Pope Recruiting 101: An aggressive approach

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Men’s basketball Coach Mark Pope brings in mix of new coaches and players in first year
Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias

Photo credit: Gabi Campbell | Art Director | @gabicampbellphotos


In his first summer as head coach of the Utah Valley University men’s basketball program, Mark Pope has been aggressive in recruiting a new coaching staff and a variety of new players from around the country.
Cody Fueger, Chris Burgess, and Eric Daniels are the new assistant coaches for the Wolverines and Bobby Horodyski will take over as the director of basketball operations.
“I love these coaches,” Pope said. “They have all played and coached at a high level and they are great developers.”
Burgess and Daniels have both played college basketball. Burgess played at Duke University and the University of Utah. Daniels was the career leader in points and steals at Johnson & Wales University. Fueger has served as the director of basketball operations at Utah, Utah State University, University of California Riverside, Louisiana Tech and Brigham Young University. Horodyski played collegiately at Marshall University and University of Central Florida and most recently was the director of basketball operations at the University of Wyoming.
“These guys are young coaches,” Pope said. “But they are brilliant on the floor and they are great teachers.”
On the recruiting trail, Pope and his coaching staff have brought in six new players to the program.
Telly Davenport of Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls was the first official signee for Pope. He is the only true freshman that signed a national letter of intent.

Telly Davenport during a recent practice.  Photo courtesy of Gabi Campbell, UVU Review.

Telly Davenport during a recent practice. Photo courtesy of Gabi Campbell, UVU Review.

“I just loved Coach Pope and his staff,” Davenport said. “They work us out hard but it helps us get better and I love it.”
Andrew Bastien, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound center out of Irvine College in California was the first of five transfers to sign a national letter of intent. Ivory Young, a 6-foot-2 guard transferred from Navarro College in Texas. Isaac Neilson, a 6-foot-11 center transferred via BYU. Jordan Poydras, a 6-foot-3 guard transferred in from St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Brandon Randolph, a 6-foot-2 guard came from Xavier University in Ohio.
“I trusted Coach Pope and that was my main thing,” Randolph said. “I was just trying to go somewhere that I trusted somebody and I trusted him.”
Bastien, and Young are eligible to play after transferring from junior college in the 2015-16 seasons while Neilson, Poydras, and Randolph must sit out for a year due to the NCAA transfer rules.

Jordan Poydras attempts a 3-pointer in a recent practice.  Photo courtesy of Gabi Campbell, UVU Review

Jordan Poydras attempts a 3-pointer in a recent practice. Photo courtesy of Gabi Campbell, UVU Review

“I love Ivory as a guard and Andrew is just a big, physical rim protector and an explosive athlete,” Pope said. “Telly has a real swag to him and he has a scoring mentality that I love.”
These three players will be in the mix for playing time along with returning players Marcel Davis, Zach Nelson, Hayes Garrity, Donte Williams, Jaden Jackson, Alex Carr, Cory Cardwell, and Dayon Goodman.
Pope is looking forward to the 2016-17 season when his other three recruits will be eligible to play.

“Isaac Neilson is going to be a stud of a player,” he said. “Jordan Poydras is an incredibly skilled guard and Brandon Randolph is a big-time point guard who can always get wherever he wants on the floor.”
The quickness, length, aggressiveness, and shooting ability of the new recruits are exactly what Pope was looking for during his recruiting process.
“I love what these guys bring to the table,” Pope said. “We were able to get the guys we wanted and we know they will have an instant impact on this program.”