BYU basketball, baseball and softball are enjoying springtime in the spotlight and the first full week of May is no exception. Men’s basketball is making news almost every day. Softball is lining up to potentially face a trio of Goliaths at the Big 12 championship and baseball rolls out its final homestand until next year.

The round ball is bouncing all over the place on a campus best known for its storied history with the ellipse, or prolate spheroid known to nonscientists as the football. In these parts, it’s the king. It has been for generations, and it always will be.

But that doesn’t mean the king can’t take a backseat in the royal carriage for a little while and no one is happier or more willing to share the ride than Kalani Sitake. After a 5-7 Big 12 debut and significant staff changes, the head football coach might even enjoy a temporary diversion.

Men’s basketball coach Kevin Young is Sitake’s new tag-team partner when it comes to headlining BYU’s two most lucrative programs. When things are rolling with a full LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) and Marriott Center (17,978), combined with unprecedented Big 12 television revenue, the two sports bankroll the entire kingdom.


Young continues to make a splash with a roster that he has held together (for the most part) and the staff that he is building. Landing Brody Kozlowski, Utah’s two-time 6A Player of the Year, as his first signee is a significant step. What happens with the rest of the newcomers and transfer portal candidates remains in a state of flux.

Even without any additional pieces, and there will be some, Young already has an eight-man rotation that features Dallin Hall, Richie Saunders, Dawson Baker, Fousseyni Traore, Trevin Knell, Noah Waterman, Trey Stewart and Kozlowski. Due to the coaching change, the transfer portal option is still open for the BYU roster until May 12.

Young has added staffers Brandon Dunson, Chris Burgess and Doug Stewart (chief of staff) and has three more coaching positions left to fill.


A sixth-place finish in their debut season in the Big 12 has the Cougars matched up against No. 4 Oklahoma State in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the conference tournament (10 a.m., ESPN+). BYU is fresh off an impressive three-game sweep at Kansas. The Cougars went 1-2 against the Cowgirls during the regular season. The winner will likely face No. 2 and three-time defending national champion Oklahoma on Friday and No. 1 Texas in the finale.


BYU will host Cincinnati for three games starting Thursday (6 p.m., ESPN+) at Miller Park and after next Tuesday’s out-of-conference game against Grand Canyon, the home slate will be completed until 2025. The Cougars’ Big 12 debut has been more of a learning experience than a joy ride. BYU is 6-18 with six conference games remaining. The Cougars will need a miracle finish to qualify for the Big 12 championships.


For Sitake and the football program, as the round-ball sports make their headlines, it’s business as usual. The Cougars quietly added reinforcements to the offensive line with the weekend commitment from 6-foot-5, 310-pound Austin Leausa from Southern Utah. The move supports Sitake’s top priority to run the football this fall.

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The high-profile quarterback battle between Jake Retzlaff and Gerry Bohanon will continue into camp. Star linebacker Ben Bywater’s shoulder is healing and the battle cry in the weight room is for each player to get bigger, stronger and faster.

Rounding up success

The round ball has been good for BYU, including men’s basketball (NCAA Tournament), soccer (College Cup), women’s volleyball (NCAA Tournament), women’s tennis (NCAA Tournament), men’s golf (NCAA Regional), men’s volleyball (No. 7 ranking) and women’s basketball (WBIT Tournament). They, and the others, including the non-ball sports, all have a rightful place among the royal court.

Young’s BYU debut is expected Nov. 4 on college basketball’s opening night. It will come during the same week that Sitake marches his football team north to play the state’s Super Bowl at Utah. This is when the round ball and the prolate spheroid align in an astronomical segue from one crown jewel sport to the other.

It will be an amazing and unusual week.

Rarely do football and basketball travel on the same hype train together. In fact, you may have to journey back to 1980-81 for the last time they did. That’s when Danny Ainge led hoops to the Elite Eight and Jim McMahon and Steve Young combined to go 21-3 on the grid. For the most part, except for Jimmermania, football has sat in the king’s coach — and still does.

The king returns

Some 42 years after the McMahon/Young/Ainge era, the 42-year-old former NBA assistant coach has given an already-healthy basketball program a B12 shot. Without playing a game, Young has boosted optimism and intrigue the likes of which BYU basketball hasn’t felt for a while, especially in May.

But come late August, the king will return in all its glory with fighter jets (efforting) and fireworks, a sold-out crowd on its feet, and an eager marching band escorting its spotless football team back to the field with its traditional supersized expectations and heavy judgements.

No matter how big or exciting things may get around campus, in any sport, nothing will exceed football’s season opener against Southern Illinois on Aug. 31. Notably, it has little to do with the Salukis and everything to do with the king of the land.

Who knows, Young may become Sitake’s biggest fan. After a summer in the bright spotlight, he too might welcome a brief diversion before he joins Sitake in a November week of hype that will quicken the heartbeat of every BYU fan — a win in his coaching debut and a victory at Utah.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake adjusts his headset in the first half, during an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Provo, Utah. | George Frey, Associated Press

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is a play-by-play announcer and show host for BYUtv/ESPN+. He co-hosts “Y’s Guys” at and is the author of the children’s book “C is for Cougar,” available at