COMMENTARY – He’s barely been home a year from his LDS Mission to the Philippines, but Tyler Haws is hitting the road again.
The BYU guard recently tried out and made the USA Men’s Basketball’s World University Games team, which will compete in the games in Kazan, Russia, beginning Sunday.
Haws, from Alpine and Lone Peak High School, will be entering his junior season at BYU. He averaged 21.7 points a game for the Cougars last season as a sophomore, despite having returned from his mission just a few months before the season-opener against Tennessee State. He then went out and scored at least 20 points in his first five games of the year.
Midway through the year, Haws recorded a career-high 42 points in BYU’s 97-71 win over Virginia Tech in Salt Lake City.
As a member of the USA World University Games team, Haws became the second BYU player to don the red, white and blue in international play. Devin Durrant played for the USA World University team in 1983.
The team will practice and scrimmage this week, with the first USA game scheduled for Sunday. At that point, Haws may face a moral dilemma as BYU specifically has a policy against playing sports on Sundays. Haws, while representing himself and not technically the school, will have to decide if he wants to play in that Sunday game against the United Arab Emirates.
Certainly, not too many people would blame Haws if he played, perhaps to improve his future NBA stock. But the weight of who he is and who he plays for will be heavy. Playing on Sunday is a no-no in the LDS Church. Plus, the opportunity to send a message and set an example as a high-profile LDS athlete would be a huge.
The USA has drawn preliminary round Group C for the 2013 World University Games men’s basketball competition, along with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. Playing in Group A are Estonia, Germany, Oman, Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. Playing in Group B are Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, Romania and Serbia. Group D includes Brazil, Chile, China, Finland, Lithuania and Norway.
The USA will take on UAE at 6:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia, is +8 hours from EDT) on July 7; followed by Czech Republic at 1 p.m. on July 8; and Sweden at 9 p.m. on July 10; Australia at 6:30 p.m. on July 11; and Canada at 1 p.m. on July 12.
Following the preliminary round, the first and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 14 to compete for first through eighth places; while the remaining teams will play out for ninth to 24th places. The semifinals will be played on July 15, and the finals will be contested on July 16.
The USA men own a 138-9 record in WUG games, capturing gold in 13 of the 20 WUG tournaments that they have competed in. USA also has three silvers and three bronzes, medalling in 19 of 20 WUG events.
Other notable former USA WUG players include former Jazz star Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Tim Duncan.
Haws, who was born in Belgium during the time his father, Marty, was playing professional basketball in Europe, is expected to be a strong contributor due to his shooting prowess. He was one of the top shooters in the West Coast Conference last season, making 43 3-pointers. He also has a career free throw percentage of 89.1 percent.
Team USA Roster for the World University Games:
Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado/Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Yogi Ferrell (Indiana/Indianapolis, Ind.)
Treveon Graham (Virginia Commonwealth/Temple Hills, Md.)
Luke Hancock (Louisville/ Roanoke, Va.)
Tyler Haws (BYU/Alpine, Utah)
Cory Jefferson (Baylor/ Killeen, Texas)
Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati/Yonkers, N.Y.)
Alex Kirk (New Mexico/Los Alamos, N.M.)
Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa)
Adreian Payne (Michigan State/Dayton, Ohio)
Will Sheehey (Indiana/Stuart, Fla.)
Aaron White (Iowa/Strongsville, Ohio).
Head coach: Bob McKillop
Assistant: John Beilein
Assistant: Frank Martin
For more on the World University Games, click here.
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