BYU Basketball Bringing ‘Pleasure To The Gymnasium’ In Yr Three Beneath Mark Pope

PROVO, Utah – The Mark Pope period for BYU basketball has had a couple of widespread themes. One, the Cougars have had a knack for exceeding preseason expectations as they’ve completed within the AP Top 25 poll the previous two years. Two, COVID-19 has had an influence on every of Pope’s three years at BYU.

The 2020 season had the NCAA Tournament taken away by the virus. Final 12 months was in all probability essentially the most difficult but as they performed a complete season amidst the worldwide pandemic. Video games were canceled whereas BYU was within the air touring to a vacation spot. Gamers competed in empty venues. Many exercises happened in isolation, taking away the camaraderie that comes with being on a group.

It was a grind final season.

The pandemic made pleasure a good larger precedence

Regardless of the grind, BYU nonetheless pieced collectively a 6-seed within the NCAA Event and completed second within the WCC behind solely nationwide runner-up Gonzaga. However it didn’t come simply, each bodily and mentally.

After going by means of an arduous season, this 12 months has given everybody in Mark Pope’s BYU basketball program a renewed perspective. Deliver pleasure to the fitness center.

“We talked with [the players] quite a bit this summer time. Final 12 months was actually robust. …There have been so many issues consuming us with COVID, newness, challenges, expectations, and altering schedules,” mentioned Mark Pope. “My pleasure within the fitness center [last year], the fellows graded me out as a D-minus, universally. So, it’s essential. Its obtained to be enjoyable. We’ve to carry pleasure to this fitness center. It’s been a trademark of our program since we’ve been collectively as a workers. We did a poor job of that final 12 months. So it’s one thing we’re actually targeted on.”

BYU basketball skilled points with COVID already this season

The enjoyment within the fitness center seemingly retains Mark Pope’s group level-headed if something will get thrown their method with COVID-19 once more. They already had COVID influence their “secret scrimmage” over the weekend towards Cal from the Pac-12 Convention out within the Bay Space.

“We’re sort of constructing into practices, conferences, and constructing into making an attempt to develop this skillset of like, ‘hey, we don’t know what’s going to occur, however let’s go together with it.’ …We simply had a non-public scrimmage. It turned out that due to some vaccination insurance policies, some COVID-related issues that we simply discovered a few days earlier than, we couldn’t take our entire roster. So we took a little bit little bit of a restricted roster. We spent zero time bemoaning the truth that it wasn’t our full group. We’re similar to, ‘hey, that is how we transfer on. We go on and now we’re going to go discover a approach to win this manner.’”

Newcomers similar to Milwaukee grad transfer guard Te’Jon Lucas have wasted no time shopping for into the mantra of bringing pleasure to the fitness center. The playmaking guard who drew comparisons to BYU’s model of Magic Johnson by teammates is all in.

“Quite a lot of occasions, we get caught up within the enterprise facet of it; it’s like a day job for us. So we simply attempt to carry pleasure within the fitness center and ensure we’re having enjoyable with this similtaneously you understand, executing and making an attempt to win video games,” Lucas mentioned to KSL Sports activities.

BYU will look to carry their pleasure in video games beginning with the season opener towards defending Horizon League Champion Cleveland State on November 9, a difficult non-conference slate, and the tall order of making an attempt to take down juggernaut Gonzaga within the WCC.

“This pleasure within the fitness center tradition is admittedly big for me,” Pope mentioned. “I may need been performing at a excessive degree in a standard state of affairs. As a workers, we have now to quadruple our efforts to make {that a} actuality. Tremendous essential [to have joy in the gym].”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports activities Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Observe him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper. | BYU Basketball Bringing ‘Pleasure To The Gymnasium’ In Yr Three Beneath Mark Pope


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