LAS VEGAS — BYU senior forward Yoeli Childs has missed 13 of a total 31 games this season due to a suspension and a serious finger injury, but he’s still managed to make quite an assault on the school’s record books.
In last Saturday’s win at Pepperdine — the Cougars’ regular-season finale — Childs scored a career-high 38 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. That day, he eclipsed the 2,000-point milestone, and he now has 2,008 career points, good for No. 6 all-time at BYU.
Childs is only the sixth Cougar to score at least 2,000 career points, and he’s the only BYU player with 2,000-plus points and 1,000-plus rebounds.
And when the Cougars play in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals Monday (9:30 p.m., MST, ESPN2) at the Orleans Arena, Childs needs only five rebounds to surpass Kyle Collinsworth as the school’s all-time rebounding leader. Childs has pulled down 1,043 boards compared to Collinsworth’s 1,047.
Childs has already eclipsed Michael Smith (922), Kresimir Cosic (919), Alan Taylor (919), Greg Kite (847), Brandon Davies (840) and Fred Roberts (835) on BYU’s all-time list.
Becoming the career leader in that category at BYU — which is remarkable considering all of the talented rebounders in school history — is something special to Childs.
“Rebounding has always been my thing. It’s always been what I’ve hung my hat on,” he said. “Being an undersized guy growing up, I always knew that rebounding would be my thing. Growing up, I watched Dennis Rodman highlights all of the time and I watched some of these undersized bigs compete on the glass with taller guys. I learned at a young age it wasn’t necessarily a talent. It was more about being willing to do it and how bad you wanted to get rebounds. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to push towards this record.”
As always, when asked about any personal accolades, Childs, known for his humility, gives the credit to others.
“I’m really a product of the people around me. As a kid, I practiced boxing out my mom in the living room, as crazy as that is,” he said. “It’s just the people around me have helped me so much. The coaching staff here, starting with coach (Dave) Rose and those guys put me in a position to play a lot as a freshman and I was able to develop. Every coach has put so much faith and trust in me, and my teammates have put so much faith and trust in me that it’s allowed me to blossom and get better every year.”
Childs has averaged 8.8 rebounds per game during his four-year career. He’s No. 5 all-time in blocked shots with 159. Childs has recorded 44 double-doubles in his career, second in BYU history.
Earlier this week, he was named to the All-WCC First Team for the third time in his career, and on Thursday, he was named one of five finalists for the 2020 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
For Childs, who grew up in Utah, to be in contention for an award named for the Utah Jazz legend is meaningful.
“It’s always cool when you have your name next to somebody like that. He’s one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball,” Childs said. “He’s probably one of the most underrated players of all time. Just having my name next to his is really cool. But we’re super focused on the team stuff. We all understand that our individual goals will be accomplished as long as the team goals are accomplished first.”