Tyler Haws, Robert Brown

BYU’s focus this preseason has been on defense, as it should be

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BYU will enter the 2013-2014 season with one of the best perimeter attacks on the West Coast.

Tyler Haws is a potential all-american, a 6-foot-4 off-guard that averaged 21.7 points despite coming off of a two-year mission to the Phillipines. Matt Carlino may not be the second coming of Jimmer Fredette, but the UCLA transfer has developed into an effective lead guard at this level. Throw in Kyle Collinsworth, who is back from his Mormon mission, as Dave Rose as a group that can match up with just about anyone.

The issue is going to be in the paint. Gone is Brandon Davies, the the 6-foot-10 center that averaged 17.7 points and 8.0 boards last year, which means that Rose is going to have to rely on either talented freshman Eric Mika to step up or hope that Nate Austin can make the jump from serviceable to impactful as a sophomore.

What that means is that this group will once again be getting up and down the floor.

But for the Cougars to have a real shot at unseating Gonzaga for the WCC crown, they are going to have to find a way to defend better than they did last season.

“For the most part, the concentration in the preseason, with this group, with our staff, will be on the defensive end,” Rose said at BYU’s media day. “I think we really need to get back to where we can play man-to-man defense as our core defense, and then mix in zone as a way to help us get through [critical] times in games.”

BYU was 80th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency last season, a stat that could take a hit when you factor in that their best rebounder, Davies, is gone; despite playing a lot of zone, BYU was 34th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage.

BYU is going to get up and down the floor and shoot a bunch of threes and score a bunch of points. They’ll be one of the most fun teams in the country to watch.

But if they can’t get stops, they won’t be beating good teams.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student

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Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.