Observations From BYU Basketball Summer Scrimmage

Aug 11, 2023, 5:59 PM | Updated: 6:00 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball opened the Marriott Center Annex doors for the media to watch an entire practice in their buildup to the upcoming foreign tour to Italy and Croatia.

The 2023-24 squad will leave next Friday before returning on August 28.

It was an eventful practice. There was a game-winner; moments before that, there was a fight between two players. Let’s unpack some of the observations.

Dallin Hall hits a halfcourt shot at the buzzer

— Dallin Hall hit a game-winner for Team Blue. Not only was it a game-winning shot, but it came from halfcourt. Team Blue was down by one with 7.2 seconds remaining after Spencer Johnson knocked down a baseline shot. Hall took the inbounds pass, pushed it upcourt, and fired off a halfcourt- shot to give his team the win.

— Hall has shown a knack for big plays in the clutch. Last season, he knocked down two game-winners against Missouri State and nationally-ranked Creighton.

Different lineups

— Mark Pope rolled out different lineups. But for the last run of lineups that featured the game-winning shot, Hall was on team blue with Fousseyni Traore, Trey Stewart, Trevin Knell, and Noah Waterman. Team White had Spencer Johnson, Jaxson Robinson, Atiki Ally Atiki, Tredyn Christensen, and Tanner Hayhurst.

Fight in practice

— Regarding the fight, Atiki Ally Atiki and Trey Stewart exchanged a few words, and both got physical with one another. Atiki more so than Stewart. There was a little bit of cooling off then play resumed with Johnson knocking down the baseline jumper. Atiki made sure to give a hard screen to Stewart during that play that set up the Johnson bucket.

— Mark Pope said in the post-scrimmage availability that he sees the high level of competition and intensity helping bring a team together.

Aly Khalifa was sidelined

— We didn’t see Charlotte transfer Aly Khalifa compete in the scrimmage on Friday. Khalifa tweaked his knee yesterday in practice. He’s in a ramp-up phase to get back to action, potentially for next week’s foreign tour.

New and improved Fouss

— Fousseyni Traore appears to be losing some weight as he potentially prepares to play the four in BYU’s starting lineup, with Khalifa likely playing the five when the season rolls around.

Other tidbits

— Jaxson Robinson appears to be a lot more comfortable in his role. Last year, he was quiet and didn’t speak much on the floor. He was more outspoken and on the attack within BYU’s offense.

— Former BYU basketball big man Nate Austin was working with the staff during practice on Friday. Austin has been a graduate assistant at BYU in the past. He left BYU to become the head coach at Grantsville High School. BYU still has one opening on the staff as an assistant coach if Austin is brought on full-time.

— Three-point shooting left much to be desired during the scrimmage. The shots were not falling consistently from beyond the arc.

— Former BYU basketball greats Jeff Chatman and Utah Jazz executive Danny Ainge attended practice today.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter/X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Observations From BYU Basketball Summer Scrimmage