PROVO -- With the the addition of six newcomers and the return of 1999 WAC Freshman of the Year Mark Bigelow from an LDS Church mission, the BYU men's basketball roster is tentatively set for the 2001-02 season.
BYU's six newcomers include three freshmen and three transfers. Two highly touted recruits -- Jared Jensen of Plain City, Utah, and Shawn Opunui of Orem, Utah -- signed with the Cougars in November. Jensen, a 6-foot-9 forward, earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School. The 5-foot-11 Opunui averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission.
Four additional players recently announced they will attend BYU next fall, including freshman Jimmy Balderson from Magrath, Alberta, and transfers Ricky Bower from the University of Wisconsin, Jake Shoff from Weber State University and Jon Carlisle from the University of Utah. Bower and Shoff will redshirt next season because of transfer rules while Carlisle, who returned from a mission earlier this year, is eligible to play but will be a junior because of a Mountain West Conference rule requiring student-athletes to lose a year of eligibility when transferring between member schools.
Carlisle, a 6-foot-9 forward/center from Salt Lake City, last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Orlando Magic center Michael Doleac, averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. He averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds at Brighton High School in 1997 and was one of three players, including new Cougar teammate Shoff, to earn Region 4 Tri-Player of the Year honors.
Shoff, a 6-foot-8 junior forward/center from Alpine, Utah, started 19 of 28 games last year at Weber State, scoring 7.4 points and pulling down a team-best 6.0 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the floor. Prior to serving a mission to Honduras, Shoff averaged 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds his freshman season with the Wildcats. He averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists his senior year at American Fork High School.
Bower, a 6-foot-4 junior combo guard, played 14 minutes per game last year at Wisconsin and averaged 4.3 points. An excellent shooter, he shot 44 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the line. Prior to serving a mission to Poland, Bower played his freshman season at Ricks College, where he was named Region 8 MVP after averaging 16 points and making 48 percent of his three-point attempts. Brother of former Cougar guard Danny Bower, the Meridian, Idaho, native prepped at Skyview High School and was named the state's Mr. Basketball, averaging 26.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
Balderson is a 6-foot-5 point guard who averaged 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while leading Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada to a 32-3 record this past season. He shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line.
In all, BYU's roster includes three seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and four freshmen. In addition to Bower and Shoff, 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Jacob Chrisman will redshirt next season. A two-sport athlete, Chrisman is a righthanded professional pitching prospect on BYU's baseball team and plans to play a full baseball season next year.
Senior Eric Nielsen, a 6-foot-9 forward, is the lone starter returning from last year's NCAA Tournament starting lineup, but senior point guard Matt Montague, junior forward Travis Hansen, senior guard Michael Vranes, sophomore forward Bart Jepsen and Bigelow all have starting experience. Montague has played a starting role for much of his three seasons and Hansen earned a starting assignment last year before being injured. Vranes is a two-year starter forced to sit out last season after foot surgery and Jepsen started nine times as a freshman in 1998. Bigelow, a 6-foot-6 swingman, was BYU's leading scorer and rebounder as a freshman in 1999 before leaving on a mission.
2001-02 BYU Basketball Alphabetical Roster
Name Pos. Ht. Wt Cl. Exp. Hometown (Previous School)
Jimmy Balderson G 6-5 200 Fr. HS Magrath, Alberta (Magrath HS)
#Mark Bigelow G/F 6-6 190 So. 1L Olympia, Wash. (Olympia HS)
Daniel Bobik G 6-6 195 So. 1L Newbury Park, Calif. (Newbury Park HS)
*Ricky Bower G 6-4 185 Jr. TR Meridian, Idaho (Skyview HS/Ricks/Wisconsin)
**Jon Carlisle F/C 6-9 260 Jr. TR Salt Lake City, Utah (Brighton HS / Utah)
'Jacob Chrisman F 6-8 215 So. 1L Provo, Utah (Provo HS)
Derek Dawes C 6-11 255 So. 1L Salt Lake City, Utah (Cottonwood HS)
Travis Hansen F 6-6 210 Jr. TR/1L Orem, Utah (Utah Valley State College)
Dan Howard C 7-0 225 So. RS/1L Kaysville, Utah (Davis HS)
Jared Jensen F 6-9 240 Fr. HS Plain City, Utah (Fremont HS)
%Bart Jepsen F 6-9 235 So. 1L/RS Roswell, N.M. (Roswell HS)
Matt Montague G 6-0 190 Sr. 3L Louisville, Ky. (Male HS)
Eric Nielsen F 6-9 215 Sr. 3L Fremont, Calif. (Irvington HS)
#Shawn Opunui G 5-11 175 Fr. HS Orem, Utah (Orem HS)
%Jesse Pinegar F 6-9 215 Fr. RS Salt Lake City, Utah (Brighton HS)
*Jake Shoff F/C 6-8 255 Jr. TR Alpine, Utah (American Fork HS/Weber State)
##Michael Vranes G 6-3 190 Sr. 2L Taylorsville, Utah (Taylorsville HS)
Head Coach: Steve Cleveland (UC-Irvine, '76), 5th Year
Associate Head Coach: David Rose (Houston, '83)
Assistant Coaches: Andy Toolson (BYU, '90); John Wardenburg (BYU, '86)
Director of Basketball Operations: Nate Call (BYU, '93)
* Transfer player will redshirt 2001-02 season
** Transfer returning from LDS Church mission
' Redshirting 2001-02 season to concentrate on baseball
# Returned from LDS Church Mission
## Sat out 2000-01 season with foot injury
% Redshirted last season (2000-01)