We may have seen the last of 3 of the most-loved BYU hoopsters on the court at the Marriott Center. Here's my tribute to BYU Basketball seniors Kyle Collinsworth, Chase Fischer, and Nate Austin.
Jimmer's senior year (which was Kyle's freshman year), one of my roommates, Traci, decided that since everyone else loved Jimmer, she wanted to direct her
attention to someone else, and she wisely chose Kyle, despite his
unfortunate hairstyle choices. One time that winter, I saw Kyle at a BYU gymnastics meet and decided to get his autograph for Traci. I walked up to him (he was with a couple of friends out on the track at the SFH after the meet) and told him my roommate Traci was his biggest fan and asked for his autograph for her. He agreed, and as he signed the paper I handed him, the friend standing next to him asked me, "So why does your roommate like Kyle so much?" I said, "Um, because he's good at basketball?" Kyle's friend said, "Yeah, and he's really handsome, too!" Kyle turned bright red and handed the autographed paper back to me, then gave his friend the death stare. After walking away, I noticed that he had written: "Tracy- Thanks for being a great fan!" and signed his name at the bottom. When I gave her the paper that evening and apologized that he spelled her name wrong, she said, "That's okay! I'll go down to the courthouse & change it tomorrow!"
That's a fun memory for me, especially seeing what Kyle has become post-mission and post-ACL surgery. He's definitely gained in confidence, swagger, and talent over the past 6 years!
What more can you really say about Kyle? He's the undisputed triple double king. With 11 NCAA triple doubles, he is arguably one of the best players to ever take the court at BYU. He's definitely one of the most versatile. No one else stuffs stats like he does. I hope KC gets a shot in the NBA because I really don't want to have to stop watching him play basketball!
Another story. Nate was in my stake a few years ago. One time at institute, our stake president was teaching the lesson, and he asked the question, "Where are the gates of Hell located?" With no hesitation, I heard a booming voice to my left shout out "The University of Utah!" Lo and behold, it was one Nate Austin. I have no idea how I didn't notice a 7-foot-tall guy sitting 2 chairs away from me until then, but it was hilarious. We definitely know that Nate is true blue, through and through.
Nate now holds two BYU basketball records-- most games played, and he recently passed Russell Larson for most fouls committed. I hope he is equally proud of both those accolades. :) I'm really glad Nate was able to come back as a 5th year senior. He's definitely not a high-scorer, and he hasn't even started very many games this year, but I think a lot of people don't realize just how much work he does to get rebounds, block shots, and scramble for loose balls . . . and things like that have the potential to win games. Without him, we probably wouldn't have beaten Gonzaga in the kennel for the second year in a row. Way to go, Rex!
Chase has been a great
addition to BYU. He transferred from Wake Forest, so he was only able to
play 2 years for the Cougars, but he has already scored 1,000+ points--
one of very few players to achieve that goal in only half a standard
college career. Despite not being LDS, he has really embraced the BYU
culture and has made a mark here both on & off the basketball court.
Chase's favorite spot in Provo is Sprouts market,
and he wants to open a gym
called "Chase Fischer's Aesthetics Gym" after graduation. He has great
hair, an even greater accent, an awesome sense of humor, a beautiful
long-range shot, and he loves God, Guns, and America. What more could you ask for? I really wish I was married just so I could join the "Married People Who Admire Chase Fischer Club." You will be sorely missed, Chase.
Hopefully we will be able to avoid the NIT and send these boys off with an NCAA tourney bid-- they definitely deserve it! Thank you, Seniors!