BYU basketball: Will Koggs and Zag still play after BYU’s move to Big 12?

LAS VEGAS – The BYU Basketball Program is about to embark on the farewell tour of the West Coast Conference.

For the Cougars, this marks their final season as WCC members before joining the Big 12 next season.

“They have always been good and have always drawn well. They have given us a program that gives us national recognition.” St Mary’s coach Randy Bennett

At WCC Media Day Thursday at Orleans Arena, coaches and league players reacted to BYU’s impending departure.

Certainly, Cougars will be missed for several reasons.

While BYU has yet to win the WCC Championship in its 11 seasons in the league, the Cougars have been very competitive and have developed heated rivalries with Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

Gonzaga star forward Drew Tim He wants to see the series with BYU continue into the future.

“I think it’s from special competition. It is something that should continue even after they leave the conference. “I think it is something we should be doing at home and in homes forever. … I feel it has developed into such a great rivalry.”

Zags coach Mark Few Appreciates BYU and what it has brought to the league.

“I’m happy for them. They found a great relegation spot. This is a great step for them in all of their programmes. But it has been fantastic. Their impact on the league has been tremendous. It’s one of the greatest things we’ve done as a league, adding it in the more than 30 years I’ve been in it.” “They’ve been a great partner. They’re a national program and they act like a national programme. Their game day is as good as anyone – and we were all over the place.

“To experience it, it’s as big of a time as anyone else. It’s been a healthy rivalry with some awesome games with different characters involved over the years and highly competitive. I’m sure we’ll continue to play somehow or somehow going forward.”

While the WCC gave Cougars a place for nearly all of their sports when the soccer program became independent in 2011, the University of British Columbia helped raise the profile of the WCC as well.

They have given so much. They gave us another program that has a lot of credibility in college basketball. People have known this program for decades, in the past (Danny) Inji St Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “They have always been good and have always drawn well. They have given us a program that gives us national recognition.

“This is a religion, BYU. The whole religion follows that school. Everyone knows them. And they’re good. And it’s a great atmosphere to play in. On enlistment, we’ll sell that (and the Gonzaga environment). These two are two of the best in the country in terms of ambiance.”

“We’ve also given us a team that can knock on the door every year for the NCAA tournament. So we’re going to miss them. Our league will be fine. We had three teams last year and we could have played four with Santa Clara,” Bennett added. BYU last year too. Our role is still moving in the right direction.

“But honestly, I hope they don’t leave because of the competition they give, the excitement of our league that they give. It’s easy not to like it, which makes it fun. … it gives you 1 quad every year. It helps us do what we’re trying to do – get into a tournament. NCAA”.

San Francisco goalkeeper Khalil Shabazz has had success facing BYU and has enjoyed the matches.

“I love playing against BYU. It’s a love-hate relationship. The fans are the boycotters or whatever. Just going into that environment is always fun. It’s an NBA arena and an NBA environment, so it’s always fun to play there,” he said. “With them leaving, they did what they had to do. They felt it was a decision they had to make. I’m not upset. I’m not happy about it.”

“I think it would be sad to see them go. It’s a game you really have to lock up. It’s really fun to play there,” said St Mary’s Keeper Logan Johnson. “It’s probably one of my favorite places to play at WCC. When they sell that place, and it jumps in there, it’s an atmosphere that you don’t find everywhere at WCC. It’s going to be sad to see them go but it’s also a great opportunity for them while they’re in school.”

St. Mary’s forward Kyle Bowen described the Marriott Center this way:

“In Utah, it’s the crucible out there. There’s not a lot of air. There’s a lot of fans screaming. We’re definitely going to miss those games. Hopefully we’ll have a great year to finish the competition, and then we wish them the best in everything to come.”

BYU coach Mark Popewho was an assistant coach for the Cougars in the Cougars’ first season at the Senior World Championships in 2012, is grateful to the league that provided a place for the program.

“It was so important. It’s a great league. It’s been a great league. Outside of the Power Five, it’s one of the best leagues in the country. It’s not easy to take that place. A lot of that is because of the success of Zaggs, Saint Mary and us.” And the rest of the teams. The league is really fun.

“It’s been a great league and it’s getting better every year….the league is growing. It’s been led from the top but the bottom is pushing the envelope now. It’s been a great home. We’ve been really fortunate to have been on the WCC for the past decade, more than a year or so.” Two years. We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity we had here.”

And yes, Bob wants to keep playing Gonzaga.

“Anytime you get a chance to play Gonzaga, it’s great. On a personal level, the coach has been a little gracious and generous to me as a coach trying to earn this career.” We love this game and would like this game to continue and to find space for it in the future – 100%. I’m not sure the Zags are having a hard time getting matches in the schedule.”

Bob wants to continue playing Gael in the future too.

“I love Coach Bennett. He was great and he was also very generous with me,” he said. “Our series with Saint Mary’s was really special too. It was knockout fights every time. It’s two incredible shows.”

Currently, the Cougars are getting another crack at Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga as conference contenders for what will be the BYU’s farewell tour at the WCC.

St Mary's coach Randy Bennett watches from the sidelines during the game against Gonzaga in Moraga, California, February 26, 2022.

St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett watches from the sidelines during the game against Gonzaga in Moraga, California, Saturday, February 26, 2022. Brigham Young University’s Said Bennett: “They gave us another program that has a lot of credibility in college basketball.”

Jeff Chi, news agency

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