College basketball season is less than a week away and the BYU, Utah and Utah State programs are raring to get on the court.
Each program features seven new players between entering freshmen and transfers from other schools. Quite a few of the newbies are expected to make an immediate impact for their respective teams.
Here is a look at each incoming player and his potential impact for BYU, Utah or Utah State.
Plenty of opportunities await incoming players at BYU. The Cougars are bringing in a class of talented, well-recruited freshmen as well as a few transfers from other colleges.
Players in BYU's guard-heavy roster may see a substantial amount of healthy competition for playing time.
BYU freshman forward/center Eric Mika is under the most pressure out of any newcomer to perform. The Cougars expect him to adapt to the college game quickly and fill Brandon Davies' old role.
Here is a look at the seven newcomers to BYU basketball for the 2013-14 season:
Guard, 6-3, Freshman
Last school: Future College Prep
Growing up in Baton Rouge, La., Bartley was a big fish in a small pond. As a senior at the small 1A high school Christian Life Academy, he led his team to a 26-7 record and a state title. However, Bartley realized his dreams of playing Division I college basketball were diminishing as he failed to receive any scholarship offers. Instead of taking his chances in a lower division, he moved across the country to play for Future College Prep. After one season in California — averaging 19.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game — Bartley became a hot commodity as several Division I schools recruited him, most notably BYU and Auburn.
According to a preview by the website Loyal Cougars, BYU will most likely play Bartley as a backup shooting guard. This will put him in the position to relieve BYU star Tyler Haws and, if his talent translates to the college scene, he could make a significant bench contribution.
Guard, 6-3, Junior
Last school: Wake Forest
Fischer transferred to BYU from Wake Forest this season and, due to NCAA rules, will redshirt the 2013-14 season. Next season, Fischer's 3-point shooting will be the biggest advantage he'll bring to the Cougars. Last season he shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
The junior transfer told BYU beat reporter Jeff Call that a fresh start and a program that better fits his lifestyle topped his reasons for the change.
Guard, 6-1, Junior
Last school: Salt Lake Community College
As a junior college transfer, Skyler Halford will likely have an immediate impact on the Cougars offense. Last season at SLCC, he shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range while averaging 31.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Halford earned NJCAA first-team All-America honors, led the Bruins to a No. 5 national ranking and added some notable stats to his resume, which BYU picked up on.
It was a long road from playing locally at Timpanogos High School to having a scholarship with Utah State fall through, playing two seasons at SLCC and now ready to back up guards Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws.
Guard, 6-3, Sophomore
Last school: Snow Canyon High School
Johnston, one of two BYU walk-ons, has an opportunity to step forward and play a role for the Cougars.
"I've had quite a few direct, frank conversations with these guys, because sometimes new guys come in and they're in a position to help, or to play a secondary role to somebody who's returning or has experience, but we need a group of these guys to step forward and really contribute," BYU coach Dave Rose told beat reporter Jeff Call last month.
Johnston helped Snow Canyon go 15-8 his senior year, during which he averaged nearly nine points per game and hit his career high 15 points three times in 2008-09.
Forward, 6-10, Freshman
Last school: Lone Peak High School
Mika enters his freshman season at BYU with more expectations placed on him than the other newcomers. Mika finished his senior year at Lone Peak on a "dream team," combining with two other BYU commits, Nick Emery and T.J. Haws.
BYU coach Dave Rose expects Mika to learn the system quickly and fill Brandon Davies' enormous shoes at center. Mika's game is heavy on the glass and he can run the floor with the best of them. He likes to post-up on the block and dunk it home at every opportunity.
"There are a lot of expectations for him, but he’s ready for them,” Tyler Haws said. “He wants to have a big impact on this team. ... He’s made a really good adjustment from the high school to the college level. He’ll make a big impact right away.”
Forward, 6-8, Freshman
Last school: Cherry Creek High School, Colorado
Among a guard-heavy roster, the freshman forward might just get his chance to shine for BYU this season. The Cougars need big men who can come off the bench and create a presence in the paint.
"That's probably the biggest challenge for young players in our program, is to convince themselves to learn the system and then become comfortable in it as quickly as possible — especially our big guys," Coach Dave Rose told the Deseret News last month. "We're going to need Luke and Eric and Graham and those guys to really pick this up quick so we can use them in game situations early."
Last season as a senior for Cherry Creek High School, Pingree averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Forward, 6-10, Freshman
Last school: Homestead High School, Wisconsin
Worthington is a highly-recruited freshman forward from Mequon, Wis. Butler, Princeton, Yale, Lehigh, Penn and Utah State were just a few among the 33 scholarship offers extended to Worthington.
As a senior and team captain at Homestead High School, Worthington averaged 13.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. During the recruiting process, ESPN.com ranked Worthington 43rd among the class of 2013 power forwards nationally.
As for what Worthington can bring to the Cougars, he says physicality is number one.
"I'm a very physical player and I think I'm sort of different in that way," Worthington told the Deseret News after he committed in 2012. "Coach (Dave) Rose obviously likes his guys to run and I can do that, but I'm also someone who loves to bang down low, rebound and do a lot of the dirty work."
A lot of excitement surrounds the incoming Runnin' Utes players this season. The Utah basketball team is extremely young and inexperienced; every player on the roster has one or less than one year of Division I experience.
Despite this, Utah has the potential to surprise the Pac-12 this season. Among the new signees, junior transfer Delon Wright and freshman Parker Van Dyke will most likely see the most action right off the bat.
In Utah's exhibition game against Saint Martin's last Friday, Wright nearly managed a triple-double and Van Dyke scored 12 points for the Utes.
Here is a look at the seven newcomers to Utah basketball for the 2013-14 season:
Guard, 6-5, Freshman
Last school: Massanutten Military Academy, Virginia
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak rewards players who are scrappy and work hard every night with time on the court. And Fields, the recruited swingman from Connecticut, is exactly that.
USC, Colorado and Saint Joseph's also showed interest in recruiting the versatile guard, but Fields chose Utah above all other programs. He said it felt like home.
"The trip (to Utah) sort of confirmed everything I already felt about the program, and even though it was so far away, I felt at home there," Fields told the Deseret News last April.
During his senior season at Massanutten Military Academy, Fields averaged 17 points per game. He is skilled at breaking down defenders off the dribble and making some noise in the paint. He prides himself on working hard at both ends of the court, a trait Krystkowiak will definitely welcome to the Utes.
Forward, 6-11, Junior
Last school: Western Nebraska Community College
Kovacevic moved to the United States from Serbia to pursue a college basketball career two years ago. He settled in at Western Nebraska Community College, where he averaged 11.7 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game as a freshman. Kovacevic committed to Montana the next year, but was ruled ineligible to play that season due to a grade he received at Western Nebraska.
The 6-foot-11 forward will also likely play center. With the need to fill Jason Washburn's role at center, the forward should see some game time if he can continue to produce offensively at a Division I level.
Unfortunately, Kovacevic could be sidelined to start the season due to a broken hand, according to the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Guard, 6-6, Freshman
Last school: Urspring; Ehingen, Germany
The Utes landed a top international player when they signed Ogbe. The freshman guard played on the German national squad as well as his high school team, Urspring. His high school became the first international team in 30 years to win the Arby's Classic in Bristol, Tenn. During the final of the tournament, Ogbe led Urspring with 24 points and 8 rebounds, which was enough to earn him MVP honors.
According to Krystkowiak, the Utes will benefit from Ogbe's size on defense and his "great knowledge" of the game.
During Utah's opening scrimmage "Night with the Runnin' Utes," Ogbe impressed fans and coaches alike. The freshman recorded a game-high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-3 from downtown. And that performance pleased Krystkowiak.
“Some kids like to play in front of crowds, in the lights,’’ he told Deseret News reporter Mike Sorensen. “Kenneth shot the heck out of it tonight. He played great.’’
Guard/Forward, 6-5, Junior
Last school: Navarro College, Texas
Onwas made a name for himself among the junior college basketball scene. He is well-respected and earned All-Region honors while playing at Navarro College, averaging a team-best 11.5 points per game.
He can play either the guard or forward position, and with early injuries to some of Utah's big men, he might be asked to fill in at the small forward position more often to start the season.
Onwas said he'd like to see the Utes make it to a postseason tournament and personally improve as much as possible throughout the year.
Guard, 6-5, Junior
Last school: Snow College
Van Brocklin has worked his way up to Division I basketball, and it hasn't been an easy road. Luckily for the junior transfer guard, Krystkowiak is giving him the chance and opportunity to be apart of a Pac-12 program.
“Coach Krystkowiak said I could come in and fight for a spot and try to earn a scholarship this fall,” Van Brocklin said after joining the Utes this summer. “I’ve always dreamed of playing at this level, and my father played football here at Utah.”
The Utes severely need a spot-up shooter who can nail outside jump shots under pressure. Last season Van Brocklin led Snow College with 15.9 points, including 2.5 3-pointers per game. His shooting ability and maturity could help the Utes in 2013-14.
Guard, 6-3, Freshman
Last school: East High School
Another true, local freshman with a substantial amount of potential talent joined the Utes. Last season Utah's local freshman prodigy Jordan Loveridge proved to be a significant asset to the Runnin' Utes, and Krystkowiak can only hope for a similar performance from Van Dyke this year.
As a senior, Van Dyke was considered the second-best point guard in the state, led only by Lone Peak's standout Nick Emery. The East Leapord guard averaged 24.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game last year.
“He can do it all,” Dave Hammer, one of Van Dyke's coaches, told Deseret News when he committed to Utah. “He shoots the ball very well, he handles it well, he’s a team player and he’s really adept at every facet of the game. … Utah is getting a fantastic young man and a great player.”
Van Dyke delayed his LDS mission plans to play with the Utes this season and should find significant minutes at the point guard position.
Guard, 6'5", Junior
Last school: City College of San Francisco
As little brother to nine-year NBA veteran Dorell Wright, the junior transfer is hoping to earn significant minutes at Utah.
In a previous article by the Deseret News, Delon Wright called himself a "late-bloomer" since he wasn't recruited right out of high school. However, the tides recently changed. By committing to Utah, Delon turned down offers from Gonzaga, Washington and Washington State.
Last season Delon averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals per game. He led the City College of San Francisco to an undefeated regular season.
Utah State is hoping for health above all else in the upcoming season.
Last year the Aggies were so depleted from injuries and transfers that they refused to play in the postseason. This season, Utah State is healthy again, except for the foot injury to starting power forward Ben Clifford. This will, however, open up an opportunity for transfer Kyle Davis.
One of Utah State's most exciting newbies this season is Jalen Moore. The former Sky View High School guard is a hometown kid with the potential to make a splash in the Mountain West.
Here is a look at the seven newcomers to Utah State basketball for the 2013-14 season:
Guard, 6-3, Freshman
Last school: Judge Memorial High School
Young is a true local, freshman talent from the 2013 recruiting class. In his senior season at Judge Memorial, he averaged 9.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Young joins Utah State as a walk-on, and the Aggies are hoping they can continue to develop his skills in the coming years. Young has an exceptional amount of raw talent and is known for his killer shooting. Although he will likely be a true Aggie product for the coming years, he probably wont see a lot of in-game action at first.
Guard, 6-1, Freshman
Last school: Sierra Vista Mountain, Nevada
Noma'aea returned from serving his two-year LDS mission in Paris, France, and signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Utah State. Prior to leaving for his mission, he led Sierra Vista Mountain High School to a state semifinal by averaging 17.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. That was enough to catch the eye of USU head coach Stew Morrill.
"Viko has all the guard skills to be successful at the Division I level," Morrill said in a previous Deseret News article. "He shoots, penetrates and passes the ball very well. He is also confident in his abilities, which is an important quality for a young player. We are delighted to have Viko join our program."
Guard, 6-7, Freshman
Last school: Sky View High School
The state of Utah will never forget Jalen Moore's half-court buzzer beater to advance Sky View past the 4A semifinals in last year's state tournament. Luckily for locals, Jalen signed with Utah State and fans can continue to watch him play for years to come.
Last season, Jalen led Sky View to a 4A state title and was named the 4A MVP. Throughout the season, Jalen averaged 21.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Moore should see significant time as he gains strength and continues to develop his game.
The local, hometown kid from Cache Valley is expected to develop into an elite Division I basketball player. Jimmy Moore, Jalen's father, played at Utah State in the '70s and Jalen will look to follow in his father's footsteps.
Forward, 6-7, Sophomore
Last school: Southern Utah University
Davis returned from his LDS mission in Michigan earlier this year and joins the Aggies as a sophomore. He started his freshman year at Southern Utah before leaving to serve his mission. At Southern Utah, Davis gained valuable college experience and averaged 10.8 points and six rebounds per game.
Prior to Southern Utah, as a senior Davis led Alta High School to a 5A state title and received several MVP awards. That same year he averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks for the Hawks.
Davis is expected to play a key role as a power forward for the Aggies this season, and will likely start for the first few weeks due to Ben Clifford's foot injury. In the team's final scrimmage before exhibition games started, Davis tallied 19 points and pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds for the only double-double in the game.
Guard, 6-3, Freshman
Last school: Dublin High School, California
McGlaston is an impressive young athlete from California. He can score in a variety of ways — including dunking — and has great potential at both ends of the court. Morrill has confidence the freshman guard can progress and develop his game in the next few years.
"He has the talent to become a very good Mountain West Conference performer on both ends of the court," Morrill said in a press release. "We are excited about adding a wing player with JoJo's potential."
As a high school senior, McGlaston led Dublin to a record of 27-7 overall and its first Diablo Foothill Athletic League title since 1973. He averaged 22 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season.
Forward, 6-7, Freshman
Last school: Albuquerque High School, New Mexico
This will be a development year for New Mexico native Croasdell, as he will redshirt in 2013-14 before departing for an LDS mission.
Last season he averaged a double-double with 10.7 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. He also recorded an impressive four-plus blocks per game on average.
Center, 7-0, Freshman
Last school: Prior Lake High School, Minnesota
Coming all the way to Utah State from Minnesota, Shanks is a 7-footer with loads of potential. Like most freshman big men entering the college ranks, Shanks will need to work on his strength. However, he demonstrates a good post-up game, and his work ethic will help him grow in the Aggie program.
As a senior at Prior Lake High School, Shanks averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. After his junior year he was ranked among the best centers in the nation by ESPN.
This season will likely be the time for Morrill to grow and develop his newest big man.