Is Kevin Young signing players BYU would never have a chance at because of NIL money?


But that’s only part of the story.

This question came up in our foursome at Alpine Country Club on Friday. Golf is an opportunity to question the universe among friends, trade jokes and anecdotes and tackle sports issues of the day, like “What’s going on with BYU basketball?”

Said one, “No way BYU got those players if it wasn’t for the money, not with the honor code, not with other restrictions.”

Well, that’s a good point.

Money is doing a lot of talking these days in college.

This isn’t just the case for BYU, but for many schools. NIL and the transfer portal have turned things upside down. It’s a whole new world out there.

To be able to sign talent like Egor Demin, Kanon Catchings and Elijah Crawford, along with Ute transfer Keba Keita in a matter of weeks takes some coin. As BYU’s Royal Blue NIL collective guru Mark Comer told ESPN 960′s Ben Criddle recently, “There are five billionaires that live within 20 minutes of LaVell Edwards Stadium, and they’re all fans and supporters of BYU.”

Former Utah center Keba Keita shares why bolted Utah for BYU

It’s not just Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith who is engaged.

It’s more.

Somehow, Young’s message of making Provo a staging school for NBA talent is a sell he can effectively make. He still has to deliver. But for now, in recruiting, he is making that pitch and his vision sinks in with young prospects. When they check him out, call in references, they find folks in the NBA from general managers and head coaches to NBA stars that are backing his claims.

If Catchings and Demin are one-and-done players at BYU, the honor code is a behavioral code that can be pledged for half a year instead of four.

And it can be used in Young’s favor with parents, especially mothers.

I once spoke to someone close to Baylor when the Bears were challenging for the national title.

Demin, Catchings additions put BYU hoops in completely different conversation

“How did this get done?” I asked.

“Baylor’s staff went to mothers of recruits and told them they would make sure their sons were taken care of, didn’t get in trouble, stayed away from drugs, drinking and crazy party life,” he answered. “They sold a strict Christian lifestyle to these parents and it worked for them to trust their sons to them.”

Hurdles that critics throw up against Young are being answered by what he believes he can do with developing talent for the NBA.

This past week Purdue coach Matt Painter faced media scrutiny on how Catchings, who committed to Purdue out of high school, entered the transfer portal then signed with BYU. Painter answered that he couldn’t promise things out of thin air.

Soon after, Catchings’ mother Tauja responded with her own reasoning for her talented son ending up at BYU.

“Purdue is an exceptional program, Kanon’s goal when he committed to Purdue (at 16) was just to play college basketball. His goal now is to play in the NBA,” Tauja told the Indianapolis Star.


To me, the thing that stands out aside from Young’s pitch, the NIL money and the talent signed is this:

Young got started so very late in the recruiting process.

So late, this spring should have been a disaster. But his relationships and connections proved golden.

Jimmer Fredette explains why Egor Demin signing is ‘a massive deal’ for BYU

Amid a barrage of four-star recruit signings like Demin, Catchings and Crawford by Kevin Young, came the curious addition of a preferred walk-on top-60 junior college center Max Triplett from Snow College.

Triplett is a 6-foot-9 center who played at Weber High before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He averaged 14 points a game for Snow this past year and was the go-to guy with his patented left-hand drives and shotmaking around the rim.

The Triplett addition is an interesting addition for Young. He gives needed support to Fouss Traore and Keita and should be a far more effective answer than Atiki Ally Atiki, now at New Mexico. Triplett is a more polished offensive post player and passer.

Earlier this week I asked Snow College coach Andrew May what Triplett brings to the table. He did have some Division I offers before deciding to enroll at BYU.


“Max has as good of a motor as any big guy that I have coached. He’s strong, physical, athletic and a force on the glass and defensive end,” said May.

“He has a good back-to-the-basket game and was third on our team in assists since he was double-teamed all year. He’s a 4.0 Academic All-American and is a smart player. As a top-60 juco player, Max is a fantastic get for BYU. He’s an absolute workhorse that will bring it every day for the Cougs and is a great fit.”

This has been a crazy spring for basketball in Provo.

Hard to remember a news cycle like the one Young kickstarted in April.

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