As we return from an eventful Thanksgiving week, we'll take a look at two questions. One from a mother wondering what it takes to play Division I basketball and another about something that hasn't happened since anyone on the team was born.
Karla from Phoenix asks:
This is very obviously a mother's question. I have a pre-teen son who wants to play at the collegiate level. I know it takes a lot of work and I want him to go into it with his eyes open. Did all of BYU's players pretty much play basketball year-round before college? What other sports did they play in addition to basketball? What other interests did they have to give up in order to get to the level of play that they are at?
Every scholarship player for the Cougars played mostly year-round between high school basketball and club or AAU teams. There was a split between playing other sports and focusing solely on basketball. Freshmen Frank Bartley IV and Luke Worthington played football through high school, but both said they decided to pursue basketball after high school instead of football. Skyler Halford said he played baseball, football and a little soccer when he was younger, but once 9th grade rolled around he focused on basketball. Halford also said he didn't feel like he missed out not playing sports or filling his time with other hobbies and activities. He had learned how to play the piano when he was younger, but put that off until he served his mission and now he keeps up with it a little better.
So to summarize, dedicating every waking moment to basketball isn't necessary, but prioritizing basketball over other interests probably is on some level.
Lloyd from Aspen asks:
When was the last time a Cougar recorded a triple-double?
On Tuesday night, Matt Carlino got close to a triple double with 10 rebounds, 11 assists, but only five points. No Cougar has accomplished the feat since 1988, before anyone on this BYU team was born. There have been four Cougars who reached double digits in three different categories in a single game and each one did it once in their career. Kresimir Cosic was the first to accomplish it with 15 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists in a 93-83 win over Niagara on Jan. 17, 1973. Danny Ainge did it in a 100-91 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 28, 1977. He scored 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 13 assists. Four years later on March, 7, 1981, Fred Roberts became the second Cougar to do it with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 95-76 win over Utah. The last triple-double came on Feb. 13, 1988, as Michael Smith helped beat Colorado State 86-80 with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Those four players are second, third, sixth and 14th in career scoring at BYU. Smith is the career leader in rebounds for BYU, with Cosic second and Roberts sixth. Ainge is second in career assists and Roberts is 10th. Cosic is the career leader in double-doubles at BYU. Smith averaged 7.5 rebounds per game in 1987-88 and averaged 2.5 assists per game over his career. Roberts averaged 8 rebounds per game in 1980-81 and averaged 2.9 assists for his career. Ainge averaged 5.8 rebounds per game his freshman year of 1977-78 and averaged more than five assists per game that season as well.
Carlino got close on Tuesday night and he had approached it against Mount St. Mary's earlier this season and against Washington in the NIT last year. Carlino averages almost five assists per game which is the most in BYU history, so he does have a pretty good baseline for getting to double figures there and a good rebounding game with an average scoring night would also get him close in any given game.
Collinsworth profiles a lot like Roberts. Roberts averaged three assists and seven rebounds a game in his career, this season Collinsworth averages nine rebounds and five assists. A good game distributing the ball puts Collinsworth well within striking distance of a triple-double. He was four assists away in the season opener against Weber State, three rebounds and one assist shy of a triple-double against Stanford and on Saturday against Utah State he was two assists and three points short. Collinsworth has topped double digits in rebounds three times this year and six times in his career. He has never broken double digits in assists.
Have a question you'd liked to have answered?
Send it in with your name and hometown to firstname.lastname@example.org. The mailbag runs on Wednesday each week with a Monday night deadline for questions.