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Kevin Young Sees Each Assistant Bringing An ‘Expertise’ To BYU Basketball

Jun 6, 2024, 5:54 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2024, 12:50 pm

PROVO, Utah— On Thursday, BYU basketball head coach Kevin Young spoke with the media for the first time since he was introduced in April.

The gathering, which included more media than this reporter has experienced for a summer check-in on BYU basketball, took place inside the Marriott Center Annex.

Upon walking onto the floor, the media saw former Utah big man Keba Keita shooting free throws in his new BYU gear. Richie Saunders and Dallin Hall were back in the Annex after brief stays in the Transfer Portal.

BYU basketball coach Kevin Young officially has his five assistants

Of course, there were all the new faces on the coaching staff. Thursday was Young’s first full day with his officially announced assistants.

The assistant coaches include former G-League head coach Will Voigt, Tim Fanning from Overtime Elite, Saint Joseph’s assistant John Linehan, former Utah assistant Chris Burgess, and former Stanford assistant Brandon Dunson.

Young envisions each coach bringing something unique to the program.

“In the college space, there’s recruiting expertise, then there’s on-court expertise. So every guy that I brought in has a specific niche in the recruiting world, whether that’s geographic, whether that’s networks, and so forth. So each one brings something different there,” said Young.

Recruiting expertise

The recruiting piece has worked well for Young, who has primarily operated in professional basketball for the past 15 years. Since Young was hired, BYU has added four-star Brody Kozlowski from Corner Canyon High School, who had connections to Chris Burgess and BYU.

Burgess also played a significant role in bringing Keba Keita from Utah.

BYU landed four-star point guard Elijah Crawford, who initially signed to play with Stanford and was recruited by Brandon Dunson.

Then, the crown jewel of the 2024 recruiting cycle was Egor Demin from Real Madrid. BYU has coaches in Young, Voigt, Fanning, and Burgess with strong connections to international prospects and their agents.

On-court expertise

“Then from a tactical side, I’ll have guys broken up similar to a football staff with the offensive and defensive kind of lanes, and heavy in the player development space as well, and then some special projects. Those are kind of the buckets that they will fill.”

Young has primarily served as an “offensive coordinator” for many of the teams he’s worked with in the NBA and G-League. So, it could be natural to think he would be one of the leaders in creating BYU’s on-court product. But Young hasn’t made any official designations yet.

The same goes for the defense.

Will Voigt has a track record of defensive success, having created the “Peel Switch” defense with the Angola National Team.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Young said. “I was mainly focused on people first. Obviously, I’ve coached against Will forever. So he’s a really good basketball coach and he’s not just a defensive guy. That’s where he’s kind of made his mark, so I’ll definitely lean on him a lot there. But regardless of where guys sort of lie and their expertise, I want these guys to be extremely well-rounded.”

BYU basketball was patient by design to bring the staff together

Young was hired midway through April and didn’t officially announce his staff until the first week of June. He acknowledges that it was his own decision to be patient in assembling the staff.

“I think everything starts with the people; personality fits, are they a good person? That’s the number one thing,” Young said.

“Then obviously, within that, what boxes can they check for me? Whether that’s college expertise, international expertise, or tactical expertise, and that’s why I didn’t just rush out and hire five guys out of the gate. It was a process to make sure we got the right people in here and we went through a pretty good vetting process. Obviously, I had a relationship with the majority of them, but using some of the administration here to vet these guys with me and do it together.”

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

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Kevin Young Sees Each Assistant Bringing An ‘Expertise’ To BYU Basketball