‘He’s been a great piece to our program’: How BYU’s Tredyn Christensen is quietly making an impact
During his career, he’s been asked to fill a variety of roles. Now, as a preferred walk-on at BYU, Christensen is making the most of his opportunity
BYU forward Tredyn Christensen’s basketball journey has required constant adjustments — and he’s shown a willingness, and ability, to adapt.
He’s gone from Westlake High to Snow College to Chaminade in Honolulu. Now, the 6-foot-7, 235-pound junior from Eagle Mountain is grateful to be a Cougar.
“He’s gained the trust of the guys on the team and certainly the staff that he can go in at certain moments and really help us.” — BYU coach Mark Pope on Tredyn Christensen
During his career, he’s been asked to fill a variety of roles. As a preferred walk-on at BYU, Christensen is quietly making the most of his opportunity.
“I just do whatever I’ve got to do, whatever the coaches ask of me, I’m going to do it,” he said. “I’m going to continue to work hard and be ready for each game. If I get called, I’ll be ready.”
Two of his most impactful performances happened on Jan. 28 in a loss to Saint Mary’s (seven minutes, two points) and Feb. 11 in a setback at Gonzaga (season-high nine minutes, three rebounds, one point).
Being a walk-on, even a preferred walk-on, is not easy. It’s about providing a lot of energy to practices, playing on the scout team, and seeing precious little playing time in the actual games.
“It’s definitely challenging. We’ve got to bring it every single day,” Christensen said. “You’ve got to come and push all the other guys, the starters, to get better and it gets us better, too. It’s been great. The coaching staff is great here. They respect every single one of us the same.”
While walk-ons are unsung, coach Mark Pope knows how valuable players like Christensen are to the team.
“Treydn’s helped us a lot. He had some important minutes against Gonzaga and his minutes against Saint Mary’s were huge,” Pope said. “He’s gained the trust of the guys on the team and certainly the staff that he can go in at certain moments and really help us.
“He’s got some upside, too. His ball skills are really impressive. He’s comfortable making plays. He’s comfortable passing. He’s comfortable handling the ball. He’s got a good feel for space. And he’s got a hefty body. He can stand in there and compete physically.
“It was really important to have him fresh coming off the bench at Gonzaga, where we were in foul trouble,” Pope continued. “We had some fatigue out there and he was able to throw a fresh body out there and be really functional. He’s been great.”
After earning first-team All-State honors as a senior at Westlake High, Christensen played two seasons at Snow College. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a sophomore.
Christensen then took his game to Hawaii to play at Chaminade, where he appeared in 26 games, including 12 starts. He averaged 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
When the season ended, Christensen decided he needed a change.
“It wasn’t really my fit. I came back to Utah to be closer to family,” he said. “I got in touch with some of the (BYU) coaches and I came here for a little visit and I hung out with the guys. It felt like home. It was great. Everybody wants to play at BYU. It was an easy decision.”
Christensen’s father-in-law is former BYU football star Jamal Willis.
“I think he wanted me to come here,” Christensen said.
When it comes to filling out a roster, Pope and his staff search for players like Christensen.
“One of the things you look at in a walk-on, and adding the final pieces to a roster, you want guys that can function out on the court, that can make every play,” Pope said. “His background was super appealing to us, especially with the outside-in approach to transition that we’re taking.”
In his various stops, Christensen has played multiple positions. His versatility is helpful during BYU practices and, sometimes, in games.
“My whole college career I had played point guard until I got here,” he said. “It was fun. In high school, I played a lot of the four and the five, too. I’m pretty big so I play with my strength. It was a good challenge and it’s been great.”
“He’s had a really interesting road, not just with the schools he’s attended but also in his life and skill set. It’s super unique,” Pope said. “He was a starting point guard and now he’s playing the five. There’s not that many guys that play those two positions.”
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Christensen possesses the right kind of walk-on mindset, Pope said. And he’s making a difference in the program.
“The most important thing for a walk-on is to be durable. The most important thing is that they’re there to go every day. He’s been incredible that way. He’s been unbelievable. He’s got a durable body and a durable game,” Pope said. “He’s just got a really humble and hungry attitude. He wants to be here for sure. He loves being with his team.
“He believes in the direction that we’re going. He’s been a great mentor to these young guys. And he’s helping us on the court. He’s a mature guy. He’s been a great piece to our program. I’m super grateful that he’s here.”