January 18, 2009

Frustrated BYU Basketball Fan Rant

I am completely miserable BYU Fans!
When Steve Cleveland stepped away from BYU Basketball after the '04-'05 season, to go onto to Fresno State. I didn't blame him. He put BYU Basketball back to being a yearly competitor in this league, and restored the Marriott Center Magic. But there was only one guy I wanted to see as coach for BYU Basketball; and that was Dave Rose.

I was thrilled that Rose got the job especially since one year prior Rose was a serious candidate for the Head Coaching position at his alma-mater Houston in 2004. But current Houston coach Tom Penders got it over Rose. So there was a feeling that BYU needed to lock up Rose immediately to keep him around in Cougar Town. I loved his ties to a great program like Phi-Slamma-Jamma of the 80s, and the fact he has all the connections one could possibly have in the JUCO ranks. Rose and Cleveland were well known for that, and JC coaches knew players would be taken care of in Cougar Town.

But Rose being hired was exciting. I really felt that BYU Basketball was going to be elevated to a new level, and through three and a half seasons, this program has. BYU has been dominant at home under Rose losing only two games. The program seems to have improved drastically on the road, when that was always an issue during the Cleveland tenure, and the history of this program in general. Also, this program is getting a lot more talented players and reloading.

But with all the great things Rose has done with this program there are still a few things that have been eating at me as a Cougar Cager fan. Can't break through in big games, and lacking a player on the wing who can put it on the floor and create his own shot. Those are the two things BYU Basketball need to improve on in the coming years.

The only "big win" we can really claim in the Rose era thus far is the win over Louisville in Las Vegas last season, when they were ranked #6 in some polls, but that was without the Cardinals captain, Padgett and Juan Palacios wasn't there either. Add in the fact, that it was a neutral floor, so what can we really take from that?

This program has had so many close calls against some great teams lately. North Carolina, Michigan State, Xavier, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Wake Forest. When will we break through? What's it going to take?

Wake Forest is proving to be one of the best teams in the nation right now, and is probably a favorite to win the National Title if you were to make a bet today on it. They are one of the most physical teams in America as well, we outrebounded them, had the 2nd largest crowd in the 37-year history of the Marriott Center and still couldn't do it. It's just frustrating right now as a BYU Basketball fan, because a game like that could of actually gave us some credibility come Selection Sunday.

From here on out, we basically have to win the rest, including the UNLV Invitational, and the best we probably get is a 7 seed.

The New Mexico game was a humbling experience. Granted, I'd rather lose by 19 and get blown out of the gymnasium then lose like the team did against ASU in Glendale. But man, that was a disappointing effort. Yeah, Albuquerque was riled up and ready to go for it, including their infamous fan, "The Snake", but the team should of played a lot better than that. And it raised some concerns the rest of the way out in conference. It worries me to think BYU is going to go back to their road woes again. I'm hoping not. Lee Cummard needs to emerge in these big game moments. He has faded away in every game that has been close, with the lone exception being Long Beach State to open the season where he single handidly won the game. But other than that, Lee has been in a funk. Particularly since that Weber State game in Ogden. He just hasn't found a consistent shooting groove from game to game. It's hit and miss with Lee anymore, and that can't fly in conference. Especially on the road, with everyone and their fan bases bringing their best efforts as always for the Cougars coming to town.

This rant could go on and on, so I'm gonna wrap it up. But as I said earlier, this program needs to find an athletic wing player at around 6'6 to 6'8 who can put it on the floor and get to the basket, and create his own shot. Cummard is a great defender and a guy who can fill up a stat sheet, but he can't but it on the deck and take over.

Imagine Luiz De Toledo and Jean Carlos De Otero on this team. Problem solved with Toledo on the offensive end and Otero who was supposed to be the defensive stopper.

Hopefully, in the future Rose can find a player like them to get in school. Because athletes like that could elevate BYU Basketball. Look at our team with a real Point Guard finally. Its on the up and up, but I still get pessimistic at times because we've yet to prove we can come through when it counts. And with the NCAA Selection Committee and a clown like Utah's Chris Hill on board, I'm not optimistic about our first round matchup in the NCAA Tourney. We will get some athletic team that felt that deserved a better seed, and will come out driven and focused to prove a point. While UNLV who will probably win the UNLV Invitational will get a higher seed and get a favorable first round matchup like Kent State again. Sheesh.

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