Best Freshman Seasons for BYU Basketball since 2000

Mar 4, 2021, 2:57 PM | Updated: 3:04 pm
Caleb Lohner - BYU Cougars - Westminster Griffins...
Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Men’s Basketball team is currently preparing for the WCC Tournament after wrapping up their regular season on Saturday night. It has been a successful season for the Cougars, who have a record of 19-5 and are looking to do what no BYU team has done since joining the West Coast Conference: win a conference tournament.

One of the emerging stars from this year’s team has been freshman Caleb Lohner. Lohner is averaging 7.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, leading the team in rebounds. Lohner has only started 10 games, including the final six games of the regular season. In those six games Lohner has played at a high level, averaging 12 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Caleb Lohner has improved greatly over the course of this season. He started the season 0-13 from the three-point line, not making a three in his first five games. Since then, Lohner is shooting 48% from deep. Add to that his penchant for bringing down boards, monster dunks and his great size and strength and you have a star in the making. Lohner, who was named to WCC All-Freshman team, is well on his way to a successful career with the Cougars.

BYU has had a number of spectacular freshman seasons from players who went on to be all-time greats. Let’s look back at the best freshman seasons for BYU Basketball since 2000, as heard on the “Top 5” segment on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, Noon-3pm).

Best Freshman Seasons for BYU Basketball since 2000

Nick Emery (2015-26)

Nick Emery had, arguably, the best freshman season of any BYU basketball player in the last few decades. In his best season for the Cougars, Emery averaged 16.3 points per game which was second on the team. He had some electric moments, including dropping 30 points in back-to-back games against San Francisco and Santa Clara, respectively. Emery hit 10 threes against the Dons for a career-high 37 points.

Tyler Haws (2009-10)

BYU’s all-time leading scorer, Tyler Haws burst onto the scene as a freshman. He started all but two games that season and averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He was third in minutes on a very good BYU team; a team that went 30-6, had a 15-game winning streak at one point in the season, and went to the NCAA Tournament as a 7-seed.

Matt Carlino (2011-12)

Matt Carlino came to BYU as a freshman the year after Jimmer Fredette led BYU to the Sweet Sixteen and headed off to the NBA. Carlino didn’t see the court in BYU’s first ten games; his first game against #6 Baylor he scored 18 points and hit four three-pointers. He became a regular contributor after that, averaging 12.2 points, good for third on the team. He led the Cougars with 4.6 assists per game.

Trent Plaisted (2005-06)

Trent Plaisted was the Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2006 after averaging 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for the season. He led the Cougars in both categories. Plaisted had a nice career in Provo, leading BYU to the NCAA tournament as a sophomore and junior before entering the NBA draft in 2008 and being selected 46th overall.

TJ Haws (2016-17)

Coming out of Lone Peak, TJ Haws was one of the top recruits in the state of Utah. Alongside fellow freshman Yoeli Childs, Haws made an immediate impact on the Cougars. He started every game his freshman season averaging 13.8 points per game (good for 2nd on the team), leading the team in minutes played and shooting over 40% from the three-point line. His best game came against #1 Gonzaga, in which he scored 29 points.

Regardless of what happens in Las Vegas at the West Coast Conference Tournament, BYU is going dancing this year. March Madness awaits and, like every March, stars are waiting to emerge. Who will step-up big for the Cougars in the NCAA Tournament? The trio of seniors, led by First Team All-WCC selection Alex Barcello, will have to provide stability and leadership if BYU wants to make a run. But often times, it is the unexpected player who rises to the occasion and puts on a show. My money is on Caleb Lohner.

Listen to the entire segment from Cougar Sports Saturday discussing Caleb Lohner and the best freshman seasons for BYU basketball since 2000.

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