The 2019-20 season will be a mix of new and familiar for BYU men’s basketball. New for the Cougars this season will be the coaching staff as the program enters year one of the Mark Pope era. The familiar is an experienced roster that features 10 returning lettermen from last season, seven seniors and seven players with significant experience as starters.
Pope comes to BYU after a successful four-year run at Utah Valley, where he led the Wolverines to back-to-back 20-win seasons – including a program-record 25 in 2018-19 – and three-straight trips to the postseason. A former BYU assistant under Dave Rose, Pope brings a relentless, high-intensity style of play to Provo.
The roster is highlighted by three players who have earned first-team all-conference honors, including Yoeli Childs (All-WCC First Team in 2018 and 2019), TJ Haws (All-WCC First Team in 2017, Second Team in 2019) and Jake Toolson (WAC Player of the Year and All-WAC First Team in 2019).
Three-year starter and senior forward Yoeli Childs (South Jordan, Utah) is BYU’s leading returning scorer and rebounder. Childs averaged 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds while posting 17 double-doubles last year. He was named to the All-WCC First Team and the NABC and USBWA all-district first teams. Entering the 2019-20 season, Childs’ name is scattered throughout the BYU career record book. He is currently 14th all-time in scoring (1,609 points), ninth in field goals made (626), fifth in rebounds (882) and fifth in blocks (142).
Fellow senior and three-year starter TJ Haws (Alpine, Utah) returns to run the point for BYU. Last season Haws averaged 17.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while leading the team in assists (5.1) and steals (1.2) per game. Haws earned All-WCC Second Team accolades and a spot on the NABC All-District 9 Second Team. Haws has also made his mark on the BYU record book as he is 19th all-time in scoring (1,450 points), sixth in 3-point field goals made (183), 16th in made free throws (347), fifth in free-throw percentage (83.6%), ninth in assists (418) and 18th in steals (115).
Dalton Nixon (Orem, Utah) and Zac Seljaas (Bountiful, Utah) are seniors with ample experience. Nixon, a 6-foot-7 forward, is a willing defender and rebounder who brings energy to the court on every play. He posted averages of 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds last season and has played in 75 games and made 10 starts in his career. Seljaas, a 6-foot-7 guard, was BYU’s best 3-point shooter in 2018-19 as he hit 37.3 percent from long range. He posted averages of 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds. For his career, Seljaas has played in 102 games, made 27 starts and hit 135 3-point field goals.
The senior class is rounded out by Taylor Maughan (Fullerton, California), Evan Troy (Longview, Washington) and Jake Toolson (see Newcomers). Troy and Maughan started their BYU careers as practice players before earning roster spots. They play a key role on the scout team and have 38 career games played combined.
Sophomores Gavin Baxter (Provo, Utah) and Connor Harding (Pocatello, Idaho) enter their sophomore seasons after promising freshman campaigns in 2018-19. Harding, a 6-foot-6 guard, appeared in all 32 games and started 14. A versatile player on both ends of the court, Harding averaged 6.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Baxter, a 6-foot-9 forward, played in 30 games and started eight. The athletic big man came on strong during WCC play and averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 68.1 percent. Following the season, Baxter was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team. Baxter will likely miss the 2019-20 season due to a shoulder injury.
Kolby Lee (Meridian, Idaho) returns to give BYU a big presence in the middle. The 6-foot-9 forward played in 17 games as a freshman in 2018-19. Lee demonstrated improved fitness and post play during the offseason. Jesse Wade (Kaysville, Utah), a 6-foot-1 guard enters his first season eligible to play for the Cougars. The former Mr. Basketball for the state of Utah played his freshman campaign at Gonzaga and sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Senior guard Jake Toolson (Gilbert, Arizona) returns to BYU after successful sophomore and junior seasons playing for Pope at Utah Valley. Last season, Toolson earned WAC Player of the Year honors after leading Utah Valley to 25 wins and averaging a team-best 15.7 points while adding 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Toolson shot 53.7 percent from the field, 44.8 percent from 3-point range and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line to become one of seven 180 shooters (FG%+3PT%+FT%=180-plus) in the country with a minimum 100 free-throw and 100 3-point field goal attempts. Prior to playing at Utah Valley, Toolson played in 36 games over two seasons (2013-15) at BYU.
Richard Harward (Orem, Utah) and Wyatt Lowell (Gilbert, Arizona) come to BYU from Utah Valley as well. Harward, a 6-foot-11 center, emerged as one of UVU’s best post players during the second half of 2018-19 and averaged 6.9 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 63.8 percent from the field. Lowell, a 6-foot-10 forward, comes to BYU after being named the 2018-19 WAC Freshman of the Year. He led all WAC freshmen in scoring (5.4), rebounding (3.0) and steals (0.5) during league play. Lowell and Harward will sit out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Alex Barcello (Chandler, Arizona) and Blaze Nield (Lehi, Utah) give BYU a boost in the backcourt as transfers from Arizona and Utah State Eastern, respectively. Barcello played the first two seasons of his collegiate career for the Wildcats where he appeared in 51 games and averaged 2.9 points. Coming out of high school, Barcello was the No. 2 recruit in the state of Arizona and a member of the ESPN Top 100. Barcello will sit out 2019-20 due to NCAA transfer rules.
A 6-foot-1 guard, Nield played his freshman season at Utah State Eastern in 2018-19 and averaged 20.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals. He posted season highs of 33 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and five 3-point field goals. Nield is eligible to play immediately. Trevin Knell (Woods Cross, Utah) is the lone freshman on the roster. Knell prepped at Woods Cross High School where he was a two-time first-team all-state honoree. He averaged 25.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game as a senior in 2016-17. Knell served a mission in Uruguay after graduating from high school.
Cameron Pearson, a practice player last season, has earned a roster spot. Pearson hails from Lakewood, Colorado, and prepped at Chatfield High School.