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Mark Pope Continues To Amaze, May Be ‘Most Interesting’ Man Alive

BYU head basketball coach Mark Pope (Photo: Mitch Harper,

PROVO, Utah – When ranked in the Top 25 poll for the first time in nine years, it’s going to lead to a lot more national attention. That is what’s happening right now for the BYU basketball program as the Cougars find themselves ranked No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.

With that new national ranking, BYU head coach Mark Pope has national talking heads talking about the Cougars for the first time in a while.

Pope hopped on The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday to discuss his team’s new national ranking and the 21-7 record with two weeks remaining in the regular season. But they also discussed Pope’s time in the NBA, his stint at Columbia’s medical school for three years, and more.

The wide-ranging topics with BYU’s first-year head coach left the 28-year radio veteran Rome impressed saying, “You are one of the most interesting guys I’ve ever spoken to.”

“There’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of hope, and there’s a lot of urgency. We understand what lays in the balance of every single night we step on the court,” Pope said to Rome on life around his program right now. “We’re feeling all the juice that you want to feel in February and heading into March. We’re exactly where we hoped to be and we know how big every single game is right now.

Some of BYU’s biggest tests are coming up this season with one of the longest teams in America in Santa Clara coming through the Marriott Center on Thursday then No. 2 Gonzaga travels to Provo for a Saturday night showdown.

Rome shows love to BYU & state of Utah sports

Whenever a BYU head coach from the football and men’s basketball programs hops on Jim Rome’s show, Rome usually gives the coaches “Jungle Karma.” For those of you who aren’t fans of Rome, he calls his show “The Jungle.” So any “jungle karma” is a good thing.

Rome gave BYU some Jungle Karma after Pope got off the line on Wednesday.

“BYU is such an interesting school. The programs there — the football program and the basketball program — have always been so interesting to me. I love that BYU does as well with The Jungle as it does and that we do as well with BYU as we do. Utah has always been a fascinating market for me. The jungle has always been embraced [by] Salt Lake, Provo, in and around certain communities. I really value that greatly. I value greatly the relationship with BYU … it’s just a blast.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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