Opinion: Nick Emery’s Legacy At BYU Will Forever Be ‘Sketchy’

Sep 7, 2019, 2:41 AM | Updated: 11:43 am

Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23), guard Nick Emery (4) and guard Connor Harding (44)...

Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23), guard Nick Emery (4) and guard Connor Harding (44) sit on the bench as the BYU Cougars and San Diego Toreros play in WCC tournament action at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 9, 2019. San Diego won 80-57. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Nick Emery’s name will forever conjure up opinions from BYU and sports fans all across the state of Utah and beyond.

To put it lightly, Emery’s time at BYU was like a sitcom fit for TNT, because he knows drama.

From young hotshot recruit at Lone Peak High to late-night hot take guy on Twitter. There has never been a dull moment with Nick Emery.

Emery: BYU coaches are ‘super sketchy’

In case you missed it, Emery took to Twitter on Friday night, early Saturday morning (for those of us in Tennessee for BYU football’s game against the Vols) to quote tweet a basketball recruit letting him know what he would be getting into if he chose to continue his basketball career at BYU.

Usually, I like to let stories like these type of stories bake for a little bit before digesting, but it’s hard to ignore what Emery was throwing down.

The recruit is Wasatch Academy’s Mady Sissoko, a forward who’s considered by many national recruiting services as one of the best frontcourt players in the country.

From Emery for Sissoko, “Honest tweet – you would be playing with some of the greatest dudes and have great teammates at BYU.. but playing for those coaches would be an absolute disaster. They are not what they portray and are super sketchy and dishonest! Good luck with the decision bro.”

Emery’s time at BYU mired in controversy 

This commentary from Emery comes days after the NCAA announced they had denied BYU’s appeal for 47 vacated wins that centered around improper benefits violations with the former BYU guard.

Despite Emery’s improper benefits scandal and run-ins with the NCAA, BYU basketball and their fans were forgiving of Emery at every turn.

When Emery announced his retirement from basketball in July it was met with many congratulations and hope that he was at peace with his life.

After this late-night barrage of tweets bringing a negative light to a program that stood behind by him for so long, you can’t help but reflect how we got to this point with Emery.

As a freshman, Emery was setting freshman records and looked to be the next big-time scorer to come out of former BYU head coach Dave Rose’s run-and-gun offense.

No one can forget the altercation with Utah’s Brandon Taylor that inspired Runnin’ Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak to cancel the rivalry game the following year. It was the first time since the 1940s that the rivalry game on the hardwood took a break.

Then Emery told a Gonzaga fan in Las Vegas to sit down because they beat their No. 1 ranked “a**.”

Loyal to the Royal

All along, Dave Rose stood loyal to Emery.

Even when the NCAA scandal came to light and Emery was entrenched in a difficult divorce that led to him withdrawing from BYU for a season, Rose was committed to bringing back his guy.

During that time Emery vowed to Cougar Nation that he would return to BYU and went in details about the nastiness of his divorce.

BYU continued to support Emery through all of it.

Despite 47 wins being vacated from Rose and BYU basketball’s all-time record books, Emery was back last season appearing in 23 games. In those 23 game appearances, he started in eight and was at best a role player in Rose’s final rotation as head coach. A far cry from the visions of grandeur BYU fans had when Emery first arrived on the scene as a high-scoring freshman.

What’s in a ‘sideways’ look?

Dave Rose retired this past March, ushering in a new era of BYU basketball. The new era featured UVU’s Mark Pope, who returned to BYU, where he was a Rose assistant from 2011 to 2015.

Pope made it clear to the media back in June that when he was hired, Emery didn’t seem to be on board right away.

“The first time I walked into the locker room, most of the guys were looking at me pretty sideways. And we were really honest with each other. I told them you guys are in the unfortunate position of not having chosen the coach that is here now. You didn’t come here and choose to play for me. With Nick, he was looking at me sideways a little bit. But you would have to ask him,” said Pope.

Pope later went on to say that he felt Emery was in a good spot at that time when summer conditioning began.

One month later, Emery retired from the game of basketball.

Emery went to Twitter again on Friday night saying there is so much internal stuff that no one knows about. The tweet has since been deleted.

Did Emery have his scholarship taken away? Did he not get a fair shake to be a significant contributor as a senior? Was Mark Pope and BYU ready to move on from Emery all along? Don’t know.

One thing we do know is that a handful of players and recruits from UVU followed BYU’s current coaching staff from Orem to Provo in moves that would show loyalty over dishonesty.

At the end of the day, Emery made a poor mistake with his Twitter. In the big picture, the late-night rant caps off a legacy at BYU that will forever be mired as one thing – sketchy.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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Opinion: Nick Emery’s Legacy At BYU Will Forever Be ‘Sketchy’