Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
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We interrupt the Jake Heaps hoopla for a couple of quick BYU Basketball notes...
Just call him "Jonathan Twenty-four-nari." JT is changing jersey numbers for his senior season, dropping his old #45 for #24. The simple reason is a shout-out to Kobe Bryant, since JT is a big Kobe and Laker fan. The more detailed answer is, well, bear with me...
(deep breath) In the supernatural basketball comedy "The 6th Man" (released in 1997), one of the main characters wears #24, and Tavernari became attached to that number. In Brazil's youth leagues, only jersey numbers between 4 and 15 are allowed, so he chose #9 (the number his mother wore as a player). Once in the States, he found #9 was not available (as only numerals 0 through 5 can be represented on high school and college uniforms), so he sought out #24. It wasn't available at Timpview, so he chose #32 (an homage to longtime Laker Magic Johnson). Upon transferring to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, #32 was unavailable, so he chose #34 (in honor of longtime Laker Shaquille O'Neal, with some sharpshooting mojo from Ray Allen thrown in for good measure). At BYU, Noah Hartsock had already committed before JT and had spoken for #34, while Ben Murdock wore #24, so Tavernari chose #45--the number Michael Jordan wore when scoring 55 at Madison Square Garden upon his return from retirement to the NBA. And, here we are, today, with JT deciding on the ol' switcheroo, back to the #24 he wanted since the first time he saw Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison act in a true cinematic masterpiece, as a youngster in Brazil. And you thought they were just numbers!! (and, exhale...)
Speaking of digits, Tyler Haws will wear #23 for BYU this upcoming season (Lebron, Jordan...take your pick), while fellow incoming freshman Brandon Davies has opted for #0.
Newcomer Logan Magnusson will wear #12, while Mike Loyd has changed from the #1 he wore as a freshman, to #10 as a redshirt sophomore.
Since I'm on a roll, here's the numerical roster as it stands today:
A few brief notes, in the interest of full disclosure:
1) I am a Lone Peak High School supporter and unabashed fan of coach Quincy Lewis and the players who have left Lone Peak to play for BYU (Sam Burgess and Jackson Emery, now to be followed by Tyler Haws and Nate Austin).
2) I live in the Lone Peak boundaries, have a daughter attending there and will have a second daughter trying out for the Lone Peak soccer team this summer.
3) I help the Lone Peak program when I can--with public address duties when needed, and other support when requested.
Having said that, I am hearing nothing but great things about Jackson Emery's younger brother Nick, who is expected to start at point guard for the Knights as a 9th grader this fall.
I am reminded of a conversation I had with Jackson during his freshman season at BYU, back when Nick was in 5th grade. Jackson told me then, "my brother Nick will be way better than me." I recall thinking, "how can you say that--he's like ten years old!" And, on top of that, Jackson's pretty good in his own right (started games as a true freshman, MWC all-defensive team in 2008-09, etc.).
Well, based on his performances over the last couple of years, Nick is intent on proving his brother right. There are those who say Nick Emery will be one of the top ten high school players in the state as soon as he steps on the floor as a freshman in a few months. He is 6'1" and growing, and his shooting touch is drawing raves. One well-informed observer says Nick is ahead of where Tyler Haws was at the same stage of their development, and that is really saying something.
So, file this away, remember we had this little conversation, and hope that BYU's "Lone Peak Pipeline" helps funnel to Provo the player who should be the most-prized prospect from the instate Class of 2013.