Just a couple days ago BYU announced that junior guard Kyle Collinsworth, who led the team in both rebounds and assists last season, was given full medical clearance after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the WCC tournament final in March. Saturday night Collinsworth played against outside competition for the first time since that injury, and despite playing limited minutes he contributed in multiple areas at BYU beat Seattle Pacific 75-44.
Collinsworth played 13 minutes in the Cougars’ second and final exhibition game, shooting 1-for-5 from the field and accounting for two points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Collinsworth played seven minutes in the first half and six in the second, as Rose and his staff kept a keen eye on his minutes ahead of the team’s season opener against Long Beach State Friday night.
“It felt great,” Collinsworth said of his return after being cleared by doctors earlier in the week. “The mindset was to be a big defensive presence, play as hard as I can, and get guys shots. That’s what I wanted to do tonight, get some rust off, and get ready for Friday.”
Another takeaway from the two exhibition games for BYU is the amount of depth they have both on the perimeter and in the front court. Collinsworth and Tyler Haws, one of the nation’s best scorers, will lead the way but Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer is expected to be an impact addition for the Cougars in 2014-15. Saturday night Fischer scored a game-high 21 points, shooting 9-for-13 from the field while also dishing out four assists without a turnover.
In total 12 Cougars played double-digit minutes Saturday night, and they even showed some full court man-to-man defense with the half-court version being what BYU runs most often. Having a multitude of options gives Rose and his staff the ability to try different looks, and defensively they can use more pressure in order to take advantage of the depth.
Seattle Pacific committed 24 turnovers, and while BYU will face better competition (and likely not spread the minutes around as they did in the exhibitions) their depth will be one of the best assets in 2014-15.