BYU's Brown to transfer while mid-year enrollee joins program

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PROVO — Less than three days before opening West Coast Conference play, the surging BYU men’s basketball team shook up its roster.

BYU coach Dave Rose announced the addition of freshman post Kolby Lee during the mid-semester break Tuesday, while junior guard Kajon Brown will leave the program.

Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Meridian, Idaho, signed with the Cougars in November 2016 from Rocky Mountain High School. The 2017 Gatorade Idaho player of the year averaged 16.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while helping Rocky Mountain to a 26-1 record and the school’s first-ever Class 5A state title.

"Kolby will be a great addition to our program," Rose said in a statement in November. "He will add size, athleticism and skill to our frontline. We’re excited that Kolby will be a part of the future of BYU basketball."

Lee chose the Cougars over offers from Utah State, Boise State, Richmond, Portland, Kent State, DePaul and UC Davis at the time. His early enrollment comes as BYU is struggling with depth in the post after injuries to Ryan Andrus, Braiden Shaw and Dalton Nixon. Of the three, Shaw is the most likely to return “soon,” Rose said last week.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Brown said the move is for "family and personal reasons."

"Thanks to Coach Rose and the staff for allowing me to be a part of the program for the time I was there, and I wish nothing but the best for BYU moving forward," he said.

Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior college transfer from from Harvey, Louisiana, averaged 8.8 points and 1.4 assists while leading Lee College to a 21-11 overall record in his lone season of junior college play. Originally a Tulsa signee, Brown was one of two junior college recruits to join the Cougars last year, alongside starting point guard Jahshire Hardnett.

While Hardnett has flourished in Rose’s offense, Brown has been relegated to just 0.8 points in 4.3 minutes per game. He has yet to play more than nine minutes in a game, and did not get off the bench in four of the Cougars’ last five games.

Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Cougars opened WCC play at 7 p.m. MT Thursday against Portland. BYU faces one of the top teams in the league, Saint Mary’s, on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT.

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