New BYU basketball coach Kevin Young has a dilemma on his hands, and he has only himself — and the crack coaching staff he has lured to Provo — to blame.

How is Young going to keep this talent-laden group happy?

There are only so many minutes to go around, obviously. And there could be another mouth to feed, if Young chooses to use the 13th scholarship still available.

Returning starter Trevin Knell told the Deseret News last week that it won’t be a problem, that through three weeks of practices he has learned that there are “no hidden agendas” on the star-studded team and that everybody just wants to win.

We will see.

As currently constituted, the roster is sort of an embarrassment of riches for the new staff, a collection of guys who helped the Cougars go 10-8 in the rough-and-tumble Big 12, good enough for a tie for fifth place in the so-called best college basketball conference in America and some uber-talented prospects who might be in Provo for just one season before pursuing NBA dreams.

Certainly, Jaxson Robinson (Kentucky), Noah Waterman (Louisville) and Aly Khalifa (Louisville) will be missed, but the general feeling is that the 2024-25 roster is an upgrade at almost every position.

How returning starters such as Trevin Knell feel about influx of talent, youth to BYU basketball team

“BYU fans are going to love it,” Knell said. “Cougar Nation is going to be stoked when it sees these guys play and sees coach Young do his thing, and see how he brings it all together. … He’s an impressive leader.”

The current 14-man roster includes two returning walk-ons — Jared McGregor and Townsend Tripple — six returning contributors from last year, and the much-hyped six newcomers.

Redshirt junior Dawson Baker, juniors Richie Saunders and Dallin Hall, graduate Knell and seniors Trey Stewart and Fousseyni Traore have given the new coaching staff a solid foundation upon which to build, particularly Saunders, Hall and Traore.

Knell said he turned into a salesman of sorts, reminding transfer portal entrants Saunders and Hall “about all the good things that being a BYU student and player offers” but noted that it wasn’t that difficult. Then Young pitched in with his NBA assistant coaching credentials, and that’s all it took.

“I just feel like he is super genuine with what he says,” Knell said of Young.

Two of the six new faces belong to transfers, former Utah center Keba Keita and defensive ace Mawot Mag, a 6-foot-7 graduate student from Rutgers. Mag, who was born in Sudan and moved to Melbourne, Australia, when he was 2 years old, made 41 starts and appeared in 80 games for the Scarlet Knights.

He could be that defensive stopper that the Cougars just didn’t have last year.

Young has already delivered a great line about the 6-7 Mag, saying the Rutgers transfer is the rare player who matches his height and weight profile.

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“Actually bigger than I thought he would be,” Young told BYUtv. “Usually, it is the other way around. Usually they shrink on the plane.”

The four incoming freshmen are all candidates to earn starting spots. Has that ever been said about a group of BYU freshmen?

They are Kanon Catchings, Egor Demin, Elijah Crawford and Corner Canyon product Brody Kozlowski; Catchings was a Purdue commit, Crawford a Stanford commit, and Kozlowski a USC commit before Young got them to reverse course.

“I like the character of the group, something that we have added quite a bit with every guy we’ve brought in,” Young said on “Cougar Sports Nation.” “That’s something that’s very similar to the way NBA teams operate. … So the character of our group, I think, is really high.”

Young said the coaches he has brought in understand “the BYU way, and we’ve been mindful of that.”

Suffice it to say that the BYU basketball team won’t be picked to finish 13th again in the Big 12. Expectations are already sky high — in and out of the program.

As for the open scholarship, Young said on June 6 that he would like to use it, but is also cognizant of the fact that it could be nice to stay flexible with it and add a newcomer midway through the season, in December.

The prevailing notion is that BYU needs more size, although Young believes a college team can never have enough outstanding shooters. BYU doesn’t have a player on the current roster taller than 6-9.

BYU assistant coach Brandon Dunson, center, works with players at the Marrriott Center Annex in Provo, Utah, June 6, 2024.
BYU assistant coach Brandon Dunson, center, works with players at the Marrriott Center Annex in Provo, Utah, June 6, 2024. | Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

Former Weber High star Max Triplett, who averaged 14 points per game last year at Snow College, announced his commitment to BYU as a walk-on on June 14, but had not been added to the roster as of Wednesday.

Triplett is listed at 6-9 on the roster on Snow’s website.

“Everything has been super-focused on the roster,” Young said in early June. “I have really been taken back by how much the NBA world, network-wise, is similar to this as far as scouts that I know in the NBA, or agents that I knew in the NBA world and different people that are connected, whether it is AAU programs, or high school programs.

“The worlds have really started to emerge over the last couple years and being that I didn’t know the old way — I have talked about that a lot. I only know this way, but it surprised me how much those two words have really been put together.”

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