Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
PROVO —- Reserve BYU guard Michael Loyd Jr. showed his basketball potential late last season when he electrified Cougar fans with a 26-point performance in a first-round NCAA Tournament win over Florida — BYU's first tournament win in 17 years.
Loyd single-handedly brought the Cougars back from a seven-point deficit by scoring 10 straight points. He also opened some eyes by scoring 19 second-half points in a narrow home loss to New Mexico and 18 first-half points in a blowout win at Utah.
Those games had BYU fans excited for even greater things from Loyd this coming season, which would have been his junior year. However, the 6-foot-1 speedy and explosive backcourt star from Las Vegas has decided to finish his education and basketball eligibility elsewhere.
In a statement released Thursday, BYU coach Dave Rose said Loyd will not return to the Cougars next season — where he likely would have backed up starters Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, or been part of a three-guard lineup.
"Michael and I have met several times, and we have mutually decided he will continue his education and basketball career in another program," Rose said. "He has been a significant part of our success the last three seasons, and we are grateful for his many contributions. As a staff, we wish him the best and will do all we can to help Michael find a great situation."
Rose is out of town and was unavailable Thursday for further comment. The BYU release contained no statement from Loyd, and he has not publicly disclosed why he is leaving, or where he plans to transfer or if he is even looking at specific schools at this point.
Loyd also did not respond to requests from the Deseret News for comments, and reportedly he has decided not to discuss the matter with the media — which leaves speculation as to why he's leaving.
Even as a reserve, Loyd would have likely played significant minutes next season. He also would have competed to take the spot left vacant when Tyler Haws, a starter last season, departed for a two-year LDS mission.
Some reports say Loyd, who redshirted two seasons ago, is leaving because of a combination of playing time and wanting to attend a school that is a little less restrictive. Loyd, who sported a Mohawk late in the season and organized an effort for several other Cougars to do the same, was one of the more flashy and free-spirited players to suit up for the Cougars in many years.
However, BYU officials made it clear that Loyd was not kicked out of school because of academics or for honor code issues.
"Michael was in good standing with the university," said Kyle Chilton, BYU basketball sports information director.
If Loyd transfers to a Division I school he has only one year of playing eligibility left. He can play two years at a Division II school or lower. The only way he can transfer to another Mountain West Conference school and have any eligibility remaining is if BYU grants a waiver.
Fortunately for the Cougars they are deep in guards and wing players. Freshmen Kyle Collinsworth and Anson Winder will join the team this fall, and sophomore point-guard Nick Martineau is back from a mission. New recruit Stephen Rogers, and returners Charles Abouo and Brock Zylstra can also play both the two and three positions.
Loyd's departure will hurt the Cougars most if Fredette decides not to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to BYU. Without Fredette, Loyd likely would have been BYU's starting point guard next season.
When the Cougars signed Rogers last week it meant that one player from last year's squad would not have a scholarship for the coming season. With Loyd's departure, that issue for Rose and his staff seems to be resolved.