BYU entered last March’s WCC tournament title game against Gonzaga with hopes of leaving no doubt in the eyes of the NCAA tournament selection committee by winning the automatic bid. Of course Gonzaga raced out of the gates, taking a 17-point lead into the intermission and winning the game by the final score of 75-64.
The outcome wasn’t the biggest loss BYU suffered on that night either, as starting point guard Kyle Collinsworth went down with a torn ACL in his right knee. Some wondered if Collinsworth’s injury would cost BYU an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, but that obviously wasn’t the case with the Cougars getting into the field. Not having their best playmaker impacted BYU offensively, and if they’re to make a run at Gonzaga in the WCC in 2014-15 Collinsworth will need to be at full strength alongside prolific scoring guard Tyler Haws.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, BYU head coach Dave Rose says that Collinsworth “is doing well in his rehab and they hope that he’ll be back at full strength by November.”
That would be big news for BYU, as Collinsworth not only led the Cougars in assists (4.6 apg) last season but in rebounds (8.1 rpg) as well. When the decision was made to have Collinsworth handle even more of the playmaking responsibilities BYU became a better offensive team, and the Cougars had won ten of their eleven games prior to the loss to Gonzaga in Las Vegas.
BYU will have other players capable of providing depth at the point, including Frank Bartley IV, Skyler Halford and Anson Winder (all of whom were mentioned in Katz’s report), and that will be important with Matt Carlino having transferred to Marquette. But Collinsworth is the key for BYU because of his ability to make an impact in multiple areas.
If he’s healthy, BYU will have an even better chance of factoring into the WCC race.