Returning trio should be a boost for BYU

Brigham Young guard Nick Emery (4) begins to move past a BYU-Hawaii defender during a college basketball exhibition game Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Provo, Utah. (Dominic Valente/Daily Herald via AP)
Nick Emery and BYU are off to a 3-0 start.

This season really should be the start of something big for BYU because the Long Peak boys are back. Eric Mika, Nick Emery, and TJ Haws had legendary careers at Long Peak High, and the suburban Utah school was nationally ranked while also winning state titles. Then they all committed to BYU and played one season before going on two-year Mormon missions.

Now they’re back, and BYU fans have every right to have high hopes. Right now, they’re 3-0, and the 6-foot-9-inch Mika had a big opening game with 26 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Princeton.

The West Coast Conference race should be fascinating, with Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU all looking like tournament teams.


Meanwhile, looking at last week:

Elevator going up

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Baylor: The Bears might be better than I thought after thumping Oregon, 66-49, in Waco. They’re 3-0 after following that up with a win over Florida Gulf Coast.

Miami: Things are really going well for Miami. The Hurricanes are 3-0 but they also got some big recruiting news. Lonnie Walker, who has a five-star (the highest) recruiting rating, picked the Hurricanes over Kentucky. Coach Cal’s first loss of the season.

Oklahoma State: Brad Underwood had incredible success at Stephen F. Austin (89-14) and he’s off to a hot start in Stillwater. The competition has been bad and the Cowboys have only played home games but they’re 3-0 and averaging 107 points per game in victories over Campbell, Central Arkansas, and New Orleans.

Texas Southern: Brave man, coach Mike Davis (yes, the one that used to coach Indiana). The Tigers will not play a home game until Jan. 14. That’s 16 straight road games, including Arizona, Louisville, Cincinnati, LSU, TCU, and Baylor. It’s an incredible undertaking, but right now the Tigers are 3-1, including a notable victory over La Salle in Philadelphia on Nov. 19.


Michigan: Looks like the Wolverines are going to be sneaky good after two easy wins (79-61 over Marquette and 76-54 over SMU) to win the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Minnesota: The Gophers are coming off an 8-23 season and this season’s results will have a direct bearing on the future of coach Richard Pitino. So far, so good as the Gophers are 4-0, including a good win over St. John’s in Minneapolis.

‘‘I think it just shows, we got a long way to go obviously, but this is not last year’s team,’’ Little Ricky 2 told reporters. ‘‘It’s very evident. It’s a totally different team with much more balance and depth.’’

Rutgers: Steve Pikiell, the former UConn guard and first-year Rutgers coach, is doing a good job. The Knights are 4-0 for the first time since 2001. The schedule hasn’t been hard but there was a good road win at DePaul. None of this can make up for the football team.

Escalator going down

Dayton: The Flyers have had awful luck. Over the summer, center Steve McElvene died from complications from an enlarged heart. Last week forward Josh Cunningham tore ligaments in his left ankle after delivering a game-clinching dunk in a victory over Alabama. Cunningham could be out for three months, and without him the Flyers lost at home to Saint Mary’s. There’s going to be an adjustment period.


Georgetown: The Hoyas lost at home to Arkansas State; it seems they’re good for at least one of these a year now. They’re 1-2 and heading to the Maui Invitation. Enjoy the weather.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are going to have a bad season, and even though they won their first two games, the downturn started with a home loss to Ohio Friday night. This is the team BC can finish above in the ACC.

Marquette: I had some hopes for the Fightin’ McGuires this season but those have evaporated after they lost consecutive games to Michigan and Pitt in the 2K Classic.

Oregon State: The Beavers traveled to Reno to play Nevada (credit for playing a tough road game) but then got blown out, 83-58 (debit for not giving a better effort). In its previous game, Oregon State turned the ball over 27 times and lost at home to Lamar. The Beavers were missing key starter Stephen Thompson in both games.

UConn: A 3-point victory over Loyola Marymount doesn’t do much for UConn’s reputation. The Huskies took a double hit before that, losing to Wagner and Northeastern to open 0-2 for the first time in 48 years. Then Wagner turned around and lost to UMass Lowell.

‘‘This is a dark time,’’ UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. ‘‘I know that. I understand the expectations of everybody here, in this room and at UConn. I feel embarrassed right now. But when I feel embarrassed, I know I’m going to get through it and this team is going to get through it.’’

Holy Cross: I guess the Fightin’ Cousys could still win the Patriot League, but some ambitious scheduling has made for painful times now. They got crushed at South Carolina, 81-40, and at Syracuse, 90-46. A 68-60 loss to UMass Sunday made it 0-3.

THIS WEEK’S FINAL FOUR: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Saint Mary’s