BYU men’s basketball: Pope’s recruiting efforts yield strong results

Photo Courtesy of BYU Athletics / BYU Men's Basketball and BYU Photos.

BYU men’s basketball coach Mark Pope scored a big recruiting win recently with the commitment of Brooks Bahr, a 6-foot-4 guard from Keller, Texas. Bahr is rated a 3-star prospect by the 24/7 Sports Network and as the No. 132-ranked player nationally by the same service.

On Wednesday Bahr made his commitment official, signing a National Letter of Intent with the Cougars just two days after making his pledge to do as much public.

“Brooks Bahr is a combination of Payton Pritchard and Chauncey Billups. He is an explosive, physical, skilled guard who is capable as play maker, a scorer and a hard-nosed defender” Pope said. “The most impressive thing about Brooks is that his IQ is beyond elite. He studies the game, he is curious about the game and he can’t get enough of the game.”

Bahr’s commitment and subsequent signing comes on the heels of two big recruiting losses for Pope, when local products Brody Kozlowski and Jaxon Johnson committed to USC and Utah, respectively. The perception turned sharply against Pope and the program in the wake of Kozlowki’s and Johnson’s commitments, but perception can often be confused with reality while also proving tenuous in the world of athletics, and particularly with recruiting.

Bahr joins with Isaac Davis, a 6-foot-6 forward from Idaho Falls, who is rated as the No. 108 prospect nationally by 24/7 and has a 3-star prospect.

“I walked out of Section 7 event this summer with 1,000s of the top players all up and down the western United States with no doubt in my mind that Isaac Davis was the most physically dominant player at the entire event,” Pope said. “He has a really special joy and passion about his game. He is a multi-dimensional player, who is at the elite level of the game as a passing forward. He’s physical and tenacious as a defender, and we believe that he is going to grow into an elite-level shooter.”

It a very respectable haul, considering BYU’s recent struggles on the hardwood, and while more winning on the recruiting front is likely needed to become truly competitive in the Big12 Conference, it’s a positive step in the right direction. It also builds on the prime talent Pope has already acquired beginning with the signing of Collin Chandler, who is set to return from his mission service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this spring.

Chandler is a 6-foot-4 guard from Farmington, Utah who was rated the No. 33 prospect nationally in 2022. Pope also brought in 4-star transfer Jaxson Robinson in 2022 setting the table for a 2023 recruiting calendar where he acquired 4-star prospects Aly Khalifa (6-10 center) and Marcus Adams Jr. (6-8 forward) on top of Dawson Baker, a 6-4 guard who was rated 3-star prospect before transferring over from UC Irvine.

Not a bad haul.

Of course how all these players develop, let alone remain within the program given the volatilities assigned with the transfer portal era of collegiate athletics, will largely determine true recruiting success. But from a talent acquisition standpoint, it’s hard to issue too many complaints with what Pope has managed to sign over the past three years.

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