BYU center Brandon Davies broke his silence Tuesday for the first time since being suspended at the end of last season for violating the university's honor code, saying he's "happy to be back."
He also said he thought he has been treated fairly by BYU.
"I was definitely treated more than fair," he told reporters. "Just to be able to make it back here and be able to be a part of this team again is a blessing to me."
BYU begins its 2011-12 season on Friday at Utah State.
Davies, the Cougars' top returning scorer and rebounder, was readmitted to the school in August. He was suspended at the end of the regular season just as the Cougars had climbed to No. 3 in the rankings after BYU became aware he had premarital sex.
BYU, which is unranked at the beginning of this season, advanced to the Sweet 16 without Davies. He said it "hurt" not being able to help his teammates.
"Not just me, but everyone around me," he told reporters. "It's definitely something I'll never forget about and something I never want to do again, so I just use that to drive me in all that I do today."
The school does not discuss the nature of suspensions but under the honor code students are prohibited from having premarital sex and drinking alcoholic beverages, among other things.
Davies said he thinks he has changed for the better after his suspension, "but that's up to other people to decide."
"I can't really tell someone that I've changed; it's up to me to show that. Hopefully I'm in the right direction and doing that the best I can."
Davies, who grew up in Provo, had started 26 of 29 games for the Cougars and averaged 11.1 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds.
He said he was not contacted by any other universities about transferring after his suspension.
"I am just glad to be here, back with my teammates and back here where I am supported and loved by so many," he told reporters. "Just to be back here and be able to be part of this team again is a blessing to me."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.