As the BYU football team continues to disappoint this year, most Cougar fans can take solace that basketball season in now officially one week away... sort of. The Cougars will play in the annual Cougar tip-off game next Wednesday, October 27th. Following the scrimmage BYU will play two pre-season games against Laval and BYU-Hawaii before the regular season starts.
BYU's first regular season game will be Friday, November 12th against Fresno State which is of course coached by former BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. It will be Cleveland's first appearance in the Marriott Center since he left for Fresno at the end of the 2006 season. I am sure it will be a very warm homecoming for Coach Cleveland after all he did to help rebuild the program.
It's no doubt that how Jimmer goes so go the Cougars? Jimmer is the pre-season Mountain West Conference player of the year, and many pundits have him listed as one of the top five players in the nation. No question Jimmer will average over 20 points a game this year but what will really matter is how involved he can get his teammates. Jimmer is a proven scorer but what remains to be seen is if he can win big games doing other things besides putting the ball in the hoop. Jimmer will have a huge bulls eye on his back this year and it I am sure there will games where other teams will force to make other Cougars beat them.
While it is true that Jimmer was a scoring machine at the end of last year there were times when all BYU would do is sit around and watch the Jimmer show. You know exactly what play I'm talking about. When BYU tries to push the ball down the court.. after they don't get a transition bucket Jimmer slowly backs the ball out and tries to drive before time expires on the shot clock.
This is fun to watch when it works but it makes the BYU offense stagnant and very predictable (kind of like this year's football team). The bottom line is Jimmer needs to dominate this year if the Cougars want to have a decent year but he needs to do it within the flow of the game... without forcing anything. If he is having an off night or another team is daring other players to make shots other players need to step up. But no question about it, this is Jimmer's team and as Jimmer goes... so go the Cougars.
What do you think Jimmer needs to work on the most this year?