Let’s take a look at Roger Reid’s head and what observations he made of Mark Pope and his 2021-22 edition of BYU basketball heading into opening week against Cleveland State and San Diego State.
It’s been nearly a decade since Reid retired as head coach at Utah Southern, where his team led the nation in free throw shooting in 2009 (79.6%). It’s been 25 years since he was fired as the Cougars head coach with a 152-76 record and three WAC championships in seven seasons.
Reid’s teams were known for their execution, deliberate style, free throws and successful inbound plays that usually ended in easy buckets. His record against Rick Majerus of rival Utah was a positive figure.
In addition to attending several BYU team events and attending former coaches Frank Arnold, Steve Cleveland and Dave Rose, as well as former players at a program reunion, Reid joined Arnold and former Naismith Award winner Danny Ainge in the Blue-White scrimmage of the team.
Pope has made a concerted effort to involve the former coaches who are paving the way for the facilities and program.
What’s Reid’s Take on the 2021-22 Cougars Glimpse Through the Eyes of a Vet?
Reid doesn’t make predictions, he didn’t predict gains and losses. What he did was describe the core of what a coach sees in practice.
“One of the things that impressed me last night was the energy, enthusiasm and passion they played with,” said Reid. “You could see there’s a lot of competition between the players and I could see how hard they played.”
Second, Reid noticed something that many casual observers might not notice on a team, as they look for ball handling, passing, 3-point shooting and drives or dunks.
“More impressive to me was watching the players communicate. They communicated about attack and defense and their communication and verbal was very impressive. One of the hardest things for a coach is to get his players to communicate about defense. They might do it with one, two or three possessions, but they don’t do it all the time, the whole game.This was very impressive to me because you win games when you talk and communicate.
“Basketball is a team game and a team needs to talk to get the most out of a defensive effort. I like that.”
Reid had his share of talented players during his tenure at BYU, including Mike Smith and Jeff Chatman when he was assistant coach to the late Ladell Andersen. He had Shawn Bradley as the first-round pick after a mission to Australia for a season before the big Emery County star left for the NBA. He coached Nate Call, his sons Randy and Robbie, Marty Haws, Andy Toolson, Gary Furniss, Kevin Nixon and many others who have experienced championships.
He was known for letting players like Gary Trost, Steve Schreiner and Kenny Roberts take easy shots in the key, many for layups.
Reid said this year’s Cougars team has a unique quality in all of his years at BYU basketball.
Looking at returning senior guard Alex Barcello, Te’Jon Lucas and Seneca Knight transfers with freshman Traore Fousseyni, Atiki Ally Atiki lined up with Gideon George, Gavin Baxter and sophomore Caleb Lohner and others, Reid said something else stands out.
“I think they have more talent from head to toe than they’ve ever had in one team.”
Finally, Reid said: “They have some athletic players who are fast, great jumpers, and the other has balance too, you know, good shooting too. I wouldn’t say one is more important than the other, but Mark Pope has both.”