BYU received a setback this weekend as the team announced that sophomore forward and UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes will miss three months recovering from ankle surgery. The news was reported by Darnell Dickson of the Daily Herald.
Losing the 6-foot-6 Aytes for a few months definitely doesn’t help the Cougars. Although the former Runnin’ Rebel, would have sat out until mid-December due to NCAA transfer restrictions, now Aytes can’t practice with the team before his scheduled return and he’s likely to miss some game action, as well.
“He’s had a sprained ankle for quite a while,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in Dickson’s report. “There were two outcomes that could happen as a result of the surgery: One would be about a two or three week process and one would be two or three months. It was pretty sad news. He’s going to be non-weight bearing for three months. You feel so bad for the payer because he’s waited to play for us.”
The loss of Aytes for a few months limits BYU’s depth for the upcoming season and puts more pressure on junior wing Kyle Collinsworth and sophomore center Luke Worthington to perform this season. BYU already lost center Eric Mika to his two-year Mormon mission and this just puts more pressure on Rose’s front court this season.
It didn’t take very long for former UNLV forward Jamal Aytes to pick a new school, as BYU announced on Friday that the San Diego native has decided to transfer to the WCC program. Aytes originally picked UNLV over BYU in the summer, with the Runnin’ Rebels landing a player whose stock rose during the spring/summer months.
But Aytes saw minimal playing time at UNLV, resulting in his decision to transfer after completing the fall semester. The 6-foot-6 Aytes will officially join the program at the start of the spring semester according to BYU.
“Jamal will be a great addition to our program,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said in the release. “We’re excited to have him on our team. He’s an excellent low-post scorer and will have a positive impact on our front line.”
Adding Aytes to the program will help BYU from a depth standpoint when he’s eligible to play in games at the end of the fall semester next year. BYU loses Eric Mika, who will begin his two-year LDS mission at the completion of the 2013-14 campaign, and 2014 commitment Payton Dastrup will also begin his mission in 2014.
With that being the case junior Nate Austin will be BYU’s most productive front court returnee next season, as he’s currently averaging 4.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
When he committed to UNLV during the summer, forward Jamal Aytes had the look of a player capable of helping the Runnin’ Rebels account for the loss of reserve Savon Goodman, whose off-court issues resulted in his leaving the program. But that didn’t turn out to be the case, as in seven games Aytes saw a grand total of 37 minutes of action.
And as a result of the lack of playing time Aytes has decided to transfer, with the school announcing the news on Wednesday afternoon. Aytes played in four of UNLV’s seven games, posting averages of 2.8 points and 0.8 rebounds per game.
“I have enjoyed my time at UNLV, but transferring gives me a better opportunity for playing time sooner in my career,” Aytes said in the release.
While it would have been nice to hold onto Aytes, this shouldn’t be a major issue for UNLV moving forward. Roscoe Smith (12.3 ppg, 14.7 rpg) is leading the nation in rebounding and Khem Birch (11.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.3 bpg) has picked up where he left off last season, when he won Mountain West Newcomer of the Year honors. UNLV can also call on players such as junior Jelan Kendrick, senior Carlos Lopez-Sosa and underclassmen Demetris Morant and Christian Wood in the front court.
With Smith and Birch playing as they have thus far, playing time has been tough to come by for Lopez-Sosa and the two underclassmen. That was also the case for Aytes, who has decided that it would be best for him to continue his career at another school.