Following a practice and competitive 40-minute blue/white intra-squad scrimmage at the Marriott Center, BYU head hoops coach Dave Rose met the media, three days ahead of his team's season opener with Fresno State.
You can hear post-practice comments with Rose and Jimmer Fredette by clicking on the audio links in the "Cougar Cuts" box below.
Jackson Emery re-tweaked a mid-foot sprain he suffered eight days ago in practice--an injury that caused him to miss BYU's exhibition finale against BYU-Hawaii. Of Emery leaping for a rebound and hurting himself with 0.7 seconds remaining in a blue team win, Rose said "that's how Jax plays; we're used to it."
"We'll see how he is tomorrow, but if he misses a day or two, we'll just get him better. With Jax, as hard as he plays, he only knows one speed."
After getting treatment on the foot, Emery returned to the floor for media interviews; he anticipated being rested for a day, but expects to be ready for Friday night's game.
Of the scrimmage itself, Rose said "I thought they played really hard; it was really competitive. We had a scrimmage a couple of Saturdays ago where it was kind of lopsided, but this one was really competitive, and both teams played right to the end."
The blue team (consisting of Fredette, Emery, Abouo, C. Collinsworth, K. Collinsworth, Hartsock and Davies) opened up with a 10-0 lead, but then struggled to put away the white team, which led for a solid stretch in the second half.
Rose said he has "a couple of options" when it comes to determining starters at the 3, 4 and 5 spots on Friday night. "There's seven or eight guys who could actually start, so we'll determine that later in the week." The coach said matchups with Fresno State may play into who gets the nod in the opener.
"Our guard line is pretty settled; it's our front line that we're going to have to try to figure out. I think we've got a lot of different combinations, but that's what will take the most time. I hope it doesn't take too long."
Fresno State's visit brings former BYU head coach Steve Cleveland back to the Marriott Center, and Rose says "when you think about Coach Cleveland and my relationship with him, you have to kind of take the game out of it."
"I'm happy that he's coming back, I'm happy that we've sold a lot of tickets, hopefully we'll sell a lot more, there will be a big crowd and he'll get a real ovation for what he was able to accomplish here and what he did for this program and then for me personally and my career."
"Then you set that aside and you realize that it's another coach and another team. The one thing that's unsettling to me is I'm playing a guy who's won more games in here than I have; I've never done that before."
For the record, Cleveland's BYU ledger was 138-108 in eight seasons; Rose is 127-40 in his sixth season as BYU's bench boss.
Asked about this year's team living up to last season's accomplishments, Rose said "I think that's a real issue. The fact is that...you're starting from scratch with your group. This team has received a lot of the benefits of what past teams have done."
"We've addressed that, and hopefully we'll realize that starting Friday, the challenge starts for this group to prove themselves, to see how good we really are."
"I hope they take that as a challenge, because I can promise you that the teams we are playing will be extremely motivated to play us, and we need to equally if not more motivated to play them."
Fresno State's roster includes Lone Peak High School product Bracken Funk, who was a pre-LDS mission signee for Steve Cleveland. Rose says "we watched Bracken play quite a bit in high school. He's a really tough competitor, and is kind of an all-around player. He can play in the post, he can shoot threes; really active, really physical, aggressive player, so I'll think he'll be a great addition to (Fresno State)."