Three Underclassmen To Leave Program
PROVO -- BYU men's basketball coach Steve Cleveland today released his tentative roster for the 2002-03 season and announced that three underclassmen are leaving the program. Freshmen Jesse Pinegar and Shawn Opunui have decided to transfer while sophomore Jon Carlisle has decided to discontinue playing basketball while finishing his schooling at BYU.
"I have met with each of the players about their individual circumstances and goals," Cleveland said. "These decisions were reached based on the best interest of each young man. Both Shawn and Jesse will be looking to go to a school where they can play significant minutes."
Opunui missed nearly the entire 2001-02 season due to a thumb injury, playing in four games while averaging 1.5 points and 2.8 assists in 6.5 minutes per game. He recorded career highs of six points and 10 assists in his only significant playing time of the season, logging 20 minutes in a blowout win over Fort Lewis College. He graduated from Orem High School in 1999 before serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pinegar completed two years at BYU, redshirting in 2000-01 before averaging 0.6 points and 0.4 rebounds in seven games during an injury-shortened freshman campaign this past season. A highly regarded recruit and talented offensive player, the 6-foot-9 forward has not played competitively since his junior year at Brighton High School (Salt Lake City) in 1999 due to a series of shoulder injuries. Cleveland said Pinegar's shoulder should be fully recovered by late summer.
Carlisle played in 24 of BYU's 30 games in 2001-02 after returning from an LDS Church mission. A transfer from the University of Utah, Carlisle contributed 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in eight minutes per game while being limited because of conditioning and health issues suffered during his missionary service.
"Jon has decided to not play basketball," Cleveland said. "He will, however, continue full-time as a student at BYU."
Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson will vacate another roster spot to serve a two-year LDS Church mission. He plans on returning to BYU.
The 2002-03 Cougar roster will include six returning lettermen, three returned missionaries, two transfers who redshirted last season and four or five new additions, including three highly regarded junior college players. Three starters -- second-team All-Mountain West Conference guard Travis Hansen, honorable mention All-MWC forward/guard Mark Bigelow and MWC Co-Freshman of the Year forward/center Jared Jensen -- return from an 18-12 team that advanced to the second round of the 2002 National Invitation Tournament.
Junior combo guard Ricky Bower, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Wisconsin, and junior forward Jake Shoff, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Weber State, will get their chance to compete after sitting out this past season. Bower is considered among the team's best shooters and is expected to play a significant role on the perimeter. Shoff was Weber State's leading rebounder (6.0) as a sophomore. Freshman point guard Austin Ainge (6-foot-1), son of BYU All-American Danny Ainge, and sophomores Marc Roberts (6-foot-2, guard) and John Allen (6-foot-7, forward) return from missions. Ainge will likely redshirt in 2002-03.
The 2002-03 edition of the Cougars will have significantly more experience and depth than last year's team, which had only two seniors and one junior. Hansen, the lone senior, returns as the team's leading scorer and rebounder, while Bigelow, the team's second-leading scorer, will be one of eight juniors on the team. The remainder of the tentative roster includes four sophomores, including Jensen, who has decided to play this season instead of leaving for a mission, and one freshman.
Additional players may still join the Cougars before the completion of the signing period on May 15.
BYU MEN'S BASKETBALL
2002-2003 TENTATIVE ROSTER
Player Hometown Cl. Ht. Pos.
Ainge, Austin Gilbert, Ariz. FR 6-1 Guard
Allen, John Houston, Texas SO 6-7 Forward
Araujo, Rafael Sao Paulo, Brazil JR 6-11 Center
Bigelow, Mark Olympia, Wash. JR 6-7 Guard/Forward
Bower, Ricky Meridian, Idaho JR 6-4 Guard
Hansen, Travis Orem, Utah SR 6-6 Guard/Forward
Howard, Dan Kaysville, Utah JR 7-0 Center
Jensen, Jared West Haven, Utah SO 6-9 Forward/Center
Jepsen, Bart Roswell, N.M. JR 6-9 Forward
Lemes, Luiz Sao Paulo, Brazil JR 6-3 Guard
Nashif, Terry Vancouver, Wash. SO 5-10 Guard
Roberts, Marc Provo, Utah SO 6-2 Guard
Shoff, Jake Alpine, Utah JR 6-9 Forward
Woodberry, Kevin Phoenix, Ariz. JR 6-0 Guard