BYU basketball 1-and-done players have had an impact in Cougar program

By KEN DRIGGS, BYU COUGARS BLOG CONTRIBUTOR

According to reports, BYU basketball coach Dave Rose has been recruiting fifth-year seniors to help fill out his 2013-14 roster in the wake of the early departures of Raul Delgado, Ian Harward and Agustin Ambrosino.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Raul Delgado (1) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Cory Calvert (23) watch the closing moments during  the NIT Final Four in New York City.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Raul Delgado (1) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Cory Calvert (23) watch the closing moments during the NIT Final Four in New York City.

BYU announcer Greg Wrubell says that adding “at least one single-season player would be beneficial.”

It wouldn’t be the first time the Cougars’ basketball program has turned to one-and-done players.

In the history of BYU basketball, a handful of one-year players have had significant impacts on the program.

You could almost make an all-star team out of them.

Out of those few standouts, only one was recruited to be a one-and-done player: Trent Whiting of BYU’s 2001 NCAA tournament squad. Whiting had a major impact that season even though he did not get to play until just before Christmas. He averaged 14.2 points per game and was intrumental in the Cougars’ winning the Mountain West conference regular-season and tournament championships.

FILE - In this March 28, 2005, file photo Dallas Mavericks Shawn Bradley (44) battles Detroit Pistons Richard Hamilton (32) for a loose ball in the first quarter in Auburn Hills, Mich. Bradley is among a handful of former pro athletes across the country who are running for public office. The former NBA center is running for the Utah Legislature.

FILE – In this March 28, 2005, file photo Dallas Mavericks Shawn Bradley (44) battles Detroit Pistons Richard Hamilton (32) for a loose ball in the first quarter in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Another single-year player that made a huge impact was Shawn Bradley, the highly touted center who played his freshman year in 1991 and led the Cougars to a WAC tournament championship win over Utah and a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they beat Virginia in the first round. He averaged 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. At the end of a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he abruptly decided to enter the NBA draft.

Another one-and-done player was Bryon Ruffner, who was the next in line in the Ruffner legacy at BYU behind Uncle Bill and Dad Paul. He came as a transfer and had a spectacular junior year in 1995-96. He averaged 18.8 points per game and was set to be the core of what became a disaster of a season in 1996-97. An unfortunate incident caused him to withdraw from school, and the Roger Reid-Tony Ingle team had a nightmare of a season with only one solitary win.

When Steve Cleveland came to BYU to pull the program out of the doldrums in the aftermath, he brought in Ron Selleaze, a 6-foot-8 forward who could rebound and score. BYU’s overall performance that year was mediocre, but Selleaze was outstanding and averaged 16.8 points per outing. However, multiple issues forced him to withdraw after just one season at BYU.

There are a number of others who contributed during one year in the BYU program, but none rose to all-star levels. They include Bill Treu (1958), Timo Lampen (1961), Gary Radunich (1970), Averian Parrish (1986), Todd Crow (1990), Jermaine Thompson (1996) and Nate Knight (2001).

There was a year in which two one-and-done players had a decent impact on the season, combining to average almost 19 points per game. It was 1963, when John Lewis (center) and Jerry Dahlman (guard) helped the Cougars to a reasonable season.

Ken Driggs of Mesa, Ariz., is a BYU graduate and served as Cosmo in the ’60s. Contact him at kkdriggs@gmail.com

2 comments

  1. ralph olmo

    Bill Treu was once roommate to the great Bill Russell before Russell was great. They were teammates on a pre college tour. His Murry Nelson bio discusses how much Russell learned from his 1952 team’s leading scorer.

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