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As Dallas and Boston have gone, so has BYU’s new head coach

BYU's head men's basketball coach Kevin Young speaks to reporters after practice at BYU in Provo on Thursday, June 6, 2024.
BYU's head men's basketball coach Kevin Young speaks to reporters after practice at BYU in Provo on Thursday, June 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

There are some who believe the NBA playoffs last too long. There are others, like BYU basketball coach Kevin Young, who wouldn’t mind if they went a little longer.

During the same amount of time it took for Boston and Dallas to reach the NBA Finals, Young pulled off the overwhelming task of rescuing BYU basketball. The previous coach left quickly, key roster players jumped into the transfer portal and all that was gained by surprising America after reaching the NCAA Tournament was about to be lost.

The Cougars turned their future over to the former Phoenix Suns associate head coach. In true sports irony, before Young could think about winning at BYU, his team in Phoenix had to lose. Minnesota took care of that on April 28 when they eliminated the Suns from the playoffs.

Young walked out of the Footprint Center that night and he’s been on his feet ever since — keeping pace with the Celtics and Mavericks as all three chased their dreams of success.

By the time Boston eliminated Miami and Dallas took care of the Clippers to get out of the first round, Young had convinced Dallin Hall and Richie Saunders to exit the portal and return to Provo. He also signed Utah’s two-time 6A Player of the Year Brody Kozlowski. Young recruited Chris Burgess away from the University of Utah to be an assistant coach and he hired Doug Stewart from Nevada to be his chief of staff.

Whew!

Up next for Boston and Dallas was Cleveland and Oklahoma City, respectively. As the Celtics and Mavs wrapped up those series in the third week of May, Young added two more significant pieces to his roster. Keba Keita, a 6-foot-8 center, transferred from Utah, and Young signed four-star freshman guard Elijah Crawford.

The end of the month brought the end to Indiana and Minnesota as Boston and Dallas bounced them from the conference finals. As they did, Young added Egor Demin, a 6-8 Russian star who is projected to be among the top 10 lottery picks in next year’s NBA draft.

This week, as Dallas and Boston charged into the NBA Finals, Young hired three more coaches with experience in the United States and abroad — Will Voigt, Tim Fanning and John Linehan. He signed 6-7 transfer Mawot Mag from Rutgers and had AJ Dybantsa on campus — the projected No. 1 pick in the 2026 draft. Young also began BYU’s summer workouts.

Whew! Whew!

While the Celtics and Mavericks fight for the title over the next two weeks, Young will secure a title to a home in Utah County and move Melissa and their children from Phoenix now that the school year in Arizona has ended.

At some point the 42-year-old coach will stop and catch his breath. But with two scholarships still to fill, his pace will remain quickened, only pausing long enough to eat a hamburger and watch the NBA Finals — a series that can remind Young how much he’s accomplished since the playoffs began.

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BYU's head men's basketball coach Kevin Young speaks to reporters after practice at BYU in Provo on Thursday, June 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Dave McCann is a sportswriter and columnist for the Deseret News and is a play-by-play announcer and show host for BYUtv/ESPN+. He co-hosts “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com and is the author of the children’s book “C is for Cougar,” available at deseretbook.com.