BYU forward Kyle Davis will do something not a lot of college athletes get to do on Wednesday night — play his former team.
The 6-foot-8 forward, who transferred from Utah State to BYU a year ago, will wear his Cougar uniform to help BYU in its game against the Aggies Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
“I really enjoyed my time at Utah State,” Davis said. “Transferring from Utah State was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life. It was something … I needed to do for myself … so I decided to change. I visited several schools, but when it came down to BYU, it was just the best opportunity for me personally from an education standpoint to being able to play in this program, for this fan base.”
After sitting out during the 2014–15 season for NCAA transfer rules, Davis has easily settled into the BYU basketball program. Now he has a chance to play against his old team, but at this point it is a team he hardly recognizes.
[pullquote]“I really enjoyed my time at Utah State … but when it came down to BYU, it was just the best opportunity for me personally from an education standpoint to being able to play in this program, for this fan base.” —Kyle Davis, BYU forward[/pullquote]
“Just watching films, it looks like they do a lot more in transition,” Davis said. “When I was there, we ran a lot of set plays. We were very structured. Coach (Stew) Morrill was very great at having set offenses. Now it looks like they are a little more free to do what they want to do.”
The only former teammates Davis still has on Utah State’s basketball team are juniors Viko Noma’aea and Jalen Moore. Utah State has a new coach this year, Tim Duryea, who has kept some of Utah State’s former structure, but added to a faster paced game.
“It will just be weird knowing that at one point I was teammates with those guys,” Davis said. “I still like those guys and respect them a lot. When the ball tips up, I’ll just try to treat it like a normal game. I have so much to worry about internally: running the right plays, playing with energy, playing the right defensive, running the offensive where you don’t really have time to think about the other stuff.”
Now the Aggies will have to stop Davis, who already has three double-doubles recorded on the season, and his BYU teammates. And BYU senior captain Chase Fischer says the Cougars are ready to play and believe this week is the team’s most important week yet.
“We’ve got a really good team in our home gym where I think we can get some good momentum,” Fischer said. “Weber was a good win on a neutral court, but I think it helps getting Nick (Emery) back and maybe getting Jamaal back. If we get this win this week against Utah State and then go on the road, I think that’s what we really need for our resume right now going into the Hawaii tournament.”
Part of BYU’s game play is to slow down the 3s and the inside-outside game Utah State uses, according to BYU head coach Dave Rose.
[pullquote]“It’s been a tough week for Nick (Emery). The one thing is his effort’s been tremendous and he’ll continue to play really hard and learn from a tough week.” —Dave Rose, BYU head coach[/pullquote]
“They play really fast and shoot a lot of 3s,” Rose said. “Transition defense and contesting those 3s will be a big part of our defensive game plan that we need to execute.”
Plus, BYU freshman Nick Emery will return to the game on Wednesday night after receiving a suspension for punching Utah’s Brandon Taylor in a game.
“It’s been a tough week for Nick,” Rose said. “The one thing is his effort’s been tremendous and he’ll continue to play really hard and learn from a tough week. I know one thing — this week you’ll see a kid who is playing really, really hard and he’ll give a ton of effort and I hope that he’s in the right mindset, that focus he’ll need to be to perform at a high level and be successful at it.”
BYU tips off against the Aggies at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center on Wednesday, Dec. 9.