PROVO — A couple of questions regarding BYU's future basketball roster were answered Thursday. The Cougars announced that reserve guard Daniel Bobik is transferring to Oklahoma State, while freshman center Jared Jensen, who had been considering an LDS Church mission, will return to play for BYU next season.
Gradually, the look of the 2002-03 team is taking shape. Earlier this week, Dixie State College point guard Kevin Woodberry signed a national letter-of-intent with the Cougars.
Bobik's decision wasn't a major surprise, considering his playing time decreased during the second half of the season. What's more, the Cougars will have a surplus of shooting guards in the program next year, including returning starters Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen, as well as Wisconsin transfer Ricky Bower.
Coach Steve Cleveland had asked Bobik to redshirt next year, but Bobik declined. "It didn't feel right," said the 6-foot-6 sophomore, who eventually found a home at OSU. "I wanted to go to a place where I'd be appreciated. I felt it was necessary to move on. I'm excited to get a new start. It's worked out perfect for my family."
Bobik and his wife are expecting their first child, a boy, in July.
The Newbury Park, Calif., native was one of the first recruits Cleveland attracted to BYU. After signing with the Cougars in 1997, Bobik left for a mission to the Dominican Republic and joined the team in 2000. But things didn't work out at BYU as Bobik had hoped.
"I thought I'd have more of a chance to develop as a player," he said. "I felt like I was getting squeezed out, that they weren't counting on me. That hurts."
In high school, Bobik was recruited by Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton. Bobik's father, Ralph, played for Sutton at Creighton in the 1970s. Daniel Bobik believes his style of play will be a better fit in Sutton's system. "I'm looking forward to working with him and becoming a better player," he said. Bobik won't have a scholarship at OSU next season, when he must redshirt, but he has been promised one for his junior year.
Bobik has been to Stillwater, Okla., only once. That was when he attended a Sutton basketball camp there as a 13-year-old.
Last summer, Bobik spent a couple of weeks in New York City playing hoops with a number of guards from the Big Apple, including two Cowboy players, Mo Baker and Cheyne Gadson. "I became good friends with them," Bobik said.
In what turned out to be his final game as a Cougar, Bobik came off the bench and scored 15 points, including 5-for-5 from the field and 4-for-4 from 3-point territory, in a loss at Memphis in the second round of the NIT. Bobik averaged 6.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in 2001-02. He shot 42 percent from 3-point range and a team-leading 87 percent from the free throw line.
"We'll miss Daniel, but fully support his decision. We wish him well," Cleveland said. "I believe Daniel's best two years are ahead him."
Cleveland is hoping for more good years from Jensen, who was the co-freshman of the year in the Mountain West Conference last season.
Jensen will spend time working on perimeter skills during the off-season, Cleveland said. Next year, he won't have to play as much at center because Rafael Araujo, a 6-foot-11, 260-pounder from Western Arizona, will assume that role.
Cleveland said there is "a strong possibility" that Jensen will go on a mission after his sophomore season.
Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson will be going on a mission this summer, after he tries out for the Canadian Junior National Team.
Bobik's departure frees up a scholarship for BYU, and the Cougars plan to add one or two more players during the spring signing period. A couple of prospects will be making campus recruiting visits next week.