â†µWhile most conversations about Brigham Young hoops generally start with Jimmer Fredette, one of the interesting ancillary characters in the Cougs' cast was Michael Loyd Jr. After playing in 2007-08 and redshirting the 2008-09 season, Lloyd played a relatively steady sophomore season, but came on late in the year. He had 19 points in a narrow loss to New Mexico when Fredette couldn't play in the second half of a critical game. He had 18 points in next game against Utah and most importantly, he put up 26 points in BYU's tourney win against Florida. â†µâ†µ
â†µThat's great momentum to carry into Loyd Jr.'s junior season at BYU, right? Nope. He's leaving the program. The Salt Lake Tribune provides some of the potential reasons why an up-and-comer like Loyd Jr. would leave (and also what reasons have been ruled out): â†µâ†µ
â†µ-- Lack of playing time, assuming Fredette doesn't stay in the NBA draft, could've been a factor. Next year's backcourt is loaded.
â†µ-- Unlike star football player Harvey Unga, Loyd Jr. was not booted because of BYU's honor code. â†µ
â†µ-- Loyd Jr. did not flunk out academically. â†µ
â†µInstead, the Tribune says Loyd Jr., according to sources, because "after three years in Provo, the native of Las Vegas has decided that he just doesn't fit in." Most surprising is this particular passage: â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥Loyd wasn’t forced out, but he was given some guidelines in regards to behavior, dress and appearance that he apparently decided he just couldn’t abide by. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µâ‡¥Let’s put it this way: showing up on national television with a mohawk haircut for BYU’s NCAA Tournament games, or playing against Utah with a tongue piercing, probably didn’t help his cause. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µIt leaves me wonder: How does this union between Loyd Jr. and BYU ever come to be if something this seemingly trivial could break it up? If an athlete attends a private school of any denomination with strong religious beliefs that are part of student life, how do they survive? I can't help but think back to Manti Te'o and his choice to attend Notre Dame. It had BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall taking some not-so-veiled shots at Notre Dame and its own rules and regulations. â†µâ†µ
â†µBut in the case of Te'o, Notre Dame appears to have taken that extra step to make an All-American comfortable in South Bend, even if his own belief set was outside of what a great deal of the campus would believe. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥Te'o bonded with Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who is Catholic. "Charlie Weis is a great man," Te'o said. "On my official visit, he took me to the LDS church over there. They're very welcoming of athletes from different faiths." It may seem odd that the most highly sought-after Mormon recruit in the nation is considering a Catholic school, but Brian Te'o said he isn't surprised. Manti's mother's family is Catholic, and Manti enjoyed the small-town feel of South Bend. â†µâ†µWhen you hear Loyd Jr.'s story (and to be fair, Loyd Jr. is keeping quiet beyond the statement from the school) and combine it with the recent Harvey Unga news, you've got to wonder how players who aren't of Mormon faith -- or willing to live by such stringent rules -- will view a future at BYU.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.