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Mark Pope’s staff is everywhere

Te’jon Lucas will be a Cougar and his signing is a big development

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BYU coach Mark Pope claps on the sideline of a game against the Pacific Tigers at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope works the sideline during the game against the Pacific Tigers at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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

Cougar assistant basketball coach Cody Fueger was on a Milwuakee guard almost instantaneously after he put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. Te’jon Lucas, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from the University of Milwaukee, who also played in the Big Ten, signed with BYU.

The intensity and quickness with which BYU made its move for this guard is symbolic of what other college coaches are seeing in Mark Pope’s staff — they are all over the place — going after possible recruits day and night, almost 24/7.

While BYU has done all this work, Lucas is the first to commit and sign. At least one or two others may follow in days to come as the NCAA dead period for college campus visits is lifted on June 1. Here is my column examining Lucas’ signing, put in perspective by Pope’s other assistant, Chris Burgess.

Cougar Insiders’ predictions

Question of the week: How important was it for BYU basketball to sign a quality guard like Te’Jon Lucas from the transfer portal and how may he impact the roster?

Jay Drew: I’m going to go out on a limb — much like Mark Pope does in all things regarding the transfer portal — and say that the signing of Milwaukee guard Te’Jon Lucas is absolutely huge for BYU basketball. It’s big.

During my years covering Dave Rose’s BYU basketball team, landing a transfer like this would have never happened. Rose did not like to take chances. Rose landed some high-profile transfers — most notably Matt Carlino from UCLA — and even some not-so-highly touted guys such as Weber State’s McKay Cannon, who ended up contributing and was probably the reason the Cougars beat the Aggies in Logan one year.

Of course, Lucas will prove especially valuable if Alex Barcello decides to move on. The Cougars need strong guard play to make Pope’s offense work effectively, and as of now there are few guards on the roster capable of making that happening. 

The landing of Lucas is significant in another area as well — BYU beat Utah for his services. The Utes were also finalists for the 6-2 guard, along with DePaul, Nevada and New Mexico State. One can bet that losing a guard from Milwaukee — Ute coaching legend Rick Majerus’ hometown — to BYU isn’t going over well on the Hill.

Dick Harmon: With no news as of our deadline on Tuesday, May 25, whether Alex Barcello will return and play another year at BYU, it was a very big deal BYU basketball signed Te’jon Lucas for next season. Lucas is experienced, athletic, fits roles on both offense and defense and fills a much-needed gap in the roster.

BYU coaches believe Lucas will fit into the locker room and life at BYU. He is hungry, motivated and looking for a chance to finish on a high level experience like an NCAA tournament berth. BYU got to Lucas by showing him the exposure he would receive by playing the Cougars. A trip to Hawaii didn’t hurt. But it was his fit as a facilitator and passer that both parties agreed would work. This is a big get for Mark Pope, and he can thank the persistence of Cody Fueger for getting it done. 

Cougar tales

BYU women fell to Virginia Tech for the second time in the NCAA regional softball tournament in Tempe, but not before beating ranked Arizona State. In baseball, the Cougars finished the home season with a successful handling of Pepperdine.

In track and field, the Cougar men and women head to the NCAA West preliminaries with the most qualified athletes in the country.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Pope repping the Y on a glacier in Alaska (@jaromjordan)

Don’t count out Zach’s brother Isaac Wilson (@CriddleBenjamin)

Student crowd reacts to full capacity, Sitake (@fsitake)

Football: New week, back at it (@BYUfootball)

Cougar, Aggie playing for Bucks photo (@calebturner23)

Progress made on new locker room (@Jasen_AhYou)

Extra Points

  • Who best to tutor Zach Wilson in New York? (NJ.com)
  • Brandon Davies on reaching Euro Final Four (Deseret News)
  • BYU announces full capacity stadium in fall (Deseret News)
  • Reasons BYU fans should love being back at LES (KSL Sports)
  • What Utah college football players could be drafted? (Deseret News)
  • BYU offers Orem High offensive lineman Vae Soifua (Sports Illustrated)
  • Shelley High School track star signs with BYU (Post Register)


Comments from Deseret News readers

It is WAY too early to know what will happen this coming season. However, I will say that losing players like Hardy and Lee was not a good thing. Sure, neither of them were Pope’s recruits, but they were solid, and gave BYU every thing they had. BYU also has some VERY talented players that served their time last year as backups, not to even mention the RM’s. I believe they deserve every chance to play as well. Promising these portal transfers that they will come in and start right away isn’t fair to the hard work of the current players. Besides, are we going to see still more of the current players replaced with transfers? These one and done players may be good, but players that stick with the program, like Childs, Haws and even Baxter are BLUE bloods through and through.

— water rocket

Up next

May 27-29 | TBA | Track and field NCAA West Regional | College Station, Texas

June 12 | TBA | NCAA track and field Championship | Eugene, Oregon