PROVO — Guard Jake Toolson began his career at BYU before transferring to Utah Valley University.
The reigning WAC Player of the Year confirmed Thursday that he’s heading back to BYU as a grad transfer with one season of eligibility remaining.
Toolson recently entered the transfer portal and received considerable interest from programs like Duke, Virginia and Stanford. But ultimately, he picked BYU. Toolson will be following new Cougar coaches Mark Pope, Cody Fueger and Chris Burgess from UVU to BYU.
“At the end of the day, BYU just made sense. I have a relationship with coach Pope. I love him and I love coach Fueger and coach Burgess. For my family, it’s a great situation,” Toolson told ESPN 960 Thursday. “As a grad transfer, I was in a unique position where I could choose where I wanted to go. It was all about doing what’s best for me. Coming back to finish what I started, that was something that coach Pope and I talked about. We started there together, we left and now we’re back. We have a chance to re-write the story and do some special things here. That’s something I wanted to be a part of.”
Toolson played two seasons at BYU, starting five games as a sophomore before leaving the team in December 2015 before joining Pope’s team at UVU.
Last season, Toolson averaged 15.8 points per game and shot 54 shooting from the field, 46 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line.
“Going to UVU was hard. It wasn’t originally what I wanted to do, leaving BYU and going a few miles down the road to UVU, but I knew it was the best opportunity for me,” Toolson said. “I trusted coach Pope and coach Fueger and that whole staff. My mindset was to work harder than anybody and to be the best teammate I could be every single day. What we did at UVU was pretty special. We won a lot of games. We did a lot of things people said we couldn’t … At UVU, I knew that coach Pope and that whole staff believed in me. It was a genuine relationship and I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I was able to grow so much as a person.”
Through a set of unforeseen circumstances, Toolson will get a second chance to play at BYU.
“If you would have told me a couple of months ago that I’d be at BYU again, it would have been, how is that possible?” he said. “It’s kind of cool and a unique opportunity to be back here and finish what I started.”