BYU basketball: Cougars get a little taste of the Big Apple
New York • Matt Carlino didn't get to see his beloved New York Yankees lose 8-2 to the Boston Red Sox over at Yankee Stadium on the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, but for the most part BYU basketball players were able to get out and see some of the sights and sounds of the Big Apple on Sunday night and Monday.
"We've done some stuff, but mostly it has been about basketball," said senior forward Brandon Davies.
Coach Dave Rose said he gave his guys some time Sunday night to walk around Times Square, but wanted to keep the focus on Monday to basketball. The Cougars practiced in the morning at the nearby New York Athletic Club, had study hall in the afternoon, and attended a banquet at the Central Park Boathouse on Monday night.
Prior to the news conference at the Marriott Marquis hotel, where the team is staying, captains Brock Zylstra, Tyler Haws and Davies walked around Times Square in their warmup jerseys as photographers snapped shots and got video.
Several onlookers asked if they were NBA players. Others asked to pose in pictures with the Cougars, who played along good-naturedly.
"This is a different city, for sure," Haws said. "Lots of very nice people. It has been good so far."
Several players went to the movie "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," while others checked out several of New York's athletic shoe stores.
A family affair
Based mostly in California, Zylstra's family members attended all of the team's games in that state this season, and his parents and most of his brothers and sisters have made it to New York. His wife, Sarah, and daughter, Sophia, also made the trip.
"It is awesome," he said.
Haws said that his grandfather, Ralph Haws, made the trip from Utah, along with a half-dozen or so family members.
"So there will be a nice Haws clan around for the game," he said.
Pope knows New York
BYU assistant coach Mark Pope knows the city rather well, having spent some time playing for the New York Knicks. His wife, Lee Ann, was an assistant to talk show host David Letterman, who is not taping this week, unfortunately.
Pope served as the tour guide when the Cougars were here in November to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but apparently lost that duty this week.
"We realized maybe this trip we should just let [basketball operations director Mike Hall] do it," Rose said. "It is pretty hard to see the city in a short amount of time, that's for sure."
Rose said sophomore forward Josh Sharp (strained Achilles) is doubtful to play Tuesday, although he did practice a little on Monday. ... When the Cougars were losing to Notre Dame on Nov. 17 in Brooklyn, one of their current players, Bronson Kaufusi, was in San Jose, Calif., with the football team. "It is weird to think that the last time we were here, he wasn't here with us," Zylstra said. "He's a big part of this team now."