BYU Cougars forward Isaac Nielson will leave the program and transfer to Utah Valley. There, he will play for former BYU assistant Mark Pope, who was hired as Utah Valley’s head coach back in March. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported the story.
A 6’10”, 230 pounder from Mission Viejo, California, Nielson averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds over 9.1 minutes per game as a freshman. He shot 49.4 percent from the field and appeared in every game for the Cougars, who went 25-10 (13-5 WCC) in coach Dave Rose’s tenth season and reached the NCAA Tournament’s First Four. There, BYU lost to Ole Miss.
Nielson will now head to Orem to play for Pope, a former NBA big man who will be tasked with taking over a Utah Valley Wolverines squad that has not once been to the NCAA Tournament. However, the team did go 205-153 in 12 seasons under former coach Dick Hunsaker and took home three conference regular season championships in four years. Last season, Utah Valley was 11-19 (5-9 WAC) and Hunsaker retired at season’s end.
Hopefully, Pope can bring some of the winning culture from BYU over to Utah Valley and once Nielson is eligible to play again after sitting out a year, the Wolverines can become a team to watch in the WAC.