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BYU's Yoeli Childs earns respect from WCC coach, receives more honors

BYU forward Yoeli Childs spins around Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in the Marriott Center.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

LAS VEGAS — At one point during Thursday’s West Coast Conference media day at Orleans Arena, Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett watched BYU forward Yoeli Childs walk by and he couldn't resist playfully calling him out.

Childs scored 33 points against the Gaels in the WCC Tournament semifinals last March.

"We can’t let you get 33 points against us every game. I tried to get you into the NBA. We were trying to up your stock there,” Bennett joked to Childs. “I was like, 'We take one loss and get him out the league the next two years.'"

Childs averaged 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game last season for the Cougars. He shot 54.1 percent from the floor, recorded 15 double-doubles and was named to the All-WCC first team.

After the season, Childs tested the NBA waters before deciding to return to Provo for his junior season.

Thursday, Childs was named to the preseason All-WCC Team.

Also Thursday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that Childs is one of 20 watch-list members for the 2019 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.

“It’s cool to have recognition for what I’ve done in the past but that doesn’t really matter,” Childs said. “What matters is going out every game and playing your best and getting wins.”

LEE BATTLING INJURY: BYU's 6-foot-9 freshman forward Kolby Lee has been sidelined from practice with a foot injury.

Kolby Lee of BYU men's basketball team at media photo day in Provo on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018.
Kolby Lee of BYU men's basketball team at media photo day in Provo on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018.

“We’re still waiting for him to get cleared. Hopefully, he’ll get back as soon as possible,” said coach Dave Rose. “We’re kind of a size-challenged team already. We need as many big guys as we can. And he needs the reps because he’s just learning.”

“Kolby’s been out with some foot stuff. Nothing major,” Childs said. “He should be back soon.”

COUGAR TIPOFF FRIDAY: BYU is holding its annual Cougar Tipoff scrimmage Friday at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center.

“The tipoff will be a good event for our guys just to do something different,” Rose said. “We are tired of playing each other and it’s time to get to next week when we can actually start playing somebody else.”

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Dave Rose speaks during media day in Provo on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Dave Rose speaks during media day in Provo on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

The Cougars will play Saint Martin’s in the first exhibition game Oct. 24, followed by an exhibition game against Westminster Nov. 1.

BYU opens the regular season Nov. 6 at Nevada.

WCC AND ORLEANS ARENA: WCC commissioner Gloria Nevarez said 2019 marks the final year of the league’s current agreement to play the annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament at Orleans Arena.

“We’re currently exploring our future options,” Nevarez said. “We hope to be able to make an announcement about the future of the championships before the season ends.”

Nevarez emphasized that the league has enjoyed its relationship with Orleans Arena.

“The WCC was the first conference to bring its tournament to a neutral site in Las Vegas,” she said. “Since coming here 10 years ago, we’ve had tremendous fan support, selling out Orleans Arena every year.”