After BYU star Danny Ainge became the school’s all-time leading scorer in 1981, it took 30 years for someone to surpass him on the scoring list.
That someone was Jimmer Fredette.
So it’s quite remarkable that just four years after Fredette left his mark in Provo, Tyler Haws is poised to supplant the incomparable Jimmer as BYU’s No. 1 scorer late next season.
With one more season of eligibility remaining, Haws is currently No. 5 all-time with 1,944 points. If he stays healthy and maintains his career per-game scoring average (18.7), it would take 35 games to eclipse Fredette, who finished with 2,599 points.
Over the past two seasons, Haws has averaged 21.7 and 23.2 points per game, respectively.
In the final weeks of the recently completed season, Haws climbed past Brandon Davies, Mark Biglow, Mekeli Wesley, Jeff Chatman, Fred Roberts and Russell Larson on BYU’s scoring list.
Only four lie ahead of him — Devin Durrant, Michael Smith, Ainge and Fredette.
“To have Jimmer, then Tyler on his heels, those kinds of players are so extremely rare,” said former Cougar and KSL radio analyst Mark Durrant, who played with Haws’ dad, Marty, and is the younger brother of Devin. “And yet we’ve had two in a row. It’s impressive. The fact that he’s put together this double-figure scoring streak and a number of 30 and 40 point games that he’s had, maybe it’s because we had Jimmer for a few years that this almost seems ordinary at this point. But as someone who has watched BYU sports for a long time, you realize how rare these types of players are. As for his consistency, clearly, he’s doing it more efficiently. He’s not a black hole. He’s not a ball hog. He’s kind of doing it within the flow of the offense and is efficient at it. Absolutely, we take him for granted.”
Durrant compares Haws to Devin. Both players scored a lot of points thanks to impressive mid-range games.
“They’re not glamorous. They’re not hitting the long 3’s or making a lot of dunks, but there’s something beautiful about a guy that is so fundamental and create space and hit shots — and make it look so easy when it’s the toughest shots you can shoot,” Mark said. “I’ve seen a lot of players and it’s not just because Devin’s my brother, but there are a lot of similarities. You watch them and you’re kind of in awe of them. With Devin and Tyler, they can score 40 points and you don’t really remember anything about what they did in particular. There’s something awesome-inspiring about that. They’re not flashy, but they are two of the best scorers I’ve ever seen. It’s been fun to watch Tyler. I didn’t think we’d ever see anyone like my brother Devin again. I think Tyler’s that same type of player.”
Chatman also played with Tyler’s dad, and Chatman’s son, Jordan, will join the Cougars next season.
“The thing that impresses me the most about Tyler is how hard he works on the court and how he’s always hustling, running, trying to get open,” Chatman said. “He’s a relentless worker. The second thing is how hard he works on his game. People don’t realize how much time he puts into working on his game outside of what they see. He’s always working and trying to get better. He’s definitely the hardest worker I’ve ever seen, on and off the court. What he does on the court is, he’s always moving. He plays a lot of minutes and I know he’s tired, but he still puts in the effort to run the court to try to get open and get easy buckets. In the half-court, even though he’s getting held and banged around, he doesn’t let that stop him from moving and getting open. He’s relentless when it comes to getting open by using screens, back-dooring, and everything he does.”
During games, Mark Durrant likes to focus on Haws.
“Sometimes, I’ll solely watch Tyler and not worry about anything else that’s going on. Teams do so much to stop him, he has to work even harder than a normal player to get open. Sometimes in a possession, he’ll run off 10 screens and circle around. It makes me tired just watching him doing it. He’s got to fight through it … teams try to wear him down. The thing that he has is such a great understanding of where to go, and how to use screens. Even though they’re doing everything they can to stop him, he’s still able to create space. When he does catch it, he has such a quick release and use his body to get a little bit of daylight … He practices those shots, hundreds of thousands of those shots. Kids nowadays aren’t often willing to work that hard. When they go to practice, they practice their 3-point shot and dribble penetration and exciting moves at the rim. Nobody wants to work on coming off a screen and hitting a 15-foot jump shot. That’s all Tyler works on. He hits hundreds of those a day. He can hit those shots because he’s put the time in.”
Lone Peak High coach Quincy Lewis remembers meeting Haws for the first time, when Tyler was in the seventh grade.
“He was a lot taller than the other kids and you could see he had a little bit of talent,” Lewis recalled. “One thing you liked about him right off the bat was, he liked to compete. It was important to him that he won.”
Going into Haws’ ninth grade season, Lewis put a lot of responsibility on Haws’ shoulders.
“As he came into ninth grade, we knew we had a kid that had a chance to be a really good player, obviously,” Lewis said. “We had some older kids in his position. We kind of let Tyler play JV in the spring to see where he was at. It took him about a month. And he started varsity. I’m a believer that I don’t want kids looking over their shoulder when they play. We told him, ‘This is yours, let’s go. These are the things that need to be improved.’ And to his credit, he’s the one that did the work.”
What separates Haws from many players, Lewis said, is an indefatigable work ethic.
“It goes way back. He simply has worked harder than anybody else, to be honest with you,” Lewis said. “He is an individual workout fiend. That’s one thing we preach at Lone Peak. He has a dad that is well-versed. He’s put in a lot of time individually. Too many times these days, too many kids want to have their cake before they do the work. The Haws have the right priority, that individual work comes first. He’s a great example of that. He was always one of the first guys in the gym. In the summer, he was up at 6 every morning. I’ll never forget when he was a sophomore, he played football. He was a great football player. He started as a receiver as a sophomore. He would shoot from 6 a.m. to 7:30. One week, Marty was out of town on business. He called his grandpa and made him come rebound for him. That’s how important it was to him. And that was during the football season. We bring him in every summer to camp to talk to our guys. It’s great to have him in the program. They learn from him and his success perpetuates other kids. They see how hard he’s worked.
Lewis is not surprised by Haws’ success.
“I can’t say that I expected him to have a chance to be BYU’s all-time leading scorer. But I’m not surprised that he’s an all-league level player and possibly an All-American.”
Some may have forgotten that Fredette and Haws played together for one season, 2009-10. Fredette was a junior when Haws was a freshman. After the season, Haws left for a mission.
“The mission definitely benefited him. He handled it the right way when he got back,” Lewis said. “His freshman year was a completely different situation than when he came back. They had Jimmer when Tyler was a freshman and Jimmer was the focal point of the offense. If Jimmer’s not there, then Tyler averages more than he did as a freshman. That was the situation and it was great because Jimmer was a great player. Tyler could have had even more impact than he did as a freshman.”
Lewis added that Marty’s role in helping develop Tyler can’t be underestimated.
“Marty is one of those guys who has his feet on the ground himself. That’s how he approaches it with his kids. He tells them, ‘We’re not special, we’re going to earn what we get.’ That’s the attitude he infuses into his boys. You can see it. On top of that, people remember Marty as a super athlete, which he was. But more than that, Marty was a student of the game, a smart guy as far as basketball goes. That comes through loud and clear with his boys, too.”
That hard work, and that attitude, is paying off.
And it wouldn’t be at all surprising one year from now to see Tyler Haws wind up as BYU’s all-time leading scorer.