BYU SPORTS CENTRAL
Updates and perspectives courtesy of Michael Sorensen
Men's Basketball (5/20/21) - BYU finally saw their efforts in the transfer portal reap benefits as Te'Jon Lucas has committed to the Cougars. With Brandon Averette leaving to go pro, the guard depth got a lot thinner. A sixth year senior taking advantage of the extra COVID year, Lucas put his name in the transfer portal coming off an all conference season with Milwaukee of the Horizon League. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.6 rebounds last year. he adds a bit more height on the guard line as he is listed as 6'2. He is a versatile guard that can finish with both hands and is an excellent playmaker. He isn't as good as a shooter as Averette was, but I'm certain Pope and company can help fix that in Provo. Expect Lucas to start with Barcello in the backcourt next year. BYU still has one scholarship remaining that I would assume goes to a big man Pope is trying to get in the transfer portal. All in all, Te'Jon is a great addition to a scarce backcourt and the coaches definitely hit a home run with this pickup.
Men's Basketball (4/26/21) - Former BYU basketball forward Kolby Lee has announced on instagram that he will be transferring to Dixie State. Lee started out the season as a starter, but saw his playing time diminish with Caleb Lohner and Richard Harward getting increased roles and minutes with the team. He started in 15 games, but the last 9, he was only able to log 12 minutes of action. His breakout season was the 2019-2020 season, where he averaged 7 points and 3 rebounds as a sophomore. This past season only saw him average 3.7 points and 2 rebounds. He is married to Kayla Belles-Lee of the BYU women's team, so his decision to transfer to a program in state is not a surprise. Best of luck to Kolby at Dixie State!
Men's Basketball (4/25/21) - BYU basketball guard Jesse Wade has officially retired from basketball per an instagram post he put out today . The former Mr. Basketball in Utah has dealt with nagging injuries his entire career and never saw the minutes or productivity he wanted. He committed to Gonzaga out of high school and played his freshman year there. He then transferred to BYU and sat out the 2018-2019 season as a redshirt due to transfer rules and the 2019-2020 season with knee injuries. He played in 9 games this past year, but only put up 9 points. He has had his name in the transfer portal the past few weeks looking for a better opportunity. Best of luck to Jesse and his future outside of basketball!
Women's Soccer (4/19/21) - The Cougars have earned the #12 overall seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament and will face the winner of Virginia/SIU-Edwardsville in the second round either April 30th or May 1st in North Carolina. BYU earned an at-large bid and finished the season with a record of 11-3-1, with only one loss coming in WCC play to Santa Clara, who earned the #11 overall seed in the tournament.
Coach Heather Olmstead prepares BYU for the opening round match against UCLA (4/14/21)
Women's Volleyball (4/14/21) - The #16 Cougars came out on top tonight as they sweep past UCLA, 3-0. Taylen Ballard-Nixon led the way for BYU, finishing with 13 kills on .211 hitting %. BYU was down in both the 1st and 2nd sets, but came back to rally and win both sets, 26-24 and 31-29. The 3rd set was all BYU, winning 25-17. Setter Whitney Bower dished out 38 assists and also had 11 digs. Defense was BYU's calling card, as they finished with 50 digs and 16 blocks compared to UCLA's 7 blocks. The Cougars finished with a team hitting % of .256, more than double UCLA's .115 hitting %. BYU will now face #1 seed Wisconsin on Saturday at 8:00 MST. You can watch on the ESPN app.
Kaleb Hayes (14) goes for the tackle against Oregon's Johnny Johnson lll (3)
Football (4/14/2021) - Kalani Sitaki and company officially land Oregon St. CB transfer Kaleb Hayes. Hayes has been verbally committed to BYU since January, but kept off of social media until now to declare a Cougar. Cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford reached out shortly after Hayes put his name in the transfer portal back in January and the pair seemed to still have the strong relationship they had when Gilford was recruiting him out of high school. Hayes had a stellar redshirt freshman year with the Beavers and was highly thought of by Pro Football Focus (PFF). However, injuries limited him to only two games as a sophomore last season. Kaleb will have two years of eligibility left with BYU. Look for Hayes to contribute immediately in the secondary for the Cougars.
BYU guard Connor Harding drives the ball down the court against the Pepperdine Waves (January 30, 2020)
Men's Basketball (4/13/2021) - According to multiple reports, Connor Harding will be transferring up the street to UVU. I suspect that UVU was a top choice to snag Harding because of his wife, Paisley Harding, still playing basketball for the women's team at BYU. Connor averaged 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Cougars last season and saw his production and role with the team diminish. Best of luck to Connor and his future with UVU!
Zach Wilson getting ready to throw at BYU's Pro Day (March 26, 2021)
Football (4/6/2021) - With the New York Jets trading away Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 6th rounder this year and a 2nd and 4th rounder in 2022, it's a foregone conclusion that they will be drafting a quarterback with the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Earlier today on ESPN's Get Up, NFL insider Adam Schefter said that he texted Zach Wilson and welcomed him to New York, confirming what most people have thought for the past month or so, which is that the BYU QB will be the next franchise player for the Jets. With Trevor Lawerence and Zach Wilson going 1 and 2 respectively, the 49ers will have a handful of quality QBs to chose from with the #3 pick. The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 29th and will run through Saturday, May 1st. Expect a rise in green jerseys shipped to Provo in the next few months.
Women's Volleyball (4/5/2021) - The BYU women's volleyball team earned the 16 seed and a first round bye in the NCAA tournament. The Cougars will face the winner of Rider and UCLA on Thursday, April 15 at 8:30 p.m. MST on ESPN3 and the ESPN app in Omaha, Nebraska. This marks the 9th straight year BYU will have made the NCAA tournament. The Cougars have had success in the tournament in recent years, reaching the Sweet 16 seven of the past eight years, including a national championship appearance in 2014. BYU ended the season with a 16-1 record while winning the WCC league title for the sixth time in seven years.
Connor Harding gets the crowd hype during a game against Nevada (December 10, 2019)
Men's Basketball (4/5/2021) - With Connor Harding, Kolby Lee, Wyatt Lowell, and Jesse Wade all entering the transfer portal, Coach Pope has some work to do of his own to find some guys that can come in and contribute immediately. Here are 3 guys that BYU is looking at to help fill those shoes.