BYU big man says goodbye at banquet

BYU junior James Anderson will not return to the program next season, he announced Wednesday night at the team's awards banquet.

The Cougars lose the 6-foot-10 post presence after Anderson, who is expected to graduate in the summer, decided to pursue job opportunities rather than play on a team coming off a Sweet 16 appearance.

"I know it's a little unexpected," Anderson said, according to the Deseret News. "I'm grateful for my time here."

Anderson averaged 7.6 minutes and 1.1 points, making key contributions to this year's team. He came up with five blocks in the win against San Diego State at home in January. And when leading rebounder Brandon Davies was suspended due to an honor code violation, Anderson started the following game and played important minutes afterward.

Anderson, who was honored along with the team's seniors, served a two-year mission and also redshirted as a freshman before three seasons of action.

BYU loses its tallest player at a time when the status of Davies for next season remains unclear. The Cougars are expected to return forwards Noah Hartsock, Stephen Rogers and Chris Collinsworth, who underwent season-ending knee surgery.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU could also gain depth from returning missionaries.

Lone Peak High’s 6-10 Nate Austin and Orem High’s 6-10 Ian Harward will return from missions in Texas and will help the team inside, provided they are not asked to redshirt.

Every bit of depth will help while Davies does not appear on the team's official roster. The program hopes that the school will ultimately reinstate him after the honor code violation prevented him from playing in the postseason.

There was one sign that Davies remains highly regarded in the program. At the banquet, it was announced he would receive the award for "Best Conditioned Post Player."