In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin’ related stories.
By Jeff Goodman
The Jimmer is gone and so is his backcourt mate, three-year starter Jackson Emery. BYU associate head coach Dave Rice got the head job at his alma mater, UNLV, and the Cougars will make their debut in a new league, the WCC, this season.
"I had a few things come my way this past offseason," Rose admitted in terms of new job opportunities. "And I felt this was almost like a new job."
Rose recently returned from a trip to Greece, where he brought nine guys with him and said that just about every game was one-sided - one way or the other.
"We were either way better or the team was better than us," Rose said. "But it was a great experience. We learned a lot - and a couple of guys stepped up."
What he learned from his trip: "How different we'll be as far as scoring the ball is concerned. You don't truly realize it until you play without those two guys. We were backcourt dominated and over the years it hasn't been that way. We'll go back to relying on our frontcourt."
Who stood out on the trip: "Brock Zylstra was our leading scorer. He's a guy who redshirted as a freshman, went on a mission and has been Jackson's back-up the last two years. We played him at the point and he was pretty effective at that position."
What concerns you: "The point guard position. I'm comfortable with the frontcourt, where we've got experience, depth and leadership. Our two-guards will be able to score, but point guard is a question. We've got four guys who have a chance - maybe even five." The five are Matt Carlino, junior Nick Martineau, walk-on Craig Cusick, freshman walk-on Austin Nelson and Zylstra.
- Recently reinstated big man Brandon Davies was one of five players who did not play on the trip. Davies' season ended early last year when he was suspended for breaking the school's honor code. "He enrolled in school a little more than a week ago and went through individual workouts this week," Rose said. "It's nice to see him back. He looks good; a little out of shape." Rose said that the 6-foot-9 junior could be the focal point of the offense. "I think so. I hope to use him like we did Trent (Plaisted) and throw him the ball in the post. He needs to make positive plays in the post and that doesn't always mean scoring the ball."
- Carlino, who transferred in last year from UCLA, did not play on the trip. He was allowed to practice and will be eligible in mid-December. "I like him. He's got a lot of qualities that are really good for us in a point guard. He advances the ball, sees the floor, can create and can shoot."
- A pair of big guys who returned from missions - Nate Austin and Ian Harward - didn't go on the trip. "Both are really big inside guys who can run. Nate is skilled on the perimeter and can shoot it from 17 to 19 feet while Ian is more of an inside player - a rugged type who is a good defensive rebounder. I don't know how big of a scorer he'll be."
- Chris Collinsworth, who underwent a microfracture knee surgery, didn't play on the trip. However, Rose is optimistic that the 6-foot-9 sophomore forward will be ready for the start of practice in mid-October. "From the conversations I've had with the doctors, I'm optimistic. He's going to be a really good player for us."
- Rose confirmed he'll coach an exhibition game in Provo on Sept. 22 involving what he's told could wind up being as many as a dozen first-round picks. Rose will lead a team with Jimmer Fredette, who has been working out at BYU throughout the lockout, while San Diego State coach Steve Fisher will coach a group led by ex-Aztecs star Kawhi Leonard. Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith have also been confirmed participants.
- Emery has opted to go into the business world instead of playing overseas. "He had a couple of offers overseas," Rose said. "But he was a business major and had an offer in the private sector, with ownership in the business. It was hard for him, but it was a terrific offer."
- Rose spoke highly of freshman wing Demarcus Harrison and the job he did on the trip.
- Rose also said the trip was beneficial with the staff change. Former Kentucky forward and Wake Forest assistant Mark Pope replaced Rice and will work with the big men.