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PROVO — Freshman Corbin Kaufusi received a lot of praise from his coaches and teammates at the BYU basketball media day on Thursday. Although Kaufusi recently returned from an LDS mission in Korea and hasn’t had much time back in the gym, his coaches and teammates think he can contribute to the team in a big way this season.
Corbin, a Timpview alum, is the younger brother of Bronson Kaufusi who is currently on the BYU football team. Corbin grew up with football being his main sport, describing basketball as something he did for fun in the backyard when he had free time. The younger Kaufusi was originally signed to play football for BYU but his plans changed after he grew a few inches to 6-foot-10 while on his mission.
After realizing his size was not ideal for football anymore, he knew basketball was now his sport.
“I came back thinking just straight football and then my body kind of developed differently, I got taller. I could’ve still done football but thought that I was a little better cut out for basketball. … My target weight (for football) was like 320 for offensive tackle, and I was willing to do what it takes to get there, but basketball, you don’t really have to gain any weight or lose any weight, so that was a little bit nicer.”
When Kaufusi was asked about his decision to switch from football to basketball, he said it was a difficult decision to make but he realized the opportunity that basketball gave him.
My brother is like my best friend and so walking away from (football) was hard but after talking with him it comes down to what (I) want and where is (my) best opportunity at.
“My brother is like my best friend and so walking away from (football) was hard but after talking with him it comes down to what (I) want and where is (my) best opportunity at.”
Coach Dave Rose obviously thinks Kaufusi has potential because when asked who Kaufusi reminded him of, he responded, “I hate to say who he reminds me of because it sounds so out there because (you’re) talking about one of the top 50 players in NBA (history),” Rose said. “But he reminds me a lot of Hakeem Olajuwon when I was playing with him in college. Just the fact that he’s so young, so raw and so active. He has not (had) a lot of basketball experience behind him, but he really at times can dominate certain parts of a pickup game or a short scrimmage.”
Tyler Haws also played basketball with Bronson Kaufusi for a year and says Corbin is very similar. “I am really excited to play with Corbin. He is a great athlete, runs the floor really well, jumps out of the gym and just competes. He brings that competitive Kaufusi nature but he is a great teammate as well. He always has your back and wants to win.” Haws went on to describe Corbin’s competitiveness. “Yesterday when we were playing, Corbin seemed like he jumped 10 feet across the floor to dive on a loose ball. It looked like he was going after a fumble or something.”
Kaufusi added, “I’m a little behind skill-wise, and what not, but I think with everything else, if you put your mind to it — put in enough effort that you can get to where you want to be.”
Lindsey Peterson is a Brigham Young University student studying broadcast journalism. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @LindsPetey.