Facebook Twitter

What do BYU hoop recruits bring to roster?

BYU coach Mark Pope finished roster with signing of LSU transfer Seneca Knight

SHARE What do BYU hoop recruits bring to roster?
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope claps and cheers for his team on the sideline of the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope claps and cheers for his team as BYU and Pepperdine play in semifinal West Coast Conference tournament basketball action at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, March 8, 2021. With the signing of 6-foot-7 wing player Seneca Knight from LSU/San Jose State on Monday, Pope finished his roster for the coming season.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

With the signing of 6-foot-7 wing player Seneca Knight from LSU/San Jose State on Monday, basketball coach Mark Pope finished his roster for the coming season.

You can read about Knight and his journey in this piece from Ryan McDonald. Joining guard Te’jon Lucas from Milwaukee, Pope has filled out his roster with three very athletic guards if you count the return of point guard and captain Alex Barcello. Jeff Call delves deeper into Knight’s story in this feature.

What this means is the Cougars will have experienced depth to begin the upcoming season. Pope will have multiple choices for lineups and combinations and the Cougars will have a far better defensive and rebounding team if center/forward Gavin Baxter can return by the time the season kicks off. The additions also make this one of the most diverse teams BYU has ever put on the court with three players from the African countries of Mali, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Cougar Insider’s predictions

Here is the question of the week: Mark Pope appears to have finished his roster for this coming basketball season. What do the new faces mean generally and what kind of team the Cougars will put on the court?

Jay Drew: Mark Pope and his staff have missed on a couple of transfers this offseason, but all that should be forgotten now that they have landed Seneca Knight, the transfer from LSU. Pope has worked his magic once again. I’ve followed Knight since his days in the Mountain West at San Jose State, and I have always been impressed with his ability to score. He’s just what the Cougars needed.

BYU will put one of its most talented, most athletic teams in recent memory on the floor this season. On paper, it appears to be another NCAA Tournament team, led by Alex Barcello, of course.

It kind of makes one wonder how long BYU can keep Pope in Provo. He has proven to be an excellent recruiter. Of course, his assistants deserve a lot of credit as well. 

Dick Harmon: Two years ago Mark Pope did something I doubted anyone could do: get Yoeli Childs to return for his senior year. Then he did it again this spring with Alex Barcello. That is impressive. He went 2 for 2 in getting the best player and producer to return for another season.

Then, according to reports this winter/spring we learned that transfer portal targets Seneca Knight (LSU) and Te’jon Lucas (Milwaukee) were among some 20 prospects who put their names in the portal that Pope’s staff contacted within minutes — not hours or days. That is impressive.

Pope’s staff missed on some, but you have to admit, this recruiting work is as good and intense as BYU has seen from any staff in memory, perhaps ever.

As far as the roster, it is way too early to tell what chemistry this squad will have, how productive some of these new faces will be, but the athleticism is significantly upgraded on this team. If you take Caleb Lohner’s remarkable athleticism and double that with Lucas and Knight, you can get a glimpse of the level of hops, speed, reach and defensive prowess that Pope upgraded to his team this spring. To me, this is college basketball 101, recruiting. Well done.

Cougar tales

A former Cougar, Kolby Lee, opened up about one of the worst experiences in his life in this story by Jeff Call. He had bacterial pneumonia. Former guard Brandon Averette has signed to play in Europe. With his legs returning to form after missionary service and sitting out this past season, guard Hunter Erickson is excelling in the Powder League this summer and is anxious to get going this fall for Mark Pope.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

  • BYU has some significant holes to fill on the defensive line (Deseret News)
  • Preview of BYU’s basketball roster (Vanquish the Foe)
  • Notre Dame responds to speculation about BYU game (KSL Sports)
  • LSU transfer explains why he signed at BYU (KSL Sports)


Comments from Deseret News readers:

The guard play had been the big question mark but now looks to be pretty good next season with the two transfers and Alex returning. Congrats to Coach Pope and his staff for putting this together.

— intrinsicrewards

I wish (Seneca Knight) nothing but health and success at his new school and look forward to seeing him on the court sometime in December. His choices were down to BYU, Idaho, and Georgia Southern. I think that he chose wisely for many reasons.

— Not_paying_for_the_Trib

Up next

Aug. 14 | 7 p.m. | Women’s soccer | vs. Weber State | @Provo

Aug. 19 | 7 p.m. | Women’s soccer | vs. Ohio State | @Provo

Aug. 21 | 7 p.m. | Women’s soccer | vs. Auburn | @Provo

Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. | Women’s soccer | vs. USC | @Provo

Sept. 4 | 9:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Arizona | @Las Vegas

Sept. 11 | 8:15 p.m. | Football | vs. Utah | @Provo