Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The impact of younger LDS missionaries on BYU sports

It's not very often that a truly jaw-dropping announcement is made at General Conference, but it sure happened this time! When President Monson announced that boys can now leave for missions at age 18 and girls at age 19, I was totally shocked-- in a good way, of course. I think it's awesome, and in the long run, it will be advantageous for many, many people, especially athletes. In the post-session press conference, Elder Holland hit the nail on the head: They can go sooner and return sooner and play four straight years.” That's HUGE.

However, for the first few years of this new policy, it's going to be really tricky. It took a few days for it to sink in with me just how much of an impact this announcement will have on recruiting at BYU and figuring out who is going to play and when. Scholarships have to be figured out, rosters have to be finalized, and lots of decisions have to be made. This is one of those moments I'm sure glad I'm not Bronco Mendenhall or Dave Rose. Or an 18-year-old male athlete (although there are many more reasons I'm glad I'm not that! haha).

Here are a few examples of how this announcement is affecting some BYU commits:

Nick & Jackson . . . Aww! :)
Nick Emery, Jackson's little brother, planned to go on his mission before his freshman year at BYU. He doesn't turn 19 until September 2013, but now he plans to leave on his mission right after an early high school graduation, so he can come back in spring 2015 and have several months (instead of a few weeks) to get back in shape before he gets on the court. Excellent.

TJ Haws was going to go to BYU for a year before leaving, primarily so he could play one season with his brother. But now he has the option to go on a mission early and come back to play four straight years-- better for him athletically, but sad if he misses out on the opportunity to play with Tyler. He hasn't made up his mind yet what he will do.

Dallin Leavitt, 2013 BYU football commit, said he's sticking with his original plan-- to go to BYU for a year before leaving on his mission. He wants to mature and get the experience of living away from home before going into the field. Makes sense.

Eric Mika, 6'9" BYU basketball recruit, was expected to fill the void at center that will exist after Brandon Davies graduates in 2013. But now that Mika can leave on his mission early, Coach Rose might have some scholarship shuffling to do . . . and finding another new Brandon certainly won't be easy.

Dalton Nixon, another BYU basketball commit who was expected to start playing in 2013, is struggling with the same decision as Mika, although he says being able to go on a mission a year earlier is very "appealing." Sounds like he's leaning towards serving before playing.

I think the biggest impact of all in this announcement could rest on the shoulders of Jabari Parker. He now has the option to go on a mission right out of high school, instead of playing college ball for a year first. BYU is still in the running to be his school of choice, along with Duke, Florida, Michigan State, and Stanford.

If Jabari chooses to serve a mission right after high school, technically, he could go straight to the NBA afterward, without ever setting foot on a college court (the NBA mandates that players be at least a year out of high school-- but they don't regulate what they do during that year). However, I think that would be really dumb . . . My guess is that he will either go on a mission first, then come back and play for a year or maybe two in college before the NBA OR play one year in college, go on a mission, play one more year in college, and then go to the NBA. It will be really interesting to see what he decides. The former option would probably be better for him athletically, but I'm not sure I could hold out for two whole years to see him in a Cougar uniform . . . I just might explode with anticipation and excitement! (If he commits to BYU, obviously)

With only 13 scholarships to dish out and immediate impact on the new 2013 recruits, it appears Dave Rose and the BYU basketball team have the biggest challenge ahead of them in the near future, but it certainly won't be easy for football or any other sport, either.

No matter what, the future of BYU sports is exciting, and I can't wait to see how it all plays out! Hooray for the Cougars and hooray for missionaries! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment