BYU head coach Dave Rose and senior Brock Zylstra spent a few minutes talking about this year's team as part of the 2012-13 West Coast Conference Men's basketball Tip-Off Event.
Coming out of the Mountain West Conference, talk about that first year in the West Coast Conference and how it looked from your point of view.
Dave Rose: I think there are way more similarities than there are differences. The biggest difference is the venue – the MWC maybe has larger venues with larger crowds but as far as the competition and excitement, it’s very similar. I’ve been very impressed. I know the players a lot better now and I know we’re in for another tough year. This is a fantastic league. One thing comforting to us, and our fans, is that we had a successful season last year – we might not have done as well as we would’ve liked but we still got to play in the NCAA Tournament. That’s a great opportunity for our program.
Brock, what about your experience of playing in both leagues?
Brock Zylstra: I think coach hit it pretty well but the routine you get in as a player – you know what hotels you’re staying in, you know the arenas – I think that has been the biggest difference. As far as everything else goes you’re still playing basketball and you’re still competing against really good teams. It’s just basketball after all that other stuff.
Talk about the experience you have on this year's team.
Dave Rose: We certainly have a more experienced team going into this year than last year. Last year we had guys who had been in the program but they weren’t frontline guys. This year we’ve got Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws who have played a lot of minutes for us and were all-conference selections. We also bring back Brandon Davies, Brock (Zylstra) and Nate Austin – we have a lot of guys on our roster who have played important minutes for us coming in. That’ll be the difference this season. There’s no question that depth is the key to any good team, but especially to a team looking to win a conference championship. We’ll see though – in this conference your team has to be good early, good in the middle and good late.
What’s been the toughest West Coast Conference arena to play in?
Dave Rose: I would say Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga – I guess I’ll just list all the places we lost. No, but really, I think if you ask our players they’d say the feel of those venues is just a little different than the MWC but they are just as exciting and emotional.
How important is senior leadership to your team?
Brock Zylstra: I think there are a few of us on the team that have been playing for a few years who will step up. We have a few new guys on the team this year and everything is new to them so they look to somebody that has been there. We’re there to lead those younger guys and do whatever we can to help them out.
Do you think this conference helps prepare you for the postseason?
Dave Rose: There’s no question it does. This conference is extremely competitive. I think the players are very talented and the coaches are very strategic. One thing we had to work on last year was, sometimes, changing our plan of attack in the middle of the game. Hopefully our experience from last year can help us be successful this year.