PROVO — No doubt, BYU junior forward Yoeli Childs is on a roll. And the country is taking notice.
Childs is the reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week and the NCAA March Madness’ National Player of the Week. He currently ranks No. 16 in the country in scoring (23.6 ppg), No. 5 in rebounding (11.4 rpg) and No. 3 in double-doubles (seven). He’s scored 31 points in three consecutive games.
Childs’ memorable hammer dunk in last Saturday’s 74-59 win against Utah has been all over social media, and it made SportsCenter’s Top Plays. He’s scored exactly 31 points in each of the past three games.
Amid all of the attention, Childs is taking everything in stride.
“It’s definitely cool to be recognized like that. It’s cool to have people coming up to you and telling you how good you are,” he said. “But I’ve always been someone that’s thought it’s important not to get too high or too low. When you have a bad game you get the same stuff on social media about how 'Yoeli sucks.' When you have a bad game, it’s important to keep your head high and not to get too low. When you play well, you’ve got to stay level-headed and not get too high. That’s how you become great, I think.”
What will Childs do when the Cougars host Big Sky Conference foe Portland State Wednesday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv)?
BYU coach Dave Rose is hoping to see more of the same of what he saw last week from Childs.
“There’s a couple of things that are really impressive about last week’s performance. We really talked as a group after the tough week before that of how we were going to play and turn this around and how we’re going to make our team be as good as we can,” he said. “Playing with a purpose on offense, all the guys have bought into getting the ball into that spot on the block, and he’s been really good with that. He makes good decisions and he’s become a much better playmaker. He’s been able to expand his game to the perimeter to really help us. I like the team’s ability to use Yo in the best way that is possible for us.
“As far as his individual game is concerned, when a player is playing straight behind him, he’s got a nice move and a counter move and he’s developed a third move that he can get space by falling away a little bit and having touch, especially against bigger guys,” Rose continued. “Right now, he’s just in a really good groove as far as confidence and scoring the ball is concerned. Hopefully, our guys will continue to get him the ball in spots where he can really make plays.”
“He’s continuously making plays for us. He’s not being selfish,” guard Jahshire Hardnett said of Childs. “He’s getting double-teamed and he’s throwing the ball out, but he’s getting his at the same time. It gives us an easy target. Let’s just get Yoeli the ball.”
For Portland State coach Barret Peery, this game is a homecoming of sorts. He played at Payson High, Snow College and Southern Utah. He’s coached in the state of Utah, with stints at Snow, Utah Valley, Southern Utah and Utah.
Before being hired as the Vikings’ head coach, Peery was an assistant at Arizona State and Santa Clara.11 comments on this story
“We probably know more about the coach than we do about the actual personnel and what they do,” Rose said. “Barret’s been a coach in this area for years.”
Rose said Portland State likes to use a full-court press and half-court traps.
“The more chaos on the floor in the game, the more confidence his teams feel,” Rose said. “We’ll have to have a kind of a unique blend of our ability to attack it and take advantage of the opportunities. They’re really good at getting you to turn the ball over.”
Portland State (5-3) at BYU (7-4)
- Wednesday, 7 p.m. MST
- Marriott Center
- TV: BYUtv
- Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM