BYU opens the 2001-2002 regular season Saturday when it travels to face the University of San Diego in Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Cougars of the Mountain West and the Toreros of the West Coast Conference are meeting for the first time. The game will be taped-delay broadcast on KSL Newsradio 1160 with Bill Riley and Mark Durrant calling the action. The broadcast is scheduled for 11 p.m. MT because of the BYU football broadcast on KSL. There is no telecast of the game in Utah. BYU is coming off a 90-70 exhibition win over the London Leopards Saturday. BYU split its two exhibition contests, losing to the EA Sports Southwest All-Stars at the overtime buzzer, 84-81.
BYU, Steve Cleveland (67-57 in fifth year; same overall)
USD, Brad Holland (110-86 in eight year; 133-117 in 10th year overall)
Channel 4 San Diego
Play-by-Play: Jim Laslavic
Game Analyst: Jim Brogan
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - delayed at 11 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play - BIll Riley
Game Analyst - Mark Durrant
Webcast available at www.usdtoreros.com
Audio available at www.KSL.com (11 p.m. MT) or www.kcbq.com (live)
BYU's Probable Starters:
(2000-2001 stats, unless noted otherwise)
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 15.0* 6.3*
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 6.2 3.8
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. -- --
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 5.5 3.0
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 2.2 1.8
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 195 So. 3.5 1.4
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. -- --
G 12 Shawn Opunui 5-11 175 Fr. -- --
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. -- --
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. -- --
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.9 0.6
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 2.4** 2.1**
*Stats from 1999 season before serving an LDS Church Mission
** Stats from 1998 with the University of Utah
The Toreros return two starters and their top two scorers along with seven lettermen from last year's 16-13 team that finished fourth in the West Coast Conference. USD opened its exhibition season on Nov. 5 with a 97-87 win over the EA Sports West All-Stars. Senior Sam Adamo (6-4, G) scored 25 points to lead the Toreros while junior Jason Blair (6-7, F) added 17 and senior Andre Laws (6-1, G) put in 16. USD lost to the Cal Poly Pamona Broncos Tuesday in exhibition play. The Toreros led 34-28 at the half but the Broncos came from behind for the win with USD committing 25 turnovers. Blair led USD with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Laws added 14 and Adamo 11, all in the first half. He fouled out with five minutes remaining. Adamo and Laws provide leadership as returning starters in their senior seasons. Key newcomers on this year's USD team include Freshmen Corey Belser (6-5, G), Nick Lewis (6-9, F) and Michael McGrain (6-2, G). McGrain started against EA Sports and scored 10 points and had five assists. USD is coached by Brad Holland (UCLA, 1979), who is 110-86 in seven seasons in San Diego.
This will be the first-ever meeting between BYU and USD.
USD Quick Facts:
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Colors: Columbia Blue, Navy and White
Home Arena: Jenny Craig Pavilion
Conference: West Coast
Athletic Director: Tom Iannacone
Head Coach: Brad Holland
Alma Mater: UCLA (1979)
Best time to call: Weekday mornings
Office Phone: (619) 260-4829
Overall Record (Years): 133-117 (9)
Record at School (Years): 110-86 (7)
Assistant Coaches: David Fizdale, Steve Flint, Sam Scholl
Overall Record: 16-13
Conf. Record/Finish: 7-7
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 7/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Andre Laws, 6-1, 190, Sr., G (10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Sam Adamo, 6-4, 190, Sr., G (9.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Ted Gosen
Office: (619) 260-4745
Home: (858) 486-3284
Fax: (619) 260-2990
Press Row: (619) 260-7555
Athletics Web Site
2001-02 BYU Outlook
With the loss of four starters from last year's 24-9 Mountain West Conference championship team, coach Steve Cleveland has some significant holes to fill in 2001-02.
Senior forward Eric Nielsen is the lone starter returning from last year but Mark Bigelow, the 1999 WAC Freshman of the Year, returns after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Three others -- senior guard Matt Montague, junior forward Travis Hansen and sophomore forward Bart Jepsen -- have starting experience.
Bigelow, who returned from an LDS Church mission in June, was BYU's top scorer (15.0) and rebounder (6.3) as a swingman before departing on a mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He has grown an inch to 6-foot-7 and has been working on getting back into basketball condition since his return.
Nielsen provides senior leadership as a three-year starter. He averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and will take on a larger role in 2001-02. Senior point guard Matt Montague adds valuable leadership on the court having led the team in assists during each of his three previous seasons. Travis Hansen should play a significant role in 2001-02 as a scorer, rebounder and defender. The athletic forward earned a starting assignment last year before being injured. Bart Jepsen started nine times as a freshman in 1998. He redshirted last year to recover from a broken leg sustained during his two-year mission.
Two recruits -- forward/center Jared Jensen and point guard Shawn Opunui -- will likely get the opportunity to play significant roles in their freshman campaigns. Jensen, a 6-foot-9 physical player, earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game last season at Fremont High School (Utah). The 5-foot-11 Opunui averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School (Utah) in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission.
Even though the Cougars lose three starters from the perimeter, including all-conference guards Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting, the Cougars should be strong on the outside this year. Hansen, Bigelow and Daniel Bobik will likely split up most of the minutes on the wings. Bigelow is a proven player and Hansen has the ability to be a top scorer. Bobik, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, showed signs of his potential with season highs of 16 points, six rebounds and three assists last year in a reserve role. Freshmen Jimmy Balderson, a 6-foot-6 guard from Alberta, Canada, could also earn time. He averaged 34 points in high school last year.
At the point, Montague will see the majority of the minutes. Montague is an experience leader with 57 starts while averaging 25.8 minutes in 92 career games. He has led the Cougars in assists during each of his three seasons. Opunui is an explosive athlete who has the potential to earn significant playing time. A penetrator who can create scoring opportunities for his teammates, he is also a solid scoring threat from outside and can get above the rim to finish. Terry Nashif, an all-state point from Vancouver, Wash., is a quick, intelligent freshman who could also contribute.
Cleveland's biggest uncertainties are in the post. Gone is MWC MVP Mekeli Wesley, the team's leading scorer and rebounder. In addition, three other players who would have played a strong role inside this season will be gone for all or part of the year. Reserve center Derek Dawes (6-11 sophomore) decided this summer he will leave on an LDS Church mission and two-sport athlete Jacob Chrisman (6-8 sophomore) announced during the summer his intention to redshirt basketball this year to concentrate on baseball. With baseball team workouts now complete, he has just this week started practicing with the basketball team. There is the possibility he could play this season. Forward Jesse Pinegar (6-9 redshirt freshman) is still out after shoulder surgery in June. He may return in December. Nielsen will play the 4-position. A good shooter, he shot 61 percent from the floor on mostly mid-range jumpers last year. Pinegar, a versatile and talented offensive scorer with three-point range, and Jepsen, a strong rebounder and defender, will likely see most of the minutes while Nielsen is not on the court. If Chrisman decides to play he could be a significant contributor.
Jensen and Dan Howard (7-0 sophomore) will get a chance to prove themselves at the center position. Jensen is an effective scorer with his back to the basket and could get time on the court at both post positions. Carlisle, a 6-10 transfer who last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac, has the talent to be a strong contributor but will likely redshirt while trying to get backinto playing shape after returning from his LDS church mission. Jepsen could also prove a factor at center. At 6-foot-9, he is a physical player who runs the floor well and is a solid rebounder and defender.
Â• GONE ARE BIG THREE -- Having lost the services of MWC Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley and all-conference guards Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting, the Cougars have some significant shoes to fill in 2001-02. Wesley led the team in scoring (17.2) and rebouding (5.5) while earning honorable mention All-America honors. Lyday was first-team All-MWC while scoring 16.4 points per game and Whiting earned second-team all-conference accolades while contributing 14.2 points per contest.
Â• VRANES UNABLE TO COME BACK -- Michael Vranes was attempting to comeback from a foot injury that sidelined him all of last season but his foot has not repsonded and he will not be able to play his senior season. The team's top perimeter defender and third leading scorer as a sophomore, he was a two-year starter and would have played significant minutes this year. He already used a medical redshirt prior to his freshman season.
Â• Two highly touted recruits -- Jared Jensen of Plain City, Utah, and Shawn Opunui of Orem, Utah -- join the Cougars after signing last 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 (Utah). The 5-foot-11 Opunui averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School (Utah) in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission.
Â• NEWCOMERS -- In addition to freshman signees Jared Jensen and Shawn Opunui, four additional players announced this spring that they will attend BYU, 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 as a sophomore but may redshirt will working to return to playing condition.
Â• REDSHIRTS IN 2001-02 -- In addition to transfers Ricky Bower and Jake Shoff, who must sit out the season due to transfer rules, fellow transfer Jon Carlisle may redshirt and 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Jacob Chrisman announced this summer he intends to redshirt the coming season to concentrate on baseball. After completing fall baseball workouts, he returned to basketball this week. It is possible he may not redshirt once he returns to basketball conditioning.
Â• MISSING IN THE POST -- Coach Steve Cleveland has lost the services of three post players who would have been significant contributors this year, although two could return for part of the season. Sophomore forward Jacob Chrisman, a professional pitching prospect on BYU's baseball team, decided to redshirt in order to play a full baseball season but has just returned to basketball practice and could still play this year. Redshirt freshman Jesse Pinegar will be out until December and possibly longer after having surgery on his left (non dominant) shoulder in June. It was the same injury that forced him to miss his senior year at Brighton High School. Sophomore center Derek Dawes announced this summer his decision to leave on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will be serving his mission in New Hampshire.
Â• COACHING STAFF ADDITIONS -- Former BYU player Andy Toolson and Pine View High School (St. George, Utah) coach John Wardenburg were hired as assistant coaches in May. Toolson joins Cleveland's staff after an 11-year professional career in Europe and the NBA, while Wardenburg comes to BYU with 11 years of coaching experience at the high school and junior college level. Former assistant coach Nathan Call was named director of basketball operations. Associate Head Coach Dave Rose remains in that capacity. Heath Schroyer, who had served alongside Cleveland, Rose and Call the past four seasons in Provo, left to accept an assistant position at Wyoming. Brian Santiago, Cleveland's administrative assistant the past four seasons, is BYU's assistant athletic director responsible for game operations.
2001-02 Schedule Notes
Â• Seven conference champions, including Pac-10 champion Stanford, and 12 games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year highlight BYU's 2001-02 men's basketball schedule. Other conference champions include Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference, Utah State of the Big West, Cal State Northridge of the Big Sky, Southern Utah of the Mid-Continent Conference and fellow co-champions Utah and Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference. Pepperdine and New Mexico also advanced to post-season play in the NIT tournament. Pepperdine placed second in the WCC behind NCAA qualifier Gonzaga and earned a 22-9 record, including an NIT win in Laramie over Wyoming. The Waves enter their first year under former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal. New Mexico also advanced in the NIT, losing in the second round to Pepperdine. Including two exhibition contests, BYU has 29 games, including 17 in the Marriott Center, on its schedule. The MWC tournament is Mar. 7-9, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Â• BYU vs. STANFORD -- The Cougars will face Stanford, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year with a 31-3 record, on ESPN in game two of the annual Las Vegas Showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. Host UNLV will play Texas in the first game on ESPN2.
Â• OPPONENTS WINNING PERCENTAGE -- BYU's 13 nonconference opponents earned a combined 234-156 (.600) record last year for an average record of 18-12. Instate rivals Utah State, Utah, Southern Utah and Weber State combined for an 87-38 record, winning nearly 70 percent of their games and earning two NCAA and one NIT berth. Nine teams who qualified for a postseason (five NCAA, four NIT).
Â• NONCONFERENCE -- BYU will play seven nonconference opponents who were on the Cougars' schedule last year and six that are new to the schedule, including two first-time opponents. BYU had a 5-2 record last year against the seven teams it will play again this season, with home wins over UC Santa Barbara, Utah State, Idaho and Southern Utah and a road win at Weber State. The two losses both came during the first road trip of the season at San Francisco and Arizona State. Stanford, Creighton, Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge, San Diego and Fort Lewis are all new opponents this year, with San Diego and Fort Lewis playing BYU for the first time. BYU faces teams from seven different conferences in 2001-02, including three West Coast Conference teams in San Diego, San Francisco and Pepperdine; three Big Sky teams in Cal State Northridge, Weber State and Idaho; two Pac-10 teams in Stanford and Arizona State; two Big West teams in Utah State and UC Santa Barbara; and one team each from the Missouri Valley Conference (Creighton), Mid-Continent Conference (Southern Utah), and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Fort Lewis).
Â• RADIO/TELEVISION -- All BYU games will be carried live on the Cougar Sports Radio Network, originating from KSL Newsradio 1160 AM in Salt Lake City. BYU is featured six times this season in the Mountain West television package with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional Television (ESPN+Plus) and ABC. The Cougars play twice on ESPN and four times on ESPN+Plus. BYU was originally scheduled to face UNLV in Las Vegas on ABC before the Sept. 11 attacks on America forced the Pro Bowl onto the same date. An additional 12 BYU games are part of the SportsWest Productions' package. SportsWest may also pick up the game at UNLV. SportsWest games are aired regionally in MWC markets, including KSL-TV, channel 5 in Salt Lake City.
Â• QUOTING CLEVELAND -- "We look forward to what should be a very challenging schedule this season. Seven teams won or shared their league titles and in Stanford we play one of the best teams in the country. We are happy to continue a relationship with teams like Arizona State, San Francisco and UC Santa Barbara while also adding new opponents like Creighton, who went 24-8 last year, and Pepperdine, who finished 22-9. Of course, our instate and conference games are all going to be very competitive. Our Mountain West schedule will be tough, especially with Wyoming and Utah returning virtually their entire teams from last year. New Mexico finished strong last year and will be very good as always and San Diego State is going to be a force to be reckoned with after adding some very talented players to an already much improved team. Every game in conference play will be a battle."
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
CAPSULE -- A three-year starter, Nielsen will play a big role for the Cougars in 2001-02 with the loss of the team's other four starters ... An intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, his 56.3 career field goal percentage ranks third all-time at BYU ... Nielsen and teammates Matt Montague and Michael Vranes were all freshmen members of the 1996-97 BYU team that finished 1-25 .... After returning from his mission, Nielsen has played the past two seasons for coach Cleveland , helping the Cougars earn a combined 46-20 record and two postseason tournament berths ... He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Matt Montague / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Montague provides leadership at the point having started 57 times and played in all 92 games in his three years ... Last year he started 12 games, primarily before Trent Whiting joined the team in December, but still lead the team in assists (2.9) while playing mostly a reserve role ... He has led the team in assists during each of his three seasons ... A hard-nosed competitor, he sees the floor well and is a great transition passer ... Career averages are 3.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Travis Hansen / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• forward
CAPSULE: . After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, he will be asked to play a more significant role for the Cougars in 2001-02 ... With an increase in playing time in 2001-02, Hansen has the talent to become an all-conference player ... He is very athletic ... His explosiveness gives him great potential as a scorer and rebounder ... He is most effective when slashing to the basket but has range from the three-point arc ... He was fifth in scoring last year (5.5) and also grabbed 3.0 boards per game ... He earned a starting position midway through the year before missing nine games in the middle of MWC play because of a fractured right foot. He played primarily a reserve role to senior Nathan Cooper after returning from his injury ... He started nine games and the Cougars had a 7-2 record in those games with loses at Colorado State and Wyoming, where he suffered the foot injury ... He played his freshman year at Utah Valley State College before going on an LDS Church mission ... He sat out a year as a redshirt before joining the Cougars in 2000-2001.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE -- Bigelow could be one of the Cougars top players and among the top performers in the Mountain West if he returns to his pre-mission form ... He was BYU's leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (6.3) in 1998-99 before going on a two-year LDS Church mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. ... He should play a significant role this season if he can regain his physical conditioning ... He returned from his mission in June having grown an inch to 6-7 ... He returned at 185 points ... He could play the 2 or the 3 spot on the floor for the Cougars ... He is an excellent shooter and extremely intelligent player ... A gifted offensive player with a great mid-range game ... He moves well without the ball ... He was the 1999 WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year, All-WAC Second Team and All-Newcomer Team in 1999 ... He had a career-high 33 points at Washington State and twice recorded highs of 14 rebounds in a game.
Daniel Bobik / 6-6 Â• 195Â• sophomoreÂ• guard
CAPSULE: Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games as a freshman ... He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline ... He will compete for a starting role in 2001-02 with the loss of BYU's all-conference guard line of Whiting and Lyday ... He has good range and is a crafty passer with good court awareness ... He could play some point but is primarily a wing player ... He enrolled at BYU for his freshman season after returning from an LDS Church mission to the Dominican Republic ... He was one of the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland.
Dan Howard / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: Howard played in 14 games last year in limited action ... The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man ... He has made 8 of his 11 field goal attempts as a Cougar ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the ball and could be a factor in inside this year, especially with the Cougars' losses in the post ... He has not had the opportunity to play a lot of consistent minutes (he played a career-best 12 minutes at San Francisco last year) since last playing for his high school team in 1996.
Bart Jepsen / 6-9 Â• 235 Â• redshirt sophomore Â• forward
CAPSULE: Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission ... He had suffered a severe break of his leg on his mission ... He will likely play a significant role in the middle as a rebounder and defender who can run the floor well ... A strong physical presence and good rebounder, he could play a role similar to that of outgoing senior Nate Knight ... Before a two-year LDS Church mission, Jepsen started nine times while playing 27 games as a freshman in 1997-98 in Cleveland's first season ... He is the younger brother of former Cougar center Bret Jepsen.
Jesse Pinegar / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
CAPSULE: Pinegar redshirted last year after coming to BYU as one of the Cougars' top recruits and the first of BYU's top-20 recruiting class to commit to the Cougars ... He was rated the top center in the West as a junior and sat out his senior year of high school after shoulder surgery ...An extremely skilled offensive player, he was expected to play a strong role for BYU this season but again injured his shoulder in June ... He will be out until at least December and perhaps longer to recover from the surgery to his left (non dominant) shoulder ... The latest surgery should completely repair the injury ... A mobile, athletic player, he can play the 3, 4 or 5 positions and has excellent range beyond the three-point line ... He is an outstanding passer and a very skilled young offensive post player ... He made significant strides in the weight room this past season before the injury .... He has the tools to play a significant role once healthy.
Jared Jensen / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• forward/center
Jensen 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. He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior when he also earned Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News All-State honors. He is a talented offensive player in the low-post who can also score with his jumper. He played center in high school but will likely play power forward in college. He should get the opportunity to play as a freshman with the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post.
Shawn Opunui / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
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. A strong offensive player and solid defender, Opunui shot nearly 91 percent from the free throw line, third best in state history, and 40 percent on three-point attempts. His 401 assists put him on the state's top-10 all-time list. He is an athletic point guard who has excellent open court passing skills and is an outstanding three-point shooter. His ability to break defenses down with the dribble should create offensive opportunities for his teammates. He loves pushing the ball up the floor as a true point guard with great court vision. A super passer and great penetrator, Opunui should have an immediate impact on the program with the loss of all-MWC guards Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday and the uncertain return of Michael Vranes, who sat out last year with an injury.
Jon Carlisle / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• junior Â• forward/center
Carlisle is from Salt Lake City and last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac. He 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. He is working out to get back into playing shape. His playing weight as a freshman was 223 pounds. He may redshirt this season.
Jimmy Balderson / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
Balderson is a 6-foot-5 point guard who will walk on in the fall. He 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.
Steve Cleveland (67-57, 5th season)
Steve Cleveland enters his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars in 2001-02. In his four seasons at BYU, Cleveland has proven to be a first-rate recruiter, an excellent coach and player developer, and above all, a winner.
Last year Cleveland guiding BYU to its first NCAA tournament bid since 1995, its first conference regular season title since 1993 and its first conference tournament championship since 1992. While rebuilding a program that finished 1-25 before his arrival, he has improved the Cougars each season, posting records of 9-21, 12-16, 22-11 and 24-9. The Cougars also improved upon an NIT season in 1999-2000 to earn an NCAA berth last year.
The past two seasons both rank among of the school's best year's ever in terms of wins dating back to the Cougars first season in 1902. In fact, only five BYU teams have ever recorded more wins than last year's 24-9 team and only seven have improved upon the 22-11 record in 1999-2000.
The Cougars have improved their conference record each year under Cleveland (4-10 first year; 6-8 second year; 7-7 third year, 10-4 last year). The Cougars are an impressive 29-2 at home the past two years and have improved on the road with 17 away/neutral wins the past two seasons. BYU was a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last year.
Cleveland's teams have come on strong at the end of each season. Last year BYU won five straight games on the road to secure a share of the MWC regular season title and earn the automatic NCAA bid by claiming the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas. The Cougars won six of their last eight games the prior season, including two MWC tournament wins and two NIT victories. In Cleveland's first year, BYU completed a rare sweep of New Mexico and UTEP on the road to earn a WAC tournament berth. The road sweep of New Mexico and UTEP was the first for BYU since 1990-91 and the 83-62 upset of No.15-ranked New Mexico in the Pit ended the Lobos' 41-game home winning streak. In Cleveland's second season the Cougars had a blowout win over UTEP before a 90-74 conference tournament upset victory over TCU to achieve BYU's first conference tournament win since 1994. During that year, BYU showed its improvement even in defeat, losing six games by four points or less, including one-point losses to California and Washington State and an overtime defeat to Arizona.
Cleveland has improved BYU each year in post season as well. After guided his team to the 2000 Mountain West Conference Tournament finals and the quarterfinals of the NIT in 2000, last year he coached the Cougars to the 2001 MWC Tournament Championship and an NCAA berth.
As a recruiter, Cleveland has made a similar impact on BYU's program. Cleveland recruits have proven they are not only committed to Cleveland's vision but also are the kind of players to help make that vision a reality in Provo. Cleveland and his staff have been able to attract top talent from Utah and beyond. BYU has had one of the conference's top players in each of his four seasons. Last year Trent Whiting transferred from Utah even though he had to give up a year of eligibility. He was named to the MWC Newcomer Team and earned All-MWC Second Team honors while averaging 14.2 points. In 1999-2000, Terrell Lyday was the MWC Newcomer of the Year and was fourth in the league in scoring with a BYU-best 17.1 ppg. He followed in the footsteps of Mark Bigelow, who led the Cougars in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (6.3) while being named the Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division Freshman of the Year and second-team All-WAC in 1998-99 before departing for a two-year LDS Church mission. Ron Selleaze transferred to BYU in Cleveland's first season and earned WAC Newcomer of the Year and second-team all-conference honors.
Before taking the helm at BYU on March 11, 1997, Cleveland compiled a 157-77 record at Fresno City College in Fresno, Calif. Cleveland was named coach of the year two times while at FCC and led the Rams to post-season playoffs in each of his seven seasons in Fresno. Cleveland coached 10 years at Fresno's Clovis West High School, compiling a 180-70 record.
Cleveland played college basketball at UC Irvine and was the Anteaters' MVP and leading scorer his senior season in 1975-76. Prior to attending UC Irvine, Cleveland was Fresno City College's Most Outstanding Player in 1973-74. Cleveland received a B.A. degree in social science from UC Irvine in 1976, and received a Master's in education administration from Fresno Pacific in 1979.
Cleveland, 49, was born in the Los Angeles area and spent most of his life in Fresno, Calif. He served an LDS Church mission to England from 1971-73. Cleveland was the first head basketball or football coach at BYU to have served a church mission. Cleveland and his wife Kip have three children: sons Casey (23) and Skyler (20) and daughter Katie (11).
2000-01 SEASON SUMMARY
Last year BYU finished 24-9 while earning its first conference tournament title since 1992, its first regular season championship since 1993 and its first NCAA bid since 1995. The Cougars went 10-4 in Mountain West Conference play to earn a three-way share of the title with Utah and Wyoming. BYU won the MWC Tournament and earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with wins over Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. BYU, the 12th seed, lost its first round NCAA game at Cox Arena in San Diego to No. 5-seed Cincinnati. Mekeli Wesley was the MWC Player of the Year and guards Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting were named to the MWC First and Second Team respectively. As a team, BYU led the nation in free throw shooting (.780) and had the nation's best single-game field goal percentage, making 70.8 percent vs. Elon College.