Hooks... and Hoops



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I made stops at the BYU basketball team's "free play" session and the football team's Tuesday practice, and came away with a few impressions...

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LB Terrance Hooks may not be "game ready" quite, yet, but manning his inside linebacker spot yesterday, he gave the indication he'd be playing meaningful snaps soon. He is listed as almost the exact same size as Matt Bauman, but for some reason he looks a little bigger.

LB Grant Nelson was taking snaps outside, and resembled a player in the early stages of fall camp--which for him, it is, right now. I will ask Bronco more specifically about Nelson tonight, and ask him to compare Nelson's readiness to that of Hooks. Both guys are said to be on target for the TCU game.

By the way, Hooks will wear his old #47 jersey when he returns, while Nelson's old #39 is currently being worn by freshman LB Iona Pritchard. Both Nelson and Pritchard wear white #39s in practice, but Equipment Manager Mick Hill anticipates Pritchard giving up his #39 game jersey to the returning veteran, Nelson. If that happens, stay tuned for a Pritchard number change.

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As I arrived, O'Neill Chambers was being re-taped after tweaking his ankle. Bronco will update us tonight on Chambers and Austin Collie, who jammed a finger post-practice. By the way, Chambers' parents were on hand for practice during this Homecoming Week.

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Tonight's Bronco Mendenhall Show is live at Ken Garff Nissan of Orem on West University Parkway (south side of the street). The show starts at 7:00pm, and as always, Iceberg Drive-Inns will be on hand with free burgers, dogs, drinks and chips.

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All 13 BYU Basketball players (the 14th player is the injured Archie Rose) were playing in the Richards Building gym Tuesday, as they have been and will be while the Marriott Center is occupied by Homecoming activities.

I have been able to watch a number of offseason sessions, and while I have shared my observations previously in this space, a couple of thoughts come to mind after watching yesterday's workout:

-Lamont Morgan made remarkable use of his redshirt season. He's simply not the same player he was last year at this time. He is absolutely ripped, quick as lightning, under control, and a great distributor. Importantly, he will give BYU the ability to defend quicker point guards that have given the Cougars fits in recent years. And while it may not be a factor in every game, Morgan has the purest, most accurate, throw-it-up-from-anywhere alley-oop passes that any Cougar has seen in some time.

-Jimmer Fredette has lost his "freshman baby fat" and has returned to Provo as a solid complement to Morgan in the backcourt. Expect Fredette to play in place of, and alongside Morgan this season.

-I wasn't sure what to make of Mike Loyd after his freshman season, but I think he's a keeper. Tough to say how many minutes per game he'll play, or with whom he'll share those minutes, but there's a place for his athleticism. And I've only seen a handful of pickup games and practices, but his shot looks better, too.

-JT is still JT.

-Charles Abouo has an unorthodox-looking shot, but I think it has gone in the basket more than times than it hasn't while I've been watching.

-Noah Hartsock was sitting on Tuesday (ankle tweak). He had a groin strain earlier in workouts--in other words, he's experiencing what many if not most return missionaries experience after two years of basketball-related inactivity.

I plan to check out the Cougar hoopsters again this afternoon--I might have more later.

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The aforementioned JT (Jonathan Tavernari) appears in one of the local "Live United" United Way TV spots. He is not appearing as a BYU Basketball player or as "Jonathan Tavernari," but rather just as a regular guy, the way I see it. Either way, it's "JT being JT," and you can tell the guy has the kind of charisma that plays well before the cameras.

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