BYU Basketball: Personnel Additions Since Mark Pope Was Hired
PROVO, Utah – New BYU head basketball coach Mark Pope made it clear that rosters in college hoops won’t be set till August. It’s because of the new era that we currently live in with college hoops, dynamic rosters.
When you think your roster is set heading into an off-season. Don’t plan on it. With the transfer portal and social media, it’s easier than ever before for student-athletes to find a new home.
Pope understanding that is the climate of college hoops today has immediately adjusted BYU basketball to that new era.
Since Pope was hired to be BYU’s next head basketball coach, Pope has made seven additions to his program.
There will likely be another move or two between now and when BYU goes on their international trip in August, but for now, here are the seven players Pope has added to his program since he was hired.
Yoeli Childs, Senior
You have to factor Childs into this mix, right? Everyone thought he was as good as gone. Childs even told WatchStadium’s Jeff Goodman that he was leaving. But when the NBA made it clear they weren’t interested at this time and the new attitude in BYU hoops under Mark Pope, Childs opted for another year in Provo. It’s a huge coup for Pope and changes the outlook for his program in the first year.
Getting Childs back for his senior season is equal to adding a four or five-star recruit. The former Bingham High graduate will be one of the best forwards in college basketball this year. And he has the challenge of trying to make his final year at BYU, “magical.”
Jake Toolson, Senior
With a three-point line that is moving back further than where it was previously, the addition of the WAC Player of the Year takes on greater significance. Toolson had interest from Duke, Virginia, Stanford, and other Power Six programs when he entered the transfer portal. Instead of those opportunities, Toolson wanted one more season with Mark Pope and assistant coach Cody Fueger at BYU.
Toolson shot nearly 45 percent from behind the three-point line last season and was 63 percent in effective field goal percentage.
Blaze Nield, Sophomore
Explosive athlete both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court, Blaze Nield has three years of eligibility remaining. Former Lehi High School standout, Nield served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after graduating high school. After returning home from his mission, Nield played last year at Utah State University Eastern. Nield averaged 20 points per game in his one season with USU-Eastern.
Nield will be a preferred walk-on and will be eligible to play this season for BYU hoops.
Wyatt Lowell, Sophomore
Wyatt Lowell is the highest rated recruit to ever sign with Utah Valley University. Lowell signed with the Wolverines because of the relationship he formed with Mark Pope. So naturally, Lowell, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, followed Pope to play at BYU.
Lowell isn’t expected to be eligible this season for BYU due to NCAA transfer rules. After he redshirts the 2019-20 season he will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Richard Harward, Junior
Like Lowell, center Richard Harward followed Pope and Chris Burgess to BYU. Harward was a bright spot for Utah Valley down the stretch run of the season and also was the catalyst behind UVU’s comeback win in the WAC Tournament Quarterfinals against UMKC (pictured above).
The younger brother to former BYU center Ian Harward, “Big Richard” is expected to redshirt this year due to NCAA transfer rules. Harward has two years of eligibility remaining in his collegiate career.
Trey Stewart, Freshman
Last November, Stewart signed a letter of intent to play for Mark Pope at Utah Valley University. After Pope left for BYU, he asked for a release from his letter of intent and then immediately pledged to the Cougars.
Stewart is an underrated athlete who might be the best overall athlete in these new additions the Cougars have added since Pope was hired. Stewart is the son to BYU women’s basketball assistant coach Ray Stewart.
ESPN’s recruiting rankings recently rated Stewart as the 61st overall recruit in the country for the class of 2019.
Trey plans to serve a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to England before enrolling at BYU. Stewart enters the Missionary Training Center on July 3rd.
Jeremy DowDell, Freshman
The most recent addition to the BYU basketball program was Olympus sharpshooter Jeremy DowDell. DowDell averaged 29.6 points per game this past season for the Titans. Paired with Utah signee Rylan Jones, DowDell helped make up one of the best backcourts in the state of Utah last season. DowDell knocked down 117 three-pointers in his senior season at Olympus.
Back in April, DowDell received a scholarship offer from Kyle Smith and the Washington State program. DowDell ultimately turned that down to play for his dream school, BYU as a preferred walk-on.
Before enrolling at BYU, DowDell will serve a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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