BYU head coach Dave Rose addressed the Mountain West Conference media Thursday prior to the start of fall practices on Friday evening.
PROVO -- After six months of waiting, BYU head coach Dave Rose was happy to conduct the team's first full practice Friday night in the Richards Building. The practice marked the beginning of fall practices.
"I've been looking forward to this time for the past six months," Rose said. "Since I got the job, this is the first time I've been able to really coach. It was a good start. I thought everyone really competed out there. That's what we are looking for. The roles the guys will play this season will become apparent through competitive practices."
Coming off a disappointing 9-21 season after five straight postseason appearances, BYU looks to return to the ranks of conference contenders and postseason invitees under the direction of Rose, who took over in April after former coach Steve Cleveland departed for Fresno State.
"We have a good core from last year and we'll see how the new guys push the returning players," Rose said. "I'm very excited about our coaching staff. Our team will play with a lot of passion. I expect us to be very competitive."
Rose has seven returning lettermen, five of whom were at least part-time starters last year. Honorable mention All-MWC guard Austin Ainge was the team's second-leading scorer and top assist man last year, and junior forward Keena Young was BYU's leading rebounder. Junior swingman Jimmy Balderson, who led Canada in scoring at the World University Games this summer, junior center Derek Dawes, who made 13 starts, and junior guard Mike Rose, who led BYU with 56 treys with seven starts, also return.
BYU's two other returning lettermen started at least one game last year. Junior guard Sam Burgess appeared in 27 games with one start, and senior swingman Brock Reichner earned playing time late in the season and proved to be a strong leader, solid shooter and tough defender.
Several newcomers, along with the redshirt-freshmen duo of Trent Plaisted and David Burgess, should make a bid for significant playing time this season. Both Plaisted, a 6-foot-11 power forward who can play on the perimeter, and Burgess, a 6-foot-10 center with excellent offensive post skills, had their seasons end because of injury last year. Both players should have an impact this season. Another redshirt freshman on the 2005-06 roster is returned missionary Jermaine Odjegba. The 6-foot-7 forward from West Palm Beach, Fla., was a redshirt on BYU's 2003 NCAA team before leaving to serve a two-year mission in Nashville, Tenn.
Freshman Lee Cummard has the ability to make a difference on the perimeter. The 6-foot-6 guard was one of the top shooting guard prospects in the West in 2004 before he served as a missionary. Cummard, Plaisted, Burgess and Chris Miles made up BYU's 2004 top-20 recruiting class. Miles, who was the only one of the four to play for the Cougars last season, has departed to serve a two-year mission in Portland, Ore.
Other newcomers joining the 2005-06 roster include Utah's 4A MVP Jackson Emery and junior college transfers Rashaun Broadus and Fernando Malaman. Emery, a 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, and Lone Peak High School, was the 2005 Mr. Basketball award recipient considered the top high school player in Utah. Broadus, a very quick 6-foot point guard from Mililani, Hawaii, is a junior who was the leading scorer and three-point shooter at Western Nebraska Community College. Malaman, a native of Limeira, Brazil, is a 6-foot-9 junior power forward who earned all-region honors at Arizona Western College. Vuk Ivanovic, a 6-foot-10 post player from Serbia and Montenegro, has also joined the Cougars but will have to sit out this season after transferring from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa.