BYU COUGARS

What WCC Coaches, Players Think Of BYU Basketball Leaving For Big 12

Oct 6, 2022, 4:11 PM

BYU Basketball, Gonzaga, Mark Few...

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was complimentary towards BYU basketball making a move to the Big 12 Conference. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – The 2022-23 season will be the last year with BYU basketball in the West Coast Conference.

It will bring to a close a unique tenure of BYU hoops. When BYU arrived in the conference in 2011, they were fresh off a Sweet 16 run with Jimmer Fredette. Many BYU fans felt the Cougs were ready to contend for the WCC mountaintop with Gonzaga.

That hasn’t happened.

If BYU doesn’t knock off the juggernaut Zags this year, which seems unlikely, it will be BYU’s first conference where they don’t win a title.

Considering Gonzaga is a national title contender and BYU is trying to find its identity with a new and young roster after an underwhelming NIT finish a season ago, BYU’s existence in the WCC likely concludes without titles.

So did they make an impact on the WCC?

BYU gave the WCC more “street cred”

Asking coaches and players around the West Coast Conference, the answer to that question is simple. Yes, BYU made a significant impact on the WCC.

“They provided a lot and they gave us another program that has a lot of street cred in college basketball,” said Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett at WCC Media Day. “People have known that program for decades –back when (Danny) Ainge played– and they’ve always been good. They’ve always drawn well.

“They gave us a program that gives us national recognition. I mean, shoot, that’s a religion. BYU, like, the whole school, the whole religion follows that school. So everybody knows them, and they’re good. And it’s a great atmosphere to play at.”

Gonzaga’s Mark Few is happy for BYU

Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who has become an institution in Spokane and turned the Zags into a blueblood, had nothing but high praise for BYU basketball.

“I’m happy for them,” said Few about BYU’s move to the Big 12 Conference. “They found a great landing spot and that’s a great step for them for, you know, all of their programs. But it’s been great. Their effect on the league has been huge and I thought it was one of the greatest things we’ve done as a league adding them. In the 30-plus years, I’ve been in [the WCC].

“They’ve been a great partner, they’re a national program, and they act like a national program. Their game day is as good as anybody’s and we’ve been everyone. But to experience it, it’s as big time as anybodys. It’s been a healthy rivalry with some phenomenal games and different characters involved over the years and highly competitive.”

WCC players on BYU basketball leaving for the Big 12

Even players within the West Coast Conference can’t help but tip their cap to what BYU provided to the WCC as they prepare for the Big 12 Conference.

“Like Coach [Few] said, happy for them, the next step in their chapter. I just appreciate the rivalry that I came into,” said Gonzaga guard Julian Strawther. “Obviously, I wasn’t there from the beginning. But I’ve seen it develop. Playing in the Marriott Center for the first time last year was truly amazing. It’s definitely one of the better atmospheres in college basketball, and I mean that when I say it.”

“They did what they felt was best for their program,” said San Francisco guard Khalil Shabazz to KSL Sports. “It will lose a contender in our conference, but you know, that just makes the ability for somebody else to step up another program, another team, or whatever. They did what they needed to do.”

“Easy not to like”

Despite the lack of championships, BYU’s presence around the WCC will be missed.

“I’ve got to be honest; I wish they weren’t leaving,” said Bennett. “Just because of the rivalry they provide and the excitement in our league they provide. They’re easy not to like, so that makes it fun.”

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

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

BYU-Football-Helmet...

Kyle Ireland

2025 Four-Star Wide Receiver LaMason Waller Commits To BYU Football

Four-star wideout and member of the 2025 recruiting class LaMason Waller announced his commitment to Kalani Sitake's BYU football program.

8 hours ago

BYU-Creamery-Chocolate-Milk...

Kyle Ireland

BYU Football Cools Off Louisiana, Tulane Beer Ads With Famous Chocolate Milk

BYU looked to one-up a couple of advertisements shared by Louisiana and Tulane with the "coldest chocolate milk in college football."

12 hours ago

logan porter utah tech...

Brian Preece

Locals In MiLB: San Francisco Giants Trade For Former Utah Tech Catcher Logan Porter

It was always going to be an uphill battle for former Utah Tech Trailblazer Logan Porter as a catcher in the Kansas City Royals system.

2 days ago

schneemann byu cleveland...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Former Cougar Daniel Schneemann Doing It All For Cleveland Guardians

Former BYU Cougar Daniel Schneemann has been incredibly versatile defensively and deadly with the bat since making his MLB debut on June 2.

4 days ago

kanon catchings...

Brian Preece

Projected 2025 NBA First-Round Pick Kanon Catchings Commits To BYU Basketball

Before ever coaching a college game, BYU basketball head coach Kevin Young is raising fans' expectations after reeling in Kanon Catchings.

4 days ago

Mark-Pope-BYU-Cougars-Head-Coach...

Kyle Ireland

Former BYU Head Coach Mark Pope Lists Orem Home For Sale

The home of former BYU men's basketball head coach Mark Pope landed on the market after he left the Cougars for Kentucky in April.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

What WCC Coaches, Players Think Of BYU Basketball Leaving For Big 12