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Who Are The Best Basketball Players Within BYU’s Football Program?

Mar 19, 2021, 7:46 PM
BYU Football - Aaron Roderick...
Passing Game Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Aaron Roderick talks with media after a walkthrough in their indoor practice facility in Provo on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – March Madness is consuming everyone’s minds while BYU football continues to grind in spring practice.

The excitement for March Madness is already palpable. Everyone’s brackets are up in flames. Especially the Ohio State fan at my hotel here in Indianapolis who’s probably going to be pulling an all-nighter at the bar in the lobby.  But except for that guy, we all love March Madness.

It’s not often BYU’s football program takes a back seat to anyone within BYU athletics. But that highlights how big March Madness is.

With everyone having basketball on the mind these days, it begs the question, which BYU football players are the best players to hoop it up if they had the chance to play some pickup on the hardwood?

According to offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, he would go with himself. He said that with a hint of sarcasm but did note he can knock down three-pointers. The best coach on the staff who can ball is Harvey Unga, according to Roderick.

What is it about the running back coaches? Former RB coach AJ Steward, now at Oregon State, was another hooper when he was with the coaching staff for two years (2018-19).

Roderick pointed out Kalani Sitake as someone who is “pretty good” on the hardwood as well.

Lopini Katoa, when asked who he thinks are the best hoopers on the football team, he replied laughingly, “Who thinks they’re the best or who’s actually the best? Because that’s two different questions.”

Katoa pointed to Neil Pau’u, who he joked fits under both questions. But said, “he’s pretty good.” Other teammates Katoa mentioned include tight end Isaac Rex and offensive tackle Blake Freeland. Freeland, a former quarterback in high school, has thrown down some dunks on his BYU teammates, according to Lopini.

Former BYU QB Zach Wilson began his athletic career as a basketball player before falling in love with football. Can any of the current quarterbacks in BYU’s program hoop?

“I think they’re all pretty good. I couldn’t say. They’re actually all pretty good. I’ve played with at least three of them [in basketball], and the quarterbacks are a good basketball group. I can’t say one or the other.”

Which BYU football players would you pick for your pickup basketball team? You can share your comments on the social media channels below.

Follow Mitch Harper and his NCAA Tournament 2021 coverage from Indianapolis with BYU and Utah State by following KSL Sports on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and the KSL Sports app.

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