BYU basketball celebrates first day of training by televising it on BYUtv
In BYU coach Mark Pope’s inaugural season at the helm almost two years ago, he hosted a Midnight Madness event at the Marriott Center in Provo as part of his team’s first public practice.
It ended with a “practice” in court for the thousands of fans in attendance – which came in handy months later when the Cougars upset No.2 Gonzaga at the Marriott Center.
But on Tuesday night, for the second season in a row, BYU celebrated college basketball’s first official training day by airing it on BYUtv, with no fans.
The Cougars’ first workout actually started at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning as part of their two-a-day workouts.
Both practices took place on the Richards Building campus because the Marriott Center and the Marriott Center annex were unavailable. The Marriott Center is used for other activities and the annex courtyard is repainted.
But BYU still did a lot of work on Tuesday in a lively, fast-paced practice that included plenty of drills, running games, and scrums.
Among other highlights, goalkeeper Alex Barcello buried a bunch of 3 points and rookie Fousseyni Traore took a pass and exploded to the brim for a memorable dunk.
“Every day when you sit down as a coach, the first thing you write down and the last thing you write down and the middle thing you write down is effort. And the efforts of our guys have been fantastic, ”Pope told BYUtv. “Their effort and energy has been so good. It takes you far. Their commitment to trying to do it together is high level. These are probably the most important ingredients to have a chance to be a great team. “
The Cougars welcome several newcomers to the roster, including transfers Te’Jon Lucas and Seneca Knight.
Knight received his NCAA waiver on September 24 to be eligible this season.
Barcello can’t wait to play with Lucas and Knight.
“They are both phenomenal players and phenomenal guys. They are really genuine guys; fun to be with us, ”said Barcello, who averaged 16.1 points last season. “I haven’t been surrounded by a team that drags so much off the pitch. On the pitch, they are both players. They can create, they can shoot, they can pass, they can handle the ball. It will be fun to play with them.
Gavin Baxter, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 2 of the 2020-21 campaign, took part in drills.
Pope acknowledged that there is a lot of work to be done before the start of the season.
“We have a lot of pieces that are talented guys who have different skills,” Pope said. “We are not yet close to being functional. But I’m super optimistic and excited about this team. I think it will be a special group that can accomplish great things.
The Blue & White game, an intra-team scrum, will take place on October 29 at the Marriott Center.
The Cougars will play an exhibition game against Colorado Christian on Nov. 4 and begin the 2021-22 season Nov. 9 at home against Cleveland State.
“It’s a fun team to play. It’s a fun coaching team to play for, ”said Barcello. “We have worked so hard this summer. It was fun to be a part of it. I’m super excited for how this season is going to go.