An award that has been won by Gonzaga Bulldogs players left and right is the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. However, that might come to an end now that the Brigham Young Cougars have entered the WCC.
Tyler Haws led his Cougars with 31 points in an overtime loss at the hands of the Oregon Ducks late Saturday night. Haws is going to be at the tops of the conference in points. The only thing stopping him is Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos. He and Pangos will duke it out for the title of POY.
There is no doubt that Haws’ game has benefited from playing a zone defense. He gets to use all of his energy and focus on the offensive side of the court where the Cougars desperately need him. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging just over 22 points on the season — he eclipsed that plateau early in the second half.
BYU has had a bad reputation as a team that lives and dies by the 3-point jumper in the past. Coach Dave Rose has changed that philosophy and uses Haws’ impeccable mid-range jumper to his advantage. When a coach has a guy with as much talent as Haws does, it makes the coach’s job look easy. In reality, it’s a lot of isolation plays where he breaks down the defense and pulls up or posts up his guy.
It’s a two-man race for West Coast Conference POY, and it’s between two players with oddly different games. Haws will be in the running and at this rate, he will win the honors in BYU’s second season in the conference.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII