September 28, 2022

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Made By Sports

What is assistant Lee Cummard’s perspective on BYU women’s basketball?

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For BYU women’s basketball affiliate head mentor Lee Cummard, the past numerous months have been, in his words, “a comprehensive roller coaster” journey.

In 2021-22, the Cougars savored an historic 26-4 time and West Coast Convention typical season championship that concluded with a disappointing 1st-round exit from the NCAA Match. 

“We’re having these types of a terrific calendar year with so much pleasure and electricity. The way that it ended, I truly feel like we performed our two worst video games of the year in the past two, which you do not want,” Cummard reported. “Then we ended up having in the groove and finding enthusiastic for the summer months and operating it back with who’s returning and the freshmen.”

All of a sudden, in mid-April, famous mentor Jeff Judkins retired.

It was a surreal minute for those people within the system, which include Cummard, who expert a wide variety of feelings.

And he also realized it presented a possibility to job interview for the vacant head coaching job. 

“It was a weird pair of times. Juddy’s synonymous with BYU women’s basketball with all of those people many years, all that achievements and all of all those accolades for himself and his players and championships. And then there may be an chance to be in cost,” he stated. “Going via that method was fascinating, getting a dialogue with lots of individuals. I was acquiring down to the main of who you would want to be or the team you’d want to be a part of in the event of a change.”

Cummard interviewed with athletic director Tom Holmoe and deputy athletic director Brian Santiago.

A person of the people Cummard talked to in the course of the system was Amber Whiting, who was also interviewing for the work. There was an unspoken comprehension between them that if one of them had been employed as head coach, the other would be portion of the new workers.

“We understood we wanted to perform together and construct this matter, and incorporate to all the superior that Juddy has done around the years,” Cummard said.

As it turned out, Whiting was employed as BYU’s head mentor and she brought Cummard on board soon following, elevating him from assistant coach to affiliate head coach. 

“I couldn’t be more fired up to have Lee with me as affiliate head mentor,” Whiting explained in a statement at the time. “Not only was he an incredible participant below at The Y. but he delivers a prosperity of coaching awareness and expertise. Lee has founded himself as a great recruiter, and I see him continuing in that ability, along with expounding on ability growth, activity prep and in-game techniques/changes. I’m hunting ahead to performing aspect-by-aspect with him as we just take on this new problem.”

Romance with the Whitings

Like Whiting’s husband, Trent, Cummard performed skilled basketball for quite a few decades abroad. Cummard and the Whitings did not know each individual other at the time.

When Cummard was employed as a graduate assistant on Dave Rose’s workers on the men’s crew, he started recruiting the Whitings’ son, Jace, who is now at Boise Condition.

Right after becoming a member of Judkins’ workers, he begun recruiting the Whitings’ daughter, Amari, “like ridiculous,” Cummard explained.

“I obtained to know them by that. I received to know Amber a great deal more through Amari’s recruitment than Jace’s,” he claimed. “I come to feel like I’ve recruited everyone in their loved ones at one particular level or one more. It is a wonderful connection. Via the (interviewing) approach, we talked a whole lot. We understood there was the possible of performing for, or with, each and every other.”

Cummard is thrilled to be capable to continue to be at BYU.

“We like Provo. We love BYU. We like the ladies listed here and the time we get to invest with them and impression their life,” he reported. “I was thrilled when Amber identified as me. I was pumped.”

As for his purpose on Whiting’s personnel, Cummard provides continuity in conditions of awareness of roster and recruiting efforts. And, of system, Cummard, who led the Cougars to a few consecutive Mountain West Conference titles from 2007-09 and earned 2008 MWC Player of the Calendar year honors, is intimately familiar with BYU. 

“I know BYU like the back of my hand. I have been all-around for so prolonged. A worth there, an asset in that regard. A link with the latest roster. Just hoping to help any way I can,” he mentioned. “The position of everyone on staff is continue to evolving as we add users. We’re attempting to get a come to feel for everybody’s style and how exercise must operate. As she will get relaxed with us and the gamers and our qualities and how she can place everyone in situation to excel and aid the crew — that is continue to evolving.”

Shaylee Gonzales and the transfer portal

BYU guard Shaylee Gonzales, the reigning WCC Participant of the 12 months, entered the transfer portal in early June.

Cummard reported Gonzales, who has two yrs of eligibility remaining, is exploring her possibilities and browsing different campuses. But BYU’s coaches are even now speaking with her.

Is there a possibility she could select to return to Provo?

“Until she picks somewhere else, there is normally a probability,” Cummard stated. “The dialogue has been fantastic. Shaylee’s astounding. She’s heading by way of this method like a genuinely superior human being. She’s accumulating all of the details that she would like and she’ll go from there. The dialogue is even now open up. She’s getting visits. She’s been great. Time will tell. Our arms are broad open. She can go down as the finest player in BYU record. She can also direct this group to the farthest place in the NCAA Event that’s at any time occurred. That’s not just me indicating that. There is a roster right here subsequent year that can get some thing finished. If it’s not her, with any luck ,, anyone else steps up. There is a fantastic team of freshmen last 12 months that were waiting around patiently. They are heading to get a big prospect, even if she is back again.”

Cummard acknowledged that it was difficult not getting a head mentor in spot through the time the transfer portal was the most lively.

“I wish the determination on the head coach would have transpired a thirty day period earlier. Timing wasn’t excellent because of the portal. We never want to build the method as a result of the portal. But the portal’s not likely wherever it is a genuine matter,” he stated. “With Shaylee being in the portal and staying not sure of how that shakes out, the wave of the portal has had its result. We’re nonetheless speaking to people today. The wave had come and absent by the time Amber was hired.”

In the meantime, Whiting and her workers have been occupied recruiting. Lone Peak’s Kailey Woolston fully commited to the Cougars and will sign up for the staff in 2023-24, just ahead of BYU’s to start with season in the Big 12. As a junior very last year, Woolston averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the Knights, who posted a 23- file and received the 6A championship. She was named the Deseret News’ 6A Participant of the Year.

Coaching on the women’s facet

Cummard realized though he was enjoying that sometime he’d like to give coaching a shot.

But not essentially coaching girls. 

“Honestly, there is not as a great deal of a difference as I imagined it would be in regards to the basketball side of matters. Is there a change? No question,” Cummard said, who’s moving into his fourth period with the BYU women’s basketball application. “We’re not drawing up alley-oop performs but the video game and how to enjoy it and teaching the recreation is extremely very similar. I like the prep and the flow of the period. It is just great. A ton of the rules of obtaining achievement are the similar.”

Becoming a member of Cummard on Whiting’s staff members is former BYU women’s basketball star Morgan Bailey and Aaron Kallhoff, who previously had stints at Ability Five applications Penn Point out, Louisiana State and TCU.

How does Cummard explain Whiting’s coaching design and style and philosophy?

“Intense. Fiery,” he said. “I’ve witnessed enough AAU online games of her coaching to know it is there. Her expectation is to get in a defensive stance and guard any individual.” 

Cummard thinks a sound foundation has been laid in the method as it receives established to transition to the Significant 12 in 2023-24.

“What coach Whiting is undertaking so much, and as every person acclimates to her and what she wishes, it’s good. I’m been amazed with her depth and hearth and it resonates with the women,” he said. “We’re all acquiring to know each and every other. Even in the (West Coast Convention), your perform is lower out for you. We’re a week into summer time workout routines and it is been fantastic. A lot of new and some common but it’s a small various and additional rigorous.”

Spending tribute to ‘Juddy’

Of course, Cummard appreciates all that Judkins taught him. Judkins holds the school file for most wins by a head mentor in BYU basketball historical past, adult males or girls, top BYU to a 456-204 file during his tenure.

“I’ve hardly ever satisfied any person that is had anything terrible to say about mentor Judkins. He’s been in the activity for so extensive. The local community all-around BYU, the complete point out of Utah,” Cummard said. “As you go on the highway and converse to coaches, every person loves Juddy. He taught me a ton. I like talking hoops. He was constantly video game to converse. He has a very good knack for preserving it gentle and cost-free, but also, hey, let’s focus on what we have to have to for the subsequent activity. He trusts his kids a large amount. He lets them play with a lot much more freedom than I would have ever guessed. It paid out off for him.”



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