trial we can’t handle! God Bless Everyone.”
Emery withdrew from school just days prior to the 2017-18 season in the wake of personal issues and an ongoing NCAA investigation. Since that time, Emery has publicly stated his desire to return to BYU next season.
BYU coach Dave Rose mentioned Emery during Tuesday night’s annual basketball banquet.
“We look forward to Nick’s return,” Rose said. “Hopefully we’ll get him back in the fold and things will work out.”
Wednesday, through BYU officials, Rose said “plans are in place” for Emery to return but there isn’t a timetable at this point.
Athletic director Tom Holmoe was asked about Emery’s situation during a roundtable Q&A in January.
“That’s been a very hard thing for Nick to be able to go through this difficult trial,” Holmoe said at the time. “We’re in contact with Nick. This really lies with Nick and what he wants to do and how he’s feeling and what his intentions are. We love Nick. We’re doing everything we can to make sure we can bring him back and make it work. We’re trying to make sure that everything is taken care of in the right way and that the doors would be open to bring him back.”
Rose said his players’ response to Emery’s struggles was a highlight of the recently completed season.
“I love this team. As a group, it was so amazing to watch these guys compete, challenge themselves and overcome some real difficult things early in the year. The player with the most experience had some personal issues and wasn’t able to stay with us," Rose said. "He’s the best friend of five or six of the guys on the team. Best friends. Watching guys trying to help him, that was something that I will always remember — guys give a little bit of themselves to help somebody else who needed help. With a situation that’s really personal, I was just so proud of these guys with how they reached out.”
As a freshman, Emery averaged 16.1 points and made 97 3-pointers. He set BYU freshmen records for points in a single game, 3-pointers in a single game, games scoring in double figures, 3-point field goals, 3point field goals per game and games with 3-plus and 5-plus 3-pointers.
As a sophomore, Emery averaged 13.1 points per game and connected on 75 3-pointers. He was expected to be a key member of the 2017-18 BYU team before he withdrew from school.
Without Emery, the Cougars finished with a 24-11 record, including an appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game and a first-round loss at Stanford in the National Invitation Tournament.
“We want more. We all want more. The players want more. The coaches want more. The fans want more,” Rose said Tuesday. “I know the challenge. I look forward to it. I know these guys are looking forward to it. The most exciting thing to us when we meet as a staff every day is we talk about the continuity of these guys that will be back on this team that have been through 35 (games) this year. That will really help us next year.”
Later, Rose added, “I can promise you this — they will work, and we will work, as hard as anybody in the country. I believe that the toughest schedule next year that we’re in the process of putting together and a new challenge in our league playing 16 games instead of 18 and knowing the strength of the teams at the top, it’s our time. It’s our turn.”
Rose talked about the departure of assistant coach Heath Schroyer, who took the head coaching job at McNeese State last month.
“He’s an unbelievable friend of mine and a terrific coach,” Rose said. “He fit in with our staff so well.”
Rose compared this team to his family.
“I’m impressed with how this group relied on each other. This was truly a brotherhood of guys that would do anything for each other. It was a competitive group,” he said. “We probably had as many fisticuffs as any team as we’ve ever had. They had shouting matches at each other. But it reminded me of my family. I grew up with three brothers. Pretty competitive guys ... We’d duke it out many times. This team was a group of brothers.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, Rose mentioned the BYU-Utah rivalry.
“All of us will remember this season as a special one — especially beating the Utes,” he said, referring to the Cougars’ 77-65 victory last December at the Marriott Center. “There will be a chance to beat them next year and there will be a chance to beat them the year after. Then we’ll see who’s the coach.”
Rose said the last two years “cost (Utah) $80,000 and a loss,” referring to Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak’s decision to cancel the scheduled game in 2016 in Provo. As per the contract, Utah had to pay $80,000 for canceling the contest.
The following awards were handed out during the banquet:
Academic excellence: Braiden Shaw
Best Conditioned Perimeter Player: McKay Cannon
Best Conditioned Post Player: Dalton Nixon
Outstanding Defensive Player: Jahshire Hardnett
Playmaker: TJ Haws
Inspirational Teammate: Payton Dastrup
Coaches’ Award: Rylan Bergersen
Competitive Spirit: Luke Worthington
Captains’ Awards: Luke Worthington, Elijah Bryant
Co-Most Outstanding Players: Elijah Bryant, Yoeli Childs