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Kevin Young finished assembling his BYU basketball staff and it features the type of talent that can sell his design to make the program an NBA staging platform.

His staff is filled with NBA and international experience, especially in the player development area. With Brandon Dunson and Chris Burgess, he has two experienced, well-connected high school and junior college recruiters. Will Voigt, Tim Fanning, and John Linehan are proven commodities in both college and professional basketball. With chief of staff Doug Stewart, a former associate athletic director at Nevada and college coach, he has a valued administrator to help with NIL, operations and player development.

This will be an interesting path diversion for the program, one alumni and fans anticipate will pay dividends in the post-Mark Pope era.

Cougar Insider predictions:

Question of the week: BYU basketball has two scholarships available for 2024. How should Kevin Young use them? Are there holes that need to be filled in the roster? If so, where do you believe there’s a need?

Jay Drew: To be honest, it was somewhat refreshing to hear new BYU basketball coach Kevin Young talk about this very subject last Thursday when he met with reporters for the first time since his introductory news conference.

“Shooting is always a thing I go to, always,” he said, when I asked him which positions he is still searching for to get BYU’s roster to 13 scholarship players. It currently sits at 11 guys on full rides (counting Russian Egor Demin, who was not on the roster published Monday at

“You can never have too much shooting.”

Then the coach said they are looking for more size and athleticism. Good answer.

My answer is that BYU needs size more than athleticism right now, and maybe more than shooting. They need a five (center) who can protect the rim. Of course, those don’t grow on trees.

They could also use a stretch four — a guy who could play the five spot in a pinch. A guy like Noah Waterman. But he’s gone, off to Louisville, so that should be Young’s priority moving forward.

Dick Harmon: The two scholarship positions remaining are a luxury Kevin Young can use to be picky. He’s basically set up inside offensively, albeit on the short side with Keba Keita and Fouss Traore. At least one of the spots should be given to someone over 6-foot-10 for size and he’s got to be athletic — just a lurpy, tall guy won’t cut it in the Big 12.

I believe 6-foot-7 Mawot Mag will prove to be a stopper and shot blocker; even if he’s not a 7-footer, he gives BYU the athleticism on defense to be a huge factor in a myriad of matchups. He will defend better than Spencer Johnson, who was BYU’s best on-ball defender last year.

A stretch forward like Noah Waterman would be nice. Waterman’s size gave him a perfect launch position to hit 3s and rebound. A person like Waterman would work, especially if he’s quicker with handles. Brody Kozlowski can play the stretch four. He is an underrated shooter who will surprise people. Look for Young to pull in a 6-8 shooter, possibly from out of the country, and a ball swatter over 6-10 with the final scholarships.

In a perfect world, Young would sign former Purdue commit Kanon Catchings, a 6-9 top-40 player in the 2024 class who is visiting campus this week. Catchings would be a fantastic cap to a remarkable start at BYU for Young and his staff.

Cougar tales

BYU’s men finished 40th in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field championships with Dallin Shurts leading the way. Jenna Hutchings finished sixth in the 10,000 meters to lead BYU’s women’s efforts at nationals, which mirrored the team finish of the men at 39th. Former BYU and Utah Open champion Zac Blair will compete in this week’s U.S. Open, a familiar stomping ground for the talented Ogden native.

Here is a story on which former BYU baseball players might move up to the major league by Jackson Payne.

From the archives

Andy Reid Q&A: Honest, sincere and ready to make history
Kevin Young addresses staffing, recruiting, transition to Provo

From the X-verse

Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers:

Cracks me up that some commenters critique BYU fans for being too exuberant, fanatical, and jubilant. I ask .. . . isn’t that better than a fan base who is not excited about their team and can’t fill their arena for home games?

On paper, the coaching staff looks like they will be very good (you’re right, they still have to prove it). But winning coaches always find great talent, and retaining Hall and Saunders (and Fouss and Knell), recruiting Demin, Koz and Crawford, and attracting Keita and Mag — is HUGE for a single year and something to be exuberant about.

And in spite of your attempts to quell my exuberance, I’m all-in. I’ve been all-in for the past 30 years, and I’ll stay all-in for the next 30 years.

— CougFaninTx


Along with others, I believe KY’s focus on speed, athleticism and versatility demonstrates his understanding of where basketball is — and where it’s going. The declining value of a 7-footer with limited shooting skills and minimal speed can be clearly demonstrated by Rudy Gobert’s getting cooked by Luka and the Mavs recently. When Doncic broke Rudy’s ankles with that last-second 3, it exposed the folly of putting too much stock in having a big for rim protection defense and little else. Khalifa and Atiki are also examples closer to home.

Gaining Keba, Egor, Mawat and Elijah must have the veteran Coug roster drooling with excitement. I believe that with the player development focus of KY’s staff, Trey Stewart will get out of the doghouse and achieve his potential — which is huge. I can’t wait to see what KY’s versatile Cougs do and become.

— PaulB

Up next

Aug. 7 | TBA | Women’s soccer | Utah Valley

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