OREM – Blaze Nield is on the move again.
The Lehi product is leaving BYU and heading down University Parkway to Utah Valley, where he will play for head coach Mark Madsen.
UVU will be Nield’s third team in three years following a freshman stop at Utah State University-Eastern. The 6-foot-1 guard departs BYU following a year struggling for playing time behind a veteran team.
Nield said it was important during his recruitment process to stay close to home and find a school he was comfortable with, especially during the pandemic when visiting campuses was off the table. UVU checked all the boxes.
He had been in communication with Madsen last year, but he was already close to signing with BYU while Madsen was still getting settled in his new job. With the chance to talk more at length this time around, he realized UVU and its pro-style offense with more pick-and-roll opportunities is perfect for his game.
"I love handling the ball as the point guard and being the one making decisions," Nield said.
"Coach (Mark) Pope ran a good offense as well and we were successful. I learned how to mold my game into the way he wanted to, but I also liked the way Madsen runs things; to have a little more freedom and be able to showcase my skills a little better."
He had been told by everyone who knew Madsen what a good person he was — from interviews with Shaq to Pope, his former coach — but it was a level of comfort and connection he was able to feel with Madsen and the program that sealed the decision.
"Just talking to him on the phone, we really connected," said Nield, going back to his conversations with Madsen last spring. "I remember the first time we spoke last year we talked in Spanish the whole time because he speaks Spanish and I learned Spanish on my mission.
"So he's just a really fun, positive guy and a super-smart basketball mind, which seemed like someone I really wanted to play for, someone that trusts me and wants me to come in and do great things."
Nield averaged just over 3.5 minutes in 17 games with the Cougars and was unable to get a consistent number of shots or much of anything else during his time in Provo.
He hopes as a Wolverine to display the promise he showed during his freshman season at USUE, where he averaged over 20 points per game to go along 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
"Blaze Nield is a point guard leader," Madsen said. "I love the defensive energy that Blaze brings to every game and his poise when directing his team. Blaze is a gifted passer who has the ability to set his teammates up while also finding the balance to score the ball himself keeping the defense honest."
Nield is currently exploring his options to receive a waiver from the NCAA in order to play immediately for the Wolverines at the start of the 2020-21 season. A one-time transfer rule is also under consideration in meetings with NCAA officials, but it's unknown if that rule change will pass in time for the 2020-21 season.