PROVO — This week, BYU basketball players began practices with the coaching staff. But the Cougars are already dealing with a major setback.
Forward Wyatt Lowell announced on Instagram that he suffered a serious shoulder injury last week and is undergoing surgery Wednesday. Lowell has been expected to make a big impact on this year’s team.
“Hey, y’all. I’m heading into surgery today,” Lowell wrote. “I tore my labrum playing basketball last week. I’m super sad but this stuff happens and I’m excited to get back with my guys asap. Go cougs!”
It’s similar to the injury that forward Gavin Baxter sustained last September in practice. Baxter underwent surgery and missed the first 25 games before returning for the final seven contests.
Lowell, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, redshirted last season due to NCAA transfer rules. As a freshman at Utah Valley University, Lowell was named the 2018-19 Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in league play. Coach Mark Pope has said the versatile Lowell could play the two guard, a wing or a power forward.
Guard Alex Barcello described Lowell’s game earlier this year.
“Wyatt is a lengthy guard in my opinion. He’s got guard skills to be able to shoot and dribble and get by defenders,” he said. “He’s another guy that, at 6-10, who’s going to guard him? He’s a guy that can shoot. It’s a hard matchup on the wing. We definitely have some unique pieces for this year.”
Lowell was rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com and a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and ESPN.com out of Willams Field High in Gilbert, Arizona. He finished up his prep career at Williams Field High in 2016 after averaging 24.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and two blocks per game as a senior. He knocked down 40% of his 3-point attempts (61 of 153).
Pope has said he has high expectations for Lowell and another UVU transfer, 6-11 Richard Harward.
“I expect them to have a big impact on this program. That’s why they came here. They’re both really, really capable guys. They have a special work ethic,” he said. “They’ve clearly already shown that they’re willing to try to lose themselves in a team and set aside some of their immediate interests because they know what it feels like to be part of something that’s really special that’s bigger than themselves. I expect them to be great leaders in that. They obviously have great length, physicality and skill. They know me really well. I expect big things from both of those guys.”
This story will be updated.