Four-Year Experience At BYU Made Yoeli Childs A ‘Cougar For Life’

Mar 18, 2020, 4:04 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 12:57 am

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s still taking some time getting used to saying Yoeli Childs and former BYU player in the same sentence. But that’s where we are.

Never again will BYU fans get to witness the star forward compete again in a uniform for the Cougars. It’s a tough feeling to shake as there was unfinished business for Childs to achieve the “special” season he and his teammates had set out to do when he shocked everyone that he was coming back for his senior year.

But the season that saw BYU win 24 games was cut short due to the pandemic that is the novel Coronavirus. It wasn’t the ending anyone could have imagined, but it still was a special year for Childs who leaves BYU as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds and sixth in career scoring.

“I think that we obviously hoped for a different kind of special,” said Childs to KSL Sports. “We hoped to make noise in the [NCAA] tournament. And that’s just reality. That’s what we were hoping for and that’s what we wanted. We wanted to go places that no BYU team had ever gone before.

“For the reasons, we thought [this year] would be special, it didn’t happen necessarily. But it’s been special for a lot of other reasons. It’s been special to see the community gather around this team. It’s been special to see the way we fought for each other, the way we sacrificed, the way each player has thrown out individual agendas to make the team better. It’s been special to see the sacrifice and the love in this locker room and with our fan base. It’s definitely a group of guys that I’ll remember forever and for that reason, I feel it was a special year.”

Always have the Growth Mindset

Childs turned down lucrative six-figure offers from professional franchises overseas to play his final year at BYU. It almost doesn’t feel right that a man who turned down big-money offers and lost out on nine games due to an egregious NCAA suspension and another four to a frightening finger injury would lose out on the chance to not play in the NCAA Tournament.

But like anything with Childs, he’s taking it in stride and trying to find the positives going forward.

“It’s sad the way it’s ending and it’s not what we want but it really is kind of an accumulation of what this season has been,” Childs said. “We’re going to grow from this. Throughout this pandemic, the world is going to grow from this, our country is going to grow from this. BYU sports, we’re going to grow from this and as a team, we’re going to grow from this. We’ve built bonds that are going to last a lifetime and we’re just trying to have faith at this time. But like we’ve been saying all season, God’s plan is greater than our plan.”

Impact of the BYU experience on Yoeli Childs

When you talk about what you want to BYU student-athlete to be, it’s hard to not pick someone Yoeli Childs.

A man who embraced everything that BYU strives to be as a university and athletic department but on and off-the-court. Heck, the guy even gave handshakes to every member of the media after each practice availability and postgame press conference. Childs could do it all but the impact BYU had on him will last a lifetime.

“It’s really hard to put into words how much this university means to me and how big of a blessing it’s been to play here,” Childs said to KSL Sports. “[To BYU fans], thank you from the bottom of my heart. The rest of my teammates feel the same way. We felt your love. I personally saw the love of this fan base from the time I committed here and it has been an experience unlike any other I know.

“No matter where I go for the rest of my life, I will hold this experience dear to my heart. BYU is a special place and in my opinion, it’s the greatest place in the world with the greatest fans in the world. It breaks my heart that I’m never gonna be able to play on that court again. But it’s been a heck of a journey. It’s been a ton of fun and I’ll be a Cougar for the rest of my life.”

Yoeli’s career accomplishments

  • 1st in career rebounds: 1,053
  • 5th in career blocks: 159
  • 6th in career scoring: 2,031
  • 2nd in career double-doubles: 45
  • 6th all-time for 20-point games: 45
  • The second player in WCC history to produce 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. The other is former USF Don and NBA star Bill Cartwright.
  • 111 career starts

The full interview with Yoeli Childs on KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday on KSL NewsRadio can be heard below.

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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Four-Year Experience At BYU Made Yoeli Childs A ‘Cougar For Life’