Surprise Send-Off



Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

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By now, you've seen the news about Mike Loyd's departure from the BYU Baskeball program.

Clearly, the line about the departure being a "mutual" decision is the most interesting. Why would Dave Rose decide to part with a player who showed so much promise, and was such a key part of BYU's late season success, in particular when Jimmer Fredette was ill?

Let's see what Rose most recently had to say about Loyd.

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In my season-ending interview with Coach Rose, here is some of what he said about Loyd's future at BYU:

"Mike will determine what we do with Mike."

"He continues to improve; he continues to get better; he really has made the commitment that he wants to be a point guard."

"He really likes playing the game sprinting up the floor and kind of playing from that two-guard, off-guard spot, but I do believe that he believes his future in this game is at the point."

"He'll need to improve his ability to handle the ball consistently, especially with his left hand; maybe spent a lot more time on ball-handling and reading defenses and not so much time on his shot, even though his shot continues to get better."

"His ability to run a team and get the others involved, I hope becomes his main priority."

Asked whether there are enough point guard minutes available with Jimmer Fredette starting at the point, Rose said "I think so."

"Jimmer's ability to play with the ball in his hands from the off-guard spot has really improved...he's going to get guarded so many different ways, that will really help Mike."

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We can see that Rose was neither promising anything nor predicting anything too concrete relative to Loyd's role next season. There is a lot of "wait and see" in those comments, and it's evident that the two parties came to conclude that Loyd's personal goals and the team's goals were equal parts of the equation.

Would Rose have wanted Loyd to embrace whatever role was envisioned for him and return for two more seasons? There is no doubt. Did Loyd have a vision for himself that no longer fit with what BYU (as a program and/or as a school) either offered or required? Probably.

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Grades for BYU's Winter Semester recently posted, and so some may be wondering if Loyd's departure was tied to academic concerns, or struggles Loyd might have had on the scholastic side of things. I am told by BYU officials that Loyd leaves in good academic standing and is "absolutely, 100%" eligible with both BYU and the NCAA.

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Loyd has two years to play two at a Division II (or lower) institution, and two years to play one at a Division I school. Any player transferring within the MWC needs a waiver to avoid losing an additional year of eligibility. My indications are that BYU would grant such a waiver if requested.

UNLV has offered a scholarship to Loyd's younger brother Johnathan, a standout at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. The younger Loyd was said to be choosing between UNLV, Oregon, Northwestern and George Washington. He also had offers on the table from Michigan State, Washington, Florida, and Oklahoma. According to reports out of Vegas, Loyd will meet again with UNLV coaches, visit Oregon on the weekend, then make his college decision next week.

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It is also not out of the question that Mike Loyd could pursue a professional opportunity with a foreign club; don't be surprised if he at least explores that possibility.

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I know for a fact that Loyd's recent emergence at BYU was personally meaningful and gratifying to members of the BYU staff, so Loyd's departure has to leave them with mixed feelings. Loyd faced challenges presented to most non-LDS minority athletes immersed in an unfamiliar environment in Provo, and Loyd had seemingly begun to flourish--on the floor, at the very least.

To not see his BYU career culminate in a degree and a "Senior Night" is a bit of a sad thing, but the BYU coaches will most definitely help Loyd in any way they can. I'll certainly miss him as a player and as a person; he was always first-class in his dealings with me, and I was happy to see him succeed in Cougar blue.

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This is probably irrelevant and coincidental, but in hindsight, perhaps marginally notable: at the season-ending awards banquet, Loyd was the only one of the ten rotation players not individually recognized with a team award or other citation.

The three end-of-the-bench players (Anderson, Magnusson and Zylstra) were not presented with individual awards, either, but were asked to stand and be cited by Coach Rose for their contributions to the team. Not every player on the roster can receive an award every season, but this season, it just so happened that Loyd was literally the odd man out.

It's a weird thing to bring up, I know, but I remember actually feeling kind of bad that Loyd didn't get a "moment in the sun" that evening; certainly, there would be awards and recognitions to come in the future, I told myself. Turns out that won't be the case, by mutual decision.

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As of earlier today, Jimmer Fredette had no NBA workouts scheduled. I expect to get word once any tryouts are arranged before the May 8th early-entry withdrawal deadline, but ESPN's Andy Katz writes and quotes Dave Rose today:

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"It's interesting," BYU coach Dave Rose said Thursday. "A lot of teams told us they're going to start working out guys on the ninth of May."

That's because NBA teams no longer want to play the game and work out players who aren't seriously considering staying in the draft. Having a number of high-ranking NBA personnel in Europe this week doesn't help underclassmen attempting to make decisions, either.

So what are some of the fence-sitters going to do this week to help make their decision?

Rose said guard Jimmer Fredette intends to work out with a few teams. But there's no guarantee Fredette will have a number of workouts to attend."

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Here's ESPN's Chad Ford, on Fredette:

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"Fredette had his coming-out party against Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament, then came back down to Earth versus Kansas State in the next round. Some GMs love his smarts and shooting ability, but others feel he lacks the athletic ability to thrive in the pros. Although it's possible he'll sneak into the late first round, the most likely scenario has him going somewhere in the second round or undrafted."

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On an unrelated note, it's official: the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship field is now 68 teams. The additional teams will result in play-in games in all four regions; participating teams and timing of the games have yet to be determined.

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