BYU (4-2) hosts Fort Lewis (3-3) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game follows a BYU vs. Oregon women's basketball game at 4 p.m. Both games will be televised by KBYU-TV, channel 11, with the men's game being taped-delay broadcast at 10 p.m. and the women's game airing at 11:30 p.m. KSL Newsradio 1160 provides the radio broadcast on the Cougar Sports Network. Greg Wrubell will provide the play-by-play call with Mark Durrant adding commentary. The Cougars are coming off back-to-back home wins and have a 23-game home winning streak in the Marriott Center. Fort Lewis had its three-game winning streak come to an end Saturday in Denver with a loss to Metropolitan State.
GAME FACTS (game 7)
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001
BYU (4-2) vs. Fort Lewis (3-3)
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:06 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (71-59 in fifth year; same overall)
Fort Lewis, Bob Hofman (77-67 in seventh year; 194-176 in 15th year overall)
Series: First meeting
KBYU-TV, channel 11
Air Time: 10 p.m. MT (taped-delay)
Play-by-Play: Brett Richins
Game Analyst: Chris Twitty
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 6 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Web: Audio available at www.KSL.com
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 17.8 3.2
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 11.2 5.7
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 6.5 3.2
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 17.3 8.2
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 5.8 7.0 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 8.7 4.2
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 2.5 1.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.5 3.0
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.0 0.5
G 12 Shawn Opunui 5-11 175 Fr. 0.0 0.5 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.0 0.0
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 0.0 2.0
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. -- --
Fort Lewis Quick Facts:
Location: Durango, Colo.
Colors: Navy Blue and Gold
Home Arena: FLC Fieldhouse
Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic, NCAA Division II
Athletic Director: Dave Preszler
Head Coach: Bob Hofman
Alma Mater: Colorado (1974)
Best time to call: Weekday mornings
Office Phone: (970) 247-7499
Overall Record (Years): 194-176 (15th)
Record at School (Years): 77-67 (7th)
Assistant Coaches: Brad Shick
Overall Record: 9-17
Conf. Record/Finish: 7-12/6th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 8/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Key Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Zack Cole, 6-0, 175, Jr., G (6.0 ppg, 6.6 apg)
Ben Foutz, 6-2, 205, Sr., G (13.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Tim Melton, 6-1, 195, Jr., G (8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
Dan Simington, 5-10, 180, Sr., g (8.7 ppg, 36 apg)
Basketball Contact: Kate Kelly
Office: (970) 247-7441
Home: (970) 382-8556
Fax: (970) 247-7655
Press Row: (970) 247-7046
Scouting Fort Lewis
Fort Lewis enters Wednesday's game with a 3-3 record. Located in Durango, Colo., the Skyhawks are a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and NCAA Division II. Coach Bob Hofman has four starters and eight lettermen returning from last year's 9-17 team. Senior guard Ben Foutz is the top scorer returning from last year (13.5 ppg in 2000-2001). This year the Sky Hawks are led by Kevin Hatch and Trevor Lorz, who average 21.7 and 16.7 points per game, respectively. The Skyhawks had their three-game winning streak halted Saturday in their league opener against Metropolitan State, losing 88-82 in Denver. The Skyhawks stayed within reach of the Roadrunners the entire game, trailing by one at the half, 43-42. Fort Lewis College finished the game with four players scoring in double-figures. Junior forward Kevin Hatch led all Skyhawk scorers with 16 points. He was joined by Ben Foutz and Zack Cole who both added 13 points in the effort. Freshman center Nick Brooks continued his solid play contributing 12 points of a 4-of-5 performance from the floor while making 4-of-6 from the charity stripe. Both teams shot well as the Roadrunners made 29-of-65 (.527) from the floor, just out-shooting the Skyhawks who hit 28-of-58 (.483) from the field for the game. The three Skyhawk wins this year are over St. Xavier, Western New Mexico and Westminster College. In addition to the loss Saturday vs. Metro State, Fort Lewis also suffered losses to Grand Canyon and Southern Utah. Fort Lewis is a high scoring team (84.3 ppg). The Skyhawks are a good shooting team, making 49.4 percent of their field goal attempts, including 43.9 percent from three-point range. They also make 75.2 percent from the free throw line.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Quoting Cleveland on Fort Lewis
"They aren't very big but they get up and down the floor and score a lot of points. They have been one of the top three-point shooting teams in division II the past few years and this year they are shooting 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent on threes. They have some great shooters. Kevin Hatch is 6-foot-4 and is making 56 percent of his threes and he takes around seven threes per game. He is making 60 percent from the floor and is scoring 22 points per game. We will really need to play good defense because a team that can put down threes like they do can be very dangerous."
Up Next -- BYU Faces Idaho Saturday
BYU hosts the University of Idaho Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The Vandals enter the week with a 2-5 record. They are in their first season under head coach Leonard Perry. Three starters and seven lettermen return from last year's 6-21 team. The series with the Vandals is tied, 2-2, but the Cougars have won the only modern-day meeting last year in the Marriott Center, 75-47. The three other games were played in the 1937 and 1947 seasons. BYU is 2-1 in Provo in the series.
University of Idaho Quick Facts
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Colors: Silver and Vandal Gold
Home Arena: Cowan Spectrum (7,000)
Conference: Big West
Athletic Director: Mike Bohn
Head Coach: Leonard Perry
Alma Mater: Idaho (1995)
Overall Record (Years): First year
Record at School (Years): First year
Assistant Coaches: Donnie Tyndall, Mark Leslie
2000-2001 Overall Record: 6-21
2000-2001 Conf. Record/Finish: 3-13/T7th
Letterman Returning/Lost: 7/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Key Returning Starters
Matt Gershefske, 6-6, 205, Sr., F (11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Rodney Hilaire, 6-6, 200, Sr., F (10.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
Series Record: Tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: Jan. 2, 2001
Result: BYU won 75-47 in Provo
Media Relations Contact: Becky Paull; Steve Kirkwood
Office: (208) 885-0245; (208) 885-7065
Home: (208) 883-0850; (208) 883-3345
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Fax: (208) 885-0255
Athletics Web Site: www.uiathletics.com
BYU in MWC Statistics
Â• BYU leads all MWC teams so far this year in scoring defense (64.3), three-point percentage defense (.267)and free throw shooting (.800).
Â• The Cougars rate second in three-point percentage (.398) and are third in field goal percentage defense (.401).
Â• Matt Montague leads all MWC players in assists (7.0), is second in assist/turnover ratio (2.33), and is tied for fifth in steals (1.5).
Â• Mark Bigelow is tied for second in scoring (17.8), free throw percentage (.900) and three-point field goals made per game (2.67).
Â• Travis Hansen ranks third in rebounds (8.2), fourth in scoring (17.3) and fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.474).
Last Outing - Cougars Played Solid Defense to Defeat Creighton
PROVO -- On a brisk night in Provo, BYU turned on the defensive heat to burn the Creighton Bluejays 61-52 and warm a Marriott Center crowd of 6,072 with its 23rd straight home victory. The Cougar defense kept the pressure on Bluejay shooters all night, holding a team that came in averaging 86.2 points a game to just 52 points on 19-of-55 shooting from the field. The Cougars, led by a career-high 10 boards from true freshman Jared Jensen and a career-best eight rebounds by Daniel Bobik, outrebounded Creighton 36-29. "I was really proud of our defensive effort tonight," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "Creighton is a team that lives off of execution and we were able to take them out of their game tonight." Creighton's leading scorer, Kyle Korver, came in averaging over 19 points a game but was limited to just four points on 1-for-10 shooting from the field (1-of-3 from the line). The effort marks the first time Korver has been held below double digits this season. The Cougar offense was led by Travis Hansen, who finished 5-of-7 from the field with 18 points and Mark Bigelow, who shot 5-of-11 on the night for 17 points. Either Hansen or Bigelow has been the top scorer for BYU in every game this season. The game was won for BYU at the free throw line, where the Cougars went 20-for-25, marking the third straight game the team has shot over 80 percent from the charity stripe and the fourth time they have shot 80 percent or higher this season. In the past two games, the BYU defense has held opponents to an average of 49.5 points and 35 percent shooting from the field. The Cougars have averaged 63 points and shot 46.4 percent from the field during that same stretch. With their 26-23 lead at the half, the Cougars have gone to the locker room on top in each of their first six games. The victory pushes BYU's record to 4-2 on the season and drops Creighton's record to 3-2 on the year. The Cougars next game is against Fort Lewis this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
Matt Montague (starting point guard)
Senior point guard Matt Montague averages 7.0 assists, 5.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 39.5 minutes. He had 5 assists, 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals while being pressed for 40 minutes vs. Creighton and had 8 points and seven assists vs. Weber State. He had a season-high 10 assists at Utah State, the most assists he has recorded since dishing out 10 assists as a sophomore vs. Southern Illinois on March 20, 2000 in BYU's second round NIT victory. Montague's career high is 11. Montague has led BYU in assists in each of his three previous seasons. He scored 11 points and had a game-high eight assists at USD in the season-opener. Montague reached double-digit points only once last year in 33 games, scoring 12 points at the University of San Francisco.
Travis Hansen (starting shooting guard)
Shooting guard Travis Hansen leads BYU in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and is second in scoring (17.3 ppg). He averages 1.0 assist per game and is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor, 47.4 percent on threes, and 76.3 percent from the line. He had a team-high 18 points on 5-7 shooting along with five boards in BYU's win over Crieghton Saturday. He averaged 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in BYU's two home wins last week. Hansen scored a career-high 26 points against Utah State in BYU's overtime loss earlier this season. He went 10-15 from the floor, including a 3-5 from three-point range, and was 3-4 from the line. He added a team-high five rebounds and one assist in 38 minutes. His 10 field goals, three treys and 38 minutes were all career highs. Hansen extended a string of 13 straight made free throws dating back to the season-opener in San Diego before missing one of his four attempts at Utah State. Hansen had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at UC Santa Barbara after 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead BYU to a win over Arizona State in BYU's home opener. The two double-doubles are the first of his career. Hansen's 15 rebounds vs. ASU is the most ever by a BYU guard and the most by a Cougar since Justin Widauer, a center, grabbed 15 boards for BYU at Texas Christian in the 1996-97 season. Hansen has scored 20-plus points twice in BYU's six games and has a team-leading two double-doubles.
Mark Bigelow (starting small forward)
Sophomore forward Mark Bigelow averages a team-leading 17.8 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per game. He had 17 points and equaled his career-best 3 blocks and had 2 steals vs. Creighton Saturday. He did not have a rebound. Last week he led BYU to two home wins, averaging 15.5 ppg. He had 14 points and 7 boards against Weber State. He has made a three in all six games this year and has reached double-digit points in the last five straight games. He scored a team-high 15 at UC Santa Barbara, including 4-6 on threes, and had 21 points at Utah State, with three treys. He is shooting 47.1 percent on threes with a team high 16 treys made. He leads the team at the line, making 90 percent (27-30). Bigelow scored a season-high 31 points in BYU's win over Arizona State in the home opener. It was the second time Bigelow has totaled more than 30 points in his career. His scoring high is 33 points at Washington State as a freshman during the 1998-99 season. Against ASU in the last game in Provo, Bigelow made shots from long-range, mid-range and inside, shooting 52.9 percent from the floor, going 9-17, including 4-of-8 three-point attempts. He missed only one free throw in 10 attempts to shoot 90 perent from the charity stripe. Bigelow contributed all over the court with four assists (second to point guard Matt Montague's six) and three rebounds to go along with his sharp shooting.
Eric Nielsen (starting power forward)
Senior forward Eric Nielsen will play a larger offensive role for BYU this year as BYU's lone returning starter. He is third on the team in scoring (11.2 ppg) and is second in rebounds (5.7 rpg). He had 9 points, 5 boards and 2 assists vs. Creighton Saturday and 14 points, 8 boards and 2 assists vs. Weber State. He averaged 11.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in the two wins last week. He had 14 at Utah State and had a career-high 19 points vs. ASU in BYU's home opener (his previous best was 17 against Utah in the 2000 MWC tournament in Las Vegas). Against ASU, he went 8-11 from the floor. His eight field goals made was a new personal best. Last year the most shots he took in a game was eight, when he averaged 3.8 shot attempts per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage and is making 56.3 percent of his shots so far this year.
Jared Jensen (starting center)
Freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He had a career-best 10 boards Saturday vs. Creighton, along with 4 points and 2 assists. He had 7 points vs. Weber State. He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB, but did not have a rebound. In his first career start vs. Arizona State, he played 15 minutes and had 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Jensen has made 15-23 shots for a team-best 65.2 field goal percentage. He is 9-11 (.818) from the line.
Off the Bench on the Perimeter
After averaging 10 minutes off the bench last year while playing in 28 of 33 games, sophomore Daniel Bobik is playing a much larger role this year as BYU's sixth-man. He is averaging 24.2 minutes, 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds. He is fourth on the team in scoring. He had 7 points and a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton. He had a season-high 13 points at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD. Other players off the bench on the perimeter include freshmen Jimmy Balderson (4 games, 8.3 minutes, 2.5 points), Shawn Opunui (2 games, 2.0 minutes) and Terry Nashif (2 games, 1.0 minutes).
Off the Bench in the Post
Sopohomore Bart Jepsen has appeared in all six games off the bench, averaging 3.0 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per game. A solid rebounder and defender, Jepsen has six offensive boards and 12 defensive rebounds. Sophomore center Dan Howard started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound. He has appeared in four games overall, playing 3.5 minutes per game. Other post players coming off the bench include sophomore Jon Carlisle, who has played in one game. Freshman forward Jesse Penigar was cleared by doctors to be able to practice and play starting with the UC Santa Barbara game. He has been not been able to practice since June while recovering from surgery on his left shoulder. He has not played yet this season.
Home Winning Streak
BYU extended its home court winning streak to 23 games with its win over Creighton Saturday. BYU owns the fourth longest home-court streak in the nation (tied wtih Georgia State and Boston College). BYU went a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74.
Home Winning Streak 2
BYU has defeated 19 straight nonconference opponents in the Marriott Center. The last non-league foe to win in Provo was the California Bears, who edged BYU 71-70 on Dec. 19, 1998. BYU has a 25-6 home record against nonconference teams under Steve Cleveland.
BYU is shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, 39.8 percent on threes and 80 percent (No. 1 among MWC teams) from the line. Last week, BYU shot 46.4 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent on threes in two wins while making 82.4 percent from the line. Last week BYU held its opponents to 35 percent shooting, including 20.7 percent on threes. Overall, BYU is first among MWC teams in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing only a 26.7 success rate from long range. BYU's opponents shoot 40.1 percent from the floor overall and 71.8 percent from the free throw line.
From Three-Point Range
Four Cougars have made a three-point shot this season and three have made 47 percent or more of their attempts. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 16 threes (16-34, .471). He has made a trey in all six games. Travis Hansen is 9-19 (.474) and Daniel Bobik is 7-19 (.368). Forward Eric Nielsen is 1-2 (.500).
More Free Throw Numbers
Four Cougars are shooting 80 percent or better from the free throw line and six are making 70 percent or better. Mark Bigelow makes a team-leading 90 percent (No. 2 among MWC players), followed by Daniel Bobik (.846), Matt Montague (.833), Jared Jensen (.818), Travis Hansen (.763) and Eric Nielsen (.706).
On the Boards
BYU averages 35.2 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 31.3. BYU has out boarded its opponents in four games an is 4-0 in those games. The Coguars have only been out boarded once, 35-24 in its overtime loss to Utah State. The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. BYU's 42-26 rebounding advantage over ASU was the third worst margin suffered by ASU coach Rob Evan's in his coaching career and his worst at ASU.
BYU won its season-opener for the fifth straight year. The Cougars are 3-0 at home and 2-0 on the road in season-openers under coach Steve Cleveland. Both road wins have been in San Diego. Before this year's win over the University of San Diego, the Cougars defeating San Diego State in Cleveland's BYU debut in 1997. With this year's win over ASU, BYU has now won its last four home openers and is 4-1 in home-openers under Steve Cleveland.
BYU Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 3-2
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-0
2001-02 Schedule Notes
BYU Record - Comparing Recent Starts
BYU started the year 2-0 for the third straight season and has had a winning record after six games for three straight years (4-2 this year, 4-2 last year, 5-1 in 1999-2000). The Cougars were 2-4 in 1998-99 and 1-5 in Cleveland's first year in 1997-98. In Cleveland's four years he has started with the following records after seven games: 1-6, 2-5, 6-1, 5-2.
BYU Opponents Get Big Wins
The six teams BYU has played so far have combined for a 27-12 record and .692 winning percentage. Several opponents have already recorded some big wins. Pepperdine, a 22-9 team last year that finished second to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference, knocked off No. 11 UCLA at Pauley Pavillion and Creighton, the champion of the Missouri Valley Conference that BYU just defeated Saturday, upset No. 17 Western Kentucky. BYU also defeated Weber State, who won the Big Island Invitational with wins over Louisiana State, Wisconsin and Colorado State and just defeated Utah State.
Las Vegas Showdown 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.
Seven Conference Champions
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 (playing in Big West this year), 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.
Opponent 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).
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).
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. An additional 12 BYU games are part of the SportsWest Productions' package and KBYU will produce two games for taped-delay broadcast. In all 21-of-27 regular season games are slated for television broadcast.
BYU Opponent 2001-02 Records
(as of Dec. 9)
Already faced ....
San Diego 4-3
Arizona State 4-2
UC Santa Barbara 5-2
Utah State 5-1
Weber State 6-2
Total record teams already played - (.692) 27-12
Still ahead ....
Ft. Lewis 3-3
CS Northridge 1-5
Southern Utah 2-5
San Francisco 2-5
Total all nonconference opponents - (.530) 44-39
MWC teams ...
San Diego State 5-3
New Mexico 5-3
Air Force 4-4
Colorado State 4-5
Total record MWC teams - (.566) 30-23
Total record all opponents - (.544) 74-62
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.
Jared 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). Shawn Opunui, 5-foot-11 , 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. Additional newcomers include 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 could redshirt while working to return to playing condition.
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.
Jacob Chrisman / 6-8 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• forward
CHRISMAN CAPSULE: A two-sport athlete, Chrisman is also is a pitcher on the BYU baseball team ... He announced last spring that he will redshirt basketball this year to play a full season of baseball, but could still try to play both sports this season ... He started practicing with the basketball team in November after the completion of fall baseball workouts ... He could be a significant contributor if he does play basketball ... he is extremely mobile and a strong rebounder ... He is an athletic low post player who can score in multiple ways ... He has developed a nice perimeter game ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the game and finds a way to make plays both on offense and defense ... A slasher-type player who has a nice shooting touch ... He could play both the three and four positions for the Cougars.
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• sophomore Â• 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-6 combo 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 has excellent range from the three-point line and has good size ... He shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line at Magrath High ... A skilled young player, he could factor in on perimeter this year ... He plans to leave in the spring on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Terry Nashif / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
Nashif is a freshman who served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his senior year in 1999 at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash. ... A smart player who can put down the three-pointer, he knows how to run a team and is an excellent distributor of the ball ... He could factor in at the point along with fellow freshman Shawn Opunui and senior Matt Montague
STEVE CLEVELAND (71-59 in fifth 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.