The Brigham Young Cougars are scheduled to start spring football practices in roughly one week. The BYU basketball team will still be playing in the West Coast Conference tournament, and could play even longer if the Cougar cagers earn an invitation to the NIT or NCAA tournament. That creates a small dilemma for BYU football and basketball player Bronson Kaufusi.
Kaufusi's role with the football team is clearly bigger than his role with the basketball team. Should he leave the BYU basketball team early (March 4) to participate in spring football practices?
BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL put this question to site visitors this past week, and they strongly feel that Kaufusi should leave the hard court and lace up his cleats again. Over two-thirds of respondents (68%) voted "Yes." Just 23% voted "No," while the remaining nine percent were undecided.
There are many reasons to support leaving the team. As mentioned already, he has a much bigger role with the football team. In the last 15 basketball games, Kaufusi has played just 74 minutes. He has attempted just eight shots. He has scored a total of 14 points and made 19 total rebounds. For two of these last 15 games, Kaufusi didn't even play.
Conversely, with the football team--as a true freshman, no less--Kaufusi played in all 13 games. He was tied for second on the team in sacks (4.5). His 5.5 tackles-for-loss were good enough for fifth on the team, and his 23 tackles came in 14th. Not bad for a back-up fresh off a mission.
Additionally, Kaufusi is expected to be a starter this coming season. Bronco Mendenhall is faced with the task of replacing all the starters on the defensive line. The more time the new starters have to work together and create some chemistry the better. Spring practice is where it starts.
While BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL is on record against the decision for Kaufusi to join the basketball team, now that he has joined I think he should stay with the basketball team as long as there are games to play. Quitting, especially at the most critical point of the season, is not what a good teammate does.
When Kaufusi decided to join the team, it was implied that he was committed for the long haul. No matter how disappointing the season may be for the team or for him, personally, with his very minor role he should stay true to that commitment. It is more about integrity, at this point, than anything else. Missing part of spring practices was an unavoidable consequence that Kaufusi should have been aware of from the beginning.
There should still be some spring football left when the basketball season officially ends. He may even be able to sneak in a few days during the end of the WCC tournament and the start of the NIT/NCAA.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll question: "Which new coach has the most to prove in 2013?"
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