College Basketball Nation: Chris Collinsworth

NCAA denies appeals for additional seasons

July, 12, 2011
A couple of all-conference-caliber players recently saw their college careers officially come to an end after the NCAA denied their appeals to have a fifth year to play.

For Eastern Illinois guard Tyler Laser, it all came down to one game.

Laser played in 10 games this past season and averaged 11.4 points coming off a junior year in which he was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference first team. Season-ending surgery after the 10 games also ended his career.

Because the Panthers played only 29 games that season, Laser had played one game over the participation limit [30 percent of the season] that would have allowed him to gain back the additional year.

Just how badly did Laser want to play? He had already graduated in May and will now look at playing overseas.

Missouri State will also lose a double-digit scorer off its Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship team after 6-foot-9 Will Creekmore had his appeal denied, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Creekmore would have been the Bears' second-leading returning scorer (11.3) and rebounder (6.5) after a season that earned him second-team All-MVC honors. According to the paper, he appealed that his four games at Boston University were plagued by injury issues before transferring and playing 2 1/2 seasons, but it was to no avail.
"The longer it took, the better I felt my chances were," Creekmore said. "They could have given me a quick no."

Waiting until July to find out if a college career is indeed over has to be difficult, and the NCAA currently still has cases to sort through. Additional seasons have been granted to players including BYU's Chris Collinsworth, Virginia's Mike Scott and Weber State's Damian Lillard, but for those who had their hopes up and will no longer be able to don the school uniform, it can't be easy to take.

BYU big man says goodbye at banquet

April, 14, 2011
BYU junior James Anderson will not return to the program next season, he announced Wednesday night at the team's awards banquet.

The Cougars lose the 6-foot-10 post presence after Anderson, who is expected to graduate in the summer, decided to pursue job opportunities rather than play on a team coming off a Sweet 16 appearance.

"I know it's a little unexpected," Anderson said, according to the Deseret News. "I'm grateful for my time here."

Anderson averaged 7.6 minutes and 1.1 points, making key contributions to this year's team. He came up with five blocks in the win against San Diego State at home in January. And when leading rebounder Brandon Davies was suspended due to an honor code violation, Anderson started the following game and played important minutes afterward.

Anderson, who was honored along with the team's seniors, served a two-year mission and also redshirted as a freshman before three seasons of action.

BYU loses its tallest player at a time when the status of Davies for next season remains unclear. The Cougars are expected to return forwards Noah Hartsock, Stephen Rogers and Chris Collinsworth, who underwent season-ending knee surgery.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU could also gain depth from returning missionaries.
Lone Peak High’s 6-10 Nate Austin and Orem High’s 6-10 Ian Harward will return from missions in Texas and will help the team inside, provided they are not asked to redshirt.

Every bit of depth will help while Davies does not appear on the team's official roster. The program hopes that the school will ultimately reinstate him after the honor code violation prevented him from playing in the postseason.

There was one sign that Davies remains highly regarded in the program. At the banquet, it was announced he would receive the award for "Best Conditioned Post Player."

Dave Rose set to begin post-Jimmer era

April, 7, 2011
Numerous schools came after BYU coach Dave Rose after the season in which he led the Cougars to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years. Rose might have been able to ride the wave of Jimmer-mania right on out of Provo, but ultimately decided to sign a new five-year contract.

[+] EnlargeDave Rose
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireDave Rose accepted an extension that keeps him at BYU until 2016.
Rather than jump at another opportunity, Rose spent the Final Four going from one awards ceremony to another with Jimmer Fredette and then accepted a new deal that keeps him at BYU through 2016.

"This," Rose told reporters, "is my future.

"I think you get a little taste of some things, and you want more. I think that we have the capability of continuing to move this program forward, and I want to be a part of it."

The post-Jimmer era won't be without its challenges. BYU leaves the Mountain West Conference for the WCC without Fredette, Jackson Emery and freshman guard Kyle Collinsworth, who is leaving on a Mormon mission.

Rose still doesn't know the status of forward Brandon Davies, who was suspended in early March for the rest of this season due to an honor code violation. The absence of Davies did allow BYU's frontcourt players to get more experience, and Chris Collinsworth should return from season-ending knee surgery.

But how do the Cougars replace the record-setting production of Fredette and Emery?

It could be left up to a couple of newcomers. Rose has signed DeMarcus Harrison, ESPNU's No. 37 shooting guard out of high school. BYU also should have UCLA transfer Matt Carlino available to play in December, though he has never played in a college game.

Then there is navigating through a new league in which Gonzaga has won 11 straight WCC regular season titles and is loaded again for next season.

Accepting this task is Rose, who has been as steady as they come in recent years while dealing with everything from a bout with cancer to the Davies gut punch.

As he said about BYU, he "wanted to continue to build a legacy."

BYU's Kyle Collinsworth to go on mission

February, 7, 2011
BYU freshman guard Kyle Collinsworth will leave after the season to serve his Mormon mission in Russia, according to KSL-TV. Collinsworth has averaged 6.7 points and 3.9 rebounds, starting in 20 of the team's 24 games.

Also, coach Dave Rose said Collinsworth is day-to-day and would be reevaluated in the afternoon after leaving Saturday's game against UNLV with an apparent head injury.

Collinsworth would be the second starting freshman guard in as many years to go on his mission, with the Cougars losing third-leading scorer Tyler Haws from last season.

Collinsworth's older brother, Chris Collinsworth, is on the team this season after returning from his mission, but is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery and leaving the team without a key interior presence. The elder Collinsworth averaged 5.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.