Cougar Nation Round Up: Dayan Ghanwoloku looks forward to year two under Sitake; Tom Holmoe fields questions; BYU Basketball hopes to avoid tourney let down

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Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo

Same Face, New Name

When spring football began Monday, fans were surprised to find a new name on the roster – Dayan Ghanwoloku. Ghanwoloku, formerly Lake, changed his name to honor his late uncle who recently passed away.

“We came here because of a Civil War [in Liberia],” explained Lake. “My Dad put together money to bring me and my sister to the United States. We lived in New York with my Uncle before we came to Utah.”

Ghanwoloku shined in the Cougar secondary as a freshman in 2016. Lined up opposite fellow freshman Troy Warner, Ghanwoloku finished the season with 48 tackles, three interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown – and four pass break ups.

Despite the success, he sees opportunity to improve for his upcoming sophomore campaign, “I feel like I struggled with speed [last year],” explained Ghanwoloku. “I wasn’t slow, but I wasn’t my fastest. I was 205 at corner and I dropped down to 190 now and I feel a lot faster.”

Holmoe meets with media during semi-annual round table

BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe held his semi-annual round table Wednesday afternoon. Holmoe carved out 45 minutes to discuss a variety of topics ranging from P5 inclusion, bowl contracts, BYU’s partnership with ESPN, facility renovations, the health of BYU’s athletic programs, and the potential to televise BYU Football’s annual spring game. Here are a few highlights of the round table:

On BYU renewing their television contract with ESPN: “We’re going to be with ESPN. I don’t see anything on the plate or in the near future that will turn that upside down.”

On BYU’s 2017 bowl contract: “The bowl situation is unknown right now. We’re talking to ESPN to try and fit into a situation… to fit into a bowl game. ESPN has bowl games they own and great relationships with those contracts”

More on discussions potential bowl contracts: “We aren’t in a position to say what we want. [The bowl situation] is up to ESPN.”

On potential as an independent heading into bowl season: “We can’t do [bowl] independence. ESPN has it all contracted.”

On BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake: “He’s brought a spark of life to people who weren’t involved. I see a lot of people who weren’t involved in BYU football that are now.”

On Kalani’s attendance of BYU athletic events: “It’s good PR, but he isn’t looking for good PR. He does it cause he likes BYU, he likes the student-athletes, he likes the ROC.”

On his feelings after Big 12 non-expansion: “It was frustrating because I thought it was really close and we had a great chance.”

On potential stadium renovations and expansion: “Big thing isn’t seats, it’s hospitality…” …It used to be about the game, now it’s about social, the hospitality.”

On student attendance for athletic events: “Student attendance is strong. While most schools are going down, ours is going up.”

On the possibility to match up with Utah in the NIT: We’ll see if it happens. It would be very ironic if it happened that way, but if it did it would be a great match up.”

On televising the spring football game: “With our relationship with BYUTV, we’ll figure something out.”

On future projects for facilities: “We have a few projects on the board, not all of them have been announced. Some have.”

On honoring the late LaVell Edwards: “We have some plans. There are things going around the country where people want to honor him in different ways… As much as he was revered here in Utah, he was revered out of the state.”

Holmoe also expressed his gratitude for BYU’s involvement in the process of Big 12 expansion. He shared his belief that it was a great experience and gave BYU an opportunity to learn a lot about themselves.“Moving forward we are going to compete and do the best we can with what we have,” said Holmoe.

As the Athletic Director for BYU, he wants the best for the school’s student-athletes. The primary motivation to pursue Big 12 expansion was to provide the best competition for BYU’s athletic programs, “We wanted our kids to compete against the best players and the best teams.

BYU Basketball prepares for WCC tournament

The Cougar Cagers look to avoid a let down following Saturday’s upset of former #1 Gonzaga. BYU sets their eyes for the WCC tournament with it’s first game on Saturday against six-seed Loyola Marymount. The Cougars won the previous two match ups between the WCC rivals.

Head Coach Dave Rose sat down with the media following Wednesday’s practice and sent a message to his team.

“We’re not as active as I would like us to be in these practices. We have two more to go,” said Rose. “Right now, I feel we don’t have the urgency in practice this tournament demands. When you get to this tournament, everything is different – it’s different than your preseason games, it’s different than your conference games – there’s a real urgency level that I hope we’re prepared for.”

Yoeli Childs is expected to return to the starting line up in time for Saturday’s contest. The all-WCC freshman missed the contest against Portland, and saw limited time in BYU’s win against Gonzaga after suffering a sprained ankle against Saint Mary’s.

NBA return for Jimmer?

Fresh off being named International MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association, former BYU Basketball superstar Jimmer Fredette is reportedly eyeing a return to the NBA. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and The Vertical first reported the news via twitter.

Fredette last appeared in the NBA during the 2015-2016 season – four games with the New Orleans Pelicans and two with the New York Knicks.

BYU targets make national splash

National recruiting analysts have acknowledged BYU’s ability to scout talented athletes from a young age. For several prep recruits, BYU was the first school to contact them about a future in collegiate football. The secret is now out, and a few have picked up prestigious offers.

Cameron Latu: The former Cougar commit from Olympus High in Salt Lake has received offers from Alabama, Washington, Nebraska, Notre Dame and many others since his decommitment last month.

Tanner McKee: The four star quarterback from California would be the prize of BYU’s 2018 class. McKee has garnered national attention for his strong arm and athleticism. This morning, he collected an offer from Alabama to add to his list of impressive honors – a total of sixteen according to

Penei Sewell: The star recruit of the state of Utah from Desert Hills in St. George. Sewell wreaks havoc on opposing defensive lines and picked up an offer from Nick Saban and Alabama on Wednesday. Sewell is also being pursued by the likes of Utah, USC, Cal, Michigan, Tennessee, and plenty of others.

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