Payton Dastrup may end up being a very good force on a college basketball team, but that opportunity won't be at BYU.
And that's kind of sad.
With Dastrup's announcement Thursday that he's leaving BYU's program, it is a situation that conjures up memories of other departed players of late. They all wanted something they could not find at BYU: more playing time.
Dastrup was an Energizer Bunny on BYU's squad last year. He tried to accept the role of a bench player, even when it looked like he might break out and "earn" more time with his huge contributions in wins over UMass and Utah. But the chance never came.
When Dalton Nixon recovered from an early-season injury, he was immediately given a solid role and minutes upon his clearance. Same with Weber State guard McKay Cannon, when he was declared eligible back in December and was thrown a huge role against Utah Valley. But Dastrup never got those kind of chances until the last game of the season, a loss at Stanford in the NIT. His minutes were always sporadic, without rhyme or reason, and rarely more than 10 or 15.
So it isn't surprising that Dastrup is now looking elsewhere. I think in his mind, he's done what was asked, got in shape after an LDS Church mission during his freshman year and established himself as a supporter last year as a sophomore. But whatever he did, it did not appear to be enough to absolutely be given those golden minutes, the 18 to 27 a game.
This came to head during a meeting between head coach Dave Rose and Dastrup last Thursday. It was further discussed Tuesday and announcements were made on Thursday.
BYU will release Dastrup to transfer but with conditions. He won't be released to play at any school in the state of Utah or the WCC.
As of today, according to sources, Dastrup is open to being courted. That could not happen until his release became official. He can now accept recruiting calls and visits and make a decision.
The sad thing is, according to his social media accounts, family and friends, BYU is where he has always wanted to be. It just did not work out and two seasons trying to make it all happen was heading into his third year where little evidence surfaced that things would get any better.
As one reflects on Dastrup and his entertaining sideline antics, he was a man in search of a contribution. All that energy, the dancing, jumping, whirlwind arm actions, the feigned rowboat paddles, all of it, was from a guy trying to find a release for his energy, an outlet for his frustration and passion. A guy trying to help any way he could.
Dastrup just never received those stage moments inside the boundary lines.83 comments on this story
It will forever remain a debate among BYU fans as to why this was the case by those doing the deciding. Was it defense? Was it his chemistry with others and finding a role? Was it a case of him not given enough minutes to play with his natural instincts, which every athlete needs to prove his case? Was it conditioning? Was it practices? Was it fair?
In my opinion, I think Dastrup did do what was asked of him by his coaches. And it wasn't enough to hear the word "guaranteed minutes" and he walked.
I think both parties lost something.