In early December in-state rivals BYU and Utah played for the 257th time, with the Runnin’ Utes winning by the final score of 83-75 in Salt Lake City. Of course the game wasn’t without controversy, as BYU guard Nick Emery was ejected for striking Utah’s Brandon Taylor in the face late in the second half. Emery was given a one-game suspension for his actions, and it appeared as if there was a ready-made subplot for next season’s game in Provo.
Only one problem: the two teams won’t be playing. Wednesday afternoon BYU announced that Utah has decided to cancel next season’s game, and it remains to be seen if the teams will play again any time soon.
“I disagree with the decision,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said in the release. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.”
Rose had more to say about the matter addressing the media Wednesday evening, reiterating his displeasure with Utah’s decision to pay a financial penalty to get out of the game.
“The rivalry is pretty heated. We’ve had some interesting moments over the years,” Rose said. “I’ve been involved in it for 18 years, and that’s a lot of the excitement of the game. You don’t want things to get out of hand, but in rivalry games things tend to get pretty heated at times. I don’t think that, from my point of view, the safety of the players is an issue.”
Next season’s game was scheduled to be played in Provo, and Rose added in his comments that in his opinion the game would still be on if it were to be played at Utah.
6-foot-7 power forward Yoeli Childs improved his stock throughout the summer playing with the Utah Prospects program, with some high-major programs getting involved in his recruitment as a result. When Childs revealed his list of five in early August the stated goal was to wrap things up by the early signing period in mid-November, and he’s done just that.
Childs will remain in his home state of Utah for college, as Utah Prospects head coach Tim Davis announced Saturday evening that the Bingham HS (South Jordan, Utah) senior has verbally committed to BYU. Childs is officially visiting BYU this weekend, with this trip coming one week after he visited another program that really wanted him in Boise State.
Also considered by Childs were Auburn (which was supposed to host him September 25), Princeton and Vanderbilt.
In 2016-17 Childs will join a front court that will add some key options who are due back from LDS missions. Eric Mika, who played his freshman season before going on his mission, returns and Payton Dastrup will join the program as well. Forwards Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw, who completed their respective missions this spring, will both be freshmen in 2015-16.
Childs, a first team all-state selection as a junior, averaged 9.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas in late July. He gives BYU an active front court player who rebounds the ball well on both ends of the floor, and in Las Vegas he also displayed a good face-up game offensively.
One day after it was reported that last season’s CAA Rookie of the Year was transferring to the school, BYU landed its third commitment in the Class of 2016.
6-foot-6 guard/forward Connor Harding verbally committed to Dave Rose’s program, with the Utah Prospects grassroots program announcing the news on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. Harding, who played alongside of the top players in the class in Frank Jackson with the Prospects, joins Steven Beo and Gavin Baxter as players who have committed to BYU.
However Harding will not be joining the Cougars immediately, as the Pocatello, Idaho native will take his two-year LDS mission prior to enrolling. Harding joins Baxter as members of BYU’s 2016 recruiting class who will take their mission beforehand, meaning that they won’t actually join the program until 2018. At the time of his commitment to BYU in the spring, Beo told KSL.com that he had no plans of going on a mission before enrolling at BYU.
As a junior at Highland HS in Pocatello, Harding averaged 16.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and helped lead his team to the Class 5A state title game. Harding has the skill to play either wing position, and in 2018 he’ll join a roster that in all likelihood will include the likes of guards Nick Emery and T.J. Haws and forwards Eric Mika (who played as a freshman in 2013-14 before going on his LDS mission) and Payton Dastrup.