Lack of leadership hurting UVU men’s basketball

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Kyle McDonald

Editor at large

There is an alarming trend happening with the UVU men’s basketball team. It was on full display when the Wolverines lost to Grand Canyon University in the UCCU Events Center on Feb. 18. The fact is that, late in the game, UVU is lacking leadership and execution.

The Wolverines are 3-8 in WAC play, but looking back at the box score for each of those games, UVU could be 10-1. UVU has led or been within a point or two in the second half of every WAC game except for one.

At GCU on Jan. 7, UVU got within two points on a dunk by Isaac Neilson with 15:57 to play. However, the Lopes went on a 13-0 run over the next two minutes to take control.

Against Chicago State, in what might be the ugliest loss under head coach Mark Pope, UVU led by seven early in the second half. The Cougars then used a 22-2 run to take a 13-point lead with 10:53 remaining. The Wolverines got to within three after Jordan Poydras made three free throws with 8:26 left but couldn’t get any closer.

We all know what happened against New Mexico State as well as Cal State Bakersfield. The only conference game where UVU didn’t lead in the second half or get within two or three points was at Seattle on Feb. 4.

Hayden Schenck has started last two games for UVU and Wolverines have won both. Photo by Sarah Sanchez.

If you look back at these games, someone on the opposing team takes over late, whether that is Ian Baker of NMSU or Josh Braun of GCU. It is that player that puts his team on his shoulders and says ‘let’s go’.

“It’s hard for us offensively because we just haven’t found the right mix of guys that can make good decisions,” Pope said following the second GCU loss. “We just don’t have good decision-makers there right now. I haven’t done a good job coaching our guys in how to play that way for a four-minute stretch.”

It is something, as the season winds down, UVU needs to find. It needs that one player who wills his team to a win and to close out the game strong. It needs that one player who wants the ball in his hands.

Once that leader steps up and takes on that role, UVU will be that team we remember that beat BYU on Nov. 26. It’s pretty obvious in the results of games throughout conference play.


UVU proved this opinion piece wrong over the weekend as the Wolverines beat New Mexico State and UTRGV.

It was the first time a WAC team has defeated New Mexico State in the Pan Am Center and guards Brandon Randolph and Kenneth Ogbe combined to score the final 15 points of the game for UVU in the impressive win.

Jordan Poydras had a team-high 17 points to lead five Wolverines in double figures in a dominant win over UTRGV on Saturday night. UVU led from start to finish and shot 55 percent from the field in the win.