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New-Look BYU Basketball Hosts Ottawa (Az.) In Exhibition

Nov 2, 2022, 2:00 AM | Updated: 2:23 am
BYU Basketball, Rudi Williams, Richie Saunders...
BYU basketball shows off the new-look roster led by guard Rudi Williams against Ottawa (Ariz.) in exhibition play. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)
(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball tips off the 2022-23 season with an exhibition game against the Ottawa Spirit.

Ottawa is an NAIA program established in 2017 and based out of Surprise, Arizona. The tip-off at the Marriott Center is at 7 p.m. on BYUtv. Tonight won’t count towards BYU’s record, but it’s another opportunity to glimpse at the new-look roster.

BYU basketball rolls out a new roster

BYU has 12 new players on this year’s roster, headlined by Coastal Carolina grad transfer Rudi Williams. The 6-foot-2 Williams was one of the nation’s top three-point shooters a season ago for the Chanticleers. He has the tall order of filling the shoes left behind by three-year starter Alex Barcello.

Other key newcomers to watch include Arkansas transfer, Jaxson Robinson. The 6-foot-6 Robinson is a versatile guard that teammates say has effortless range from as far as 35 feet. Robinson received an NCAA waiver to play this season after his move from Fayetteville to Provo was his second undergrad transfer. BYU coach Mark Pope has been high on Robinson since he arrived on campus. Despite being a new face in the program, he’s made a compelling case to be in the starting lineup immediately.

How BYU uses 6-foot-11 forward Noah Waterman will also be intriguing to watch. The Detroit Mercy transfer loves shooting the three and playing on the perimeter. What could he potentially provide in the post?

Key returners for the Cougs

It’s not all new for BYU. Mark Pope’s fourth squad at BYU brings back six players from last year’s team that finished 24-11 and had a third-round exit in the NIT. The headline returner is preseason All-WCC selection Fousseyni Traore.

Traore is a 6-foot-6 front-court player that will anchor the five spot a lot for BYU this season. As a freshman, he was a rebounding machine for BYU last season, averaging 8.5 boards per game. However, something to monitor for Traore is his hamstring. As a result, BYU coaches and staff have been cautious with Traore throughout training camp in preparation for the season, as he is vital to a BYU team that will be undersized this year.

Another key returner is Gideon George. After dabbling with the NCAA transfer portal and the NBA draft process, George returned to BYU for his third and final season. During the Blue & White scrimmage, George was a force on the defensive end, highlighted by two blocks on one possession. In addition, he had a plus-20, the best plus/minus of anyone who played during the scrimmage.

BYU vs. Ottawa (Ariz.)

Date: November 2, 2022

Location: Marriott Center

Tip-Off: 7 p.m. (MT)

TV: BYUtv

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.

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