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BYU's Haws off to fast start following mission

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BYU's Haws off to fast start following mission

A year ago, Tyler Haws was out of basketball, except for the occasional pick-up game in the Philippines, where Filipinos would automatically deem the 6-foot-5 ``giant'' their center.

Now back at Brigham Young, the sophomore guard is coming up big in a different way - with impressive numbers for a returning missionary.

His 42 points Saturday against Virginia Tech were the most by a BYU player not named Jimmer since Bob Skousen had 47 in 1961, and the highest output by a Cougar sophomore in school history.

``He was special,'' acknowledged Hokies coach James Johnson, who saw Haws outscore his own top player - then-national scoring leader Erick Green - by 30 points that day. ``He can score in a lot of different ways. He's crafty. He's smart. He's probably one of the best guards we'll play against all year long.''

BYU certainly will be counting on him, especially with the Cougars (10-4) opening West Coast Conference play Thursday against Loyola Marymount (7-6) and with big man Brandon Davies nursing a high-ankle sprain.

That Haws has found his rhythm so quickly after being gone for two years is testament to the plan he, his father and coaches laid out upon his return.

He got in the weight room, avoided pick-up games for a couple of months and decided to ``listen to his body'' after returning in April from Quezon City, Philippines, where he was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

``He said I'm going to take this thing at a good pace but not a break-neck pace,'' father Marty Haws recalled. ``That's why I give him credit. The pre-mission Tyler wouldn't have been able to do that. He would have been going 90 mph and trying to do it all. We said you don't have to be ready in two months, you have to be ready in six.''

After 14 games, Haws etched his name in the BYU record books for scoring.

He passed his father, who was 10th all-time with 40 points in a single game.

The 42 he finished with against Virginia Tech tied him for eighth all-time with Jimmer Fredette, who also holds the BYU single-game record with 52.

Haws was half a world away during Fredette's senior season, but he was a freshman starter during the superstar's junior year when BYU went 30-6, finished No. 17 in The Associated Press poll and knocked off Florida in double-overtime in the NCAA tournament before losing to Kansas State.

``There weren't a lot of shots that year,'' Marty Haws said, noting that BYU also had 3-point marksman Johnathan Tavernari. ``As a player, you have a choice to sulk or figure out a way to help the team win.''

Haws did the latter, earning the team's most inspirational player award and setting a BYU record by making 48 consecutive free throws. He also averaged 11.3 points while starting 33 of 35 games, and his 91.7 percentage for free-throws ranked fourth best in NCAA history for freshmen.

With Fredette and steals leader Jackson Emery graduating in 2011, and Noah Harstock and Charles Abouo after last season - there was room for another scorer to emerge this season.

Enter Haws, a former two-time 5A state MVP at Lone Peak High School in nearby Alpine, Utah.

``He's always been a guy who works hard in everything he does,'' said senior Davies, who arrived at BYU the same year as Haws and is his roommate on the road. ``When he was here, we were pushing each other. When he got back, he had the same work ethic and we've seen the results.''

On Saturday, Haws was seemingly unstoppable.

He popped 3-pointers from the corner, wing and top of the arc, posted up for layups and spun to the rim to finish BYU fast breaks.

BYU coach Dave Rose said Haws simply is a winner, having led Lone Peak to state titles as a sophomore and junior and to the finals again as a senior.

``I've watched him play for most of my life,'' Rose said. ``He makes winning plays. His high school coach is a great coach and we've had conversations about his ability to affect the game for good. We felt when he came here that's what he would be able to do.''

It helped that Haws was part of one of the best teams in BYU history.

``But he's gotten off to a much better start after his mission and not playing two years than he did coming out of high school,'' Rose said. ``It takes a special guy to be able to do what he's doing.''

The likable, low-key Haws takes it all in stride.

When he started the season scoring 20 points or more in the first six games, Haws said he wasn't thinking about 20 as a goal.

After Saturday, he said he hopes he doesn't have to score 40 for BYU to win.

But he acknowledged learning from Fredette when he was putting up big numbers game after game.

``You can't stay satisfied with anything,'' Haws said. ``... We've got to keep getting better and keep improving.''

Entering WCC play, Haws is averaging 20.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game and is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range.

``I do have high expectations of myself and feel like I can do some big things,'' Haws said. ``But the fun thing is when your team is doing well and winning games.''

Marty Haws, who went on his mission first before returning to play four seasons at BYU in the late 1980s, said there are no guarantees that a player can pick up where he left off - even if some argue that an athlete on a church mission comes back more mature and older.

``I'm not ready to say stepping away from a game for two years helps you at all,'' the elder Haws said. ``But I know he wouldn't trade his mission for anything.''

Tyler Haws speaks fondly of the Filipino people and smiles thinking about their love for basketball - even though most came up to his chest.

He said they would tack up hoops without nets on walls and trees, and play barefoot or in flip-flops.

When he walked down the street during the 2011 NBA finals, a few yelled ``Hey, Dirk'' as if he were Dirk Nowitzki.

``They had no idea who he was,'' Marty Haws said with a laugh.

The elder Haws also is quick to say any comparisons between Tyler and Fredette ``fall flat'' because the 2011 national player of the year was ``really special.''

But dad won't argue the fact that Tyler has surpassed his father in ability.

``I figured out a way to use my speed to become a good basketball player,'' said Marty Haws, a point guard who played two years professionally in Belgium, where Tyler was born in 1991. ``He's bigger, more physical and a better scorer, rebounder and defender.''

Don't expect Haws to get a big head over his big games, or get tripped up by publicity.

Teammates say he's humble, unflappable and can take the ribbing about his quirky habit of tying his shoelaces seven or eight times for games.

So far everything seems to be working for Haws, who is seeking to join Danny Ainge as one of a handful of BYU players to total 1,000 points over their first two seasons - something even Fredette didn't accomplish.

Never mind that the mission in the Philippines came in between for Haws.

``I feel like I came back a new person with a different perspective on what's important in life,'' Haws said. ``The Filipino people changed me. It's a Third World country and they don't have a lot. But they're some of the happiest people I've ever met.''

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Did you know Bill Belichick has deep ties to Navy football?

Did you know Bill Belichick has deep ties to Navy football?

Sports Uncovered is a six-part weekly podcast series that explores the stories that took the national sports world by storm. The newest episode, The Bill Belichick You Don't Know, explores the lesser-known side of the New England Patriots head coach.

On the outside, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seems pretty easy to read. A man of few words -- at least to the media -- Belichick has made it clear that he has two things he cares about above all else: football and winning.

However, there is another side to the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach that most may not be aware of. On the latest Sports Uncovered podcast by NBC Sports, 'The Bill Belichick You Don’t Know’ takes a look at some lesser-known stories, facts and passions that Belichick has.

Among them all, one thing many may not know about the Patriots head coach is that he has deep ties -- and a strong love -- for Navy football. Yes, despite his longtime rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, Belichick does indeed have a soft spot for some football in the state of Maryland.

Belichick's connection to the Naval Academy football team stems from his father's history of coaching at the program. Steve Belichick, who passed away in 2005, spent 30 years as an assistant coach while also teaching classes at Navy.

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During that time, Bill Belichick became embedded in his father's world of football. Spending time so close to the team, he carried a close personal connection to the team and school. Being the football genius that he is, the head coach can still recall specific moments, players and uniforms from games that took place over 40 years ago.

Though Belichick now resides in New England, his relationship with Navy Football is as strong as ever. As NBC Sports' Peter King showed in 2019, Belichick and his father's legacy will remain in Annapolis forever as the school has a special archive named the "Belichick Collection."

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There, football books dating back 100 years can be found, and read. For a family dedicated to football, it's the perfect touch.

For as long as he is the head coach of the Patriots -- and even after -- Belichick may not be the most popular person in the state of Maryland. However, his lesser-known side shows that he does have at least one positive connection to football in the state. 

To never miss an episode, subscribe to Sports Uncovered and get every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is also available on the MyTeams app, as well as on every major podcasting platform: AppleGoogle PodcastiHeartStitcherSpotify, and TuneIn

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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The most memorable moments between Bill Belichick and the Ravens organization

The most memorable moments between Bill Belichick and the Ravens organization

Sports Uncovered is a six-part weekly podcast series that explores the stories that took the national sports world by storm. The newest episode, The Bill Belichick You Don't Know, explores the lesser-known side of the New England Patriots head coach.

Bill Belichick and the Ravens have been attached at the hip for longer, and more deeply, than people might assume. 

Perhaps the NFL’s best coach of all time, Belichick has had a great impact on Baltimore football, even when he’s not been actively on the team’s staff. 

He was an assistant coach for the Baltimore Colts and coach Ted Marchibroda in 1975, his first ever coaching job in the NFL. After a few stints as an assistant coach, he moved on to the Giants where he led one of the most successful defensive teams in NFL history to two Super Bowls. 

There’s no shortage of memorable moments between the famed coach and the Ravens, and here are a few that stand out: 

The 1996 NFL Draft

Belichick was the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1991-1995 before the Browns’ move to Baltimore. Even with Art Modell’s assurances that he’d be the head coach in Baltimore too, where Belichick started his career, he was fired in early 1996. 

But while the Ravens’ first draft in the NFL was one of the best drafts of any team in NFL history, it couldn’t have happened without Belichick. 

He made a trade in the 1995 season, still as the coach of the Browns, with the 49ers that gave the Ravens two first round picks in 1996. The Ravens’ first pick ever, their own pick, went to the selection of Jonathan Ogden at fourth overall. 

Later in the first round, with the pick Belichick had traded for, the Ravens selected linebacker Ray Lewis. 

 

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Ed Reed

Belichick perhaps had no greater admiration for a Ravens player than Ed Reed. That manifested itself on one play against the Colts. 

Reed had studied Peyton Manning’s tendencies and found out that a pump fake indicated where Manning wanted to throw the football. He intercepted a would-be touchdown in that week’s game. 

Reed’s play still sticks out in his mind.

“Best play I’ve ever seen a free safety make,” Belichick said.

Tom Brady was understandably worried about Reed in his career, and both he and Belichick have marveled at Reed’s ability for years. 

Brady once had “Find 20 on Every Play” written on his quarterback armband.

2007 Ravens/Patriots

The Ravens nearly ended the perfection of Belichick’s best team of all time. 

On Monday Night Football late in the 2007 season, Belichick took his unbeaten Patriots to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Ravens. There, one of the wildest finishes in the storied rivalry took place. 

The Ravens thought they had the Patriots stopped on 4th down on three separate occasions as the Patriots drove for the game-winning touchdown, but each time had to replay the down. 

Belichick’s Patriots escaped with the win as the end of the Brian Billick era in Baltimore was set in motion, which led to John Harbaugh’s hiring as coach.

2012 Justin Tucker winner

In one of the least proud moments of the rivalry, the Ravens knocked off the Patriots 31-30 on a last-second field goal by Justin Tucker early in the 2012 season. 

Late in the game, Harbaugh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after coming onto the field, while yelling, “I was trying to call timeout!” That led to a “manure” chant by Ravens fans that Al Michaels noted on the NBC broadcast. 

The Ravens got the ball back and marched into Patriots territory, where Tucker’s game-winning kick sailed seemingly directly over top of the right upright. As Vince Wilfork ran screaming toward the officials, Belichick ran off the field and tried to grab the arm of an official who was running off the field.

At the time, the NFL’s referees were in the midst of a lockout and replacement referees were the biggest story of the season.

“Deflategate”

The Ravens, at least publicly, denied any involvement in their role in the “Deflategate” controversy. But according to documents released in August of 2015, the Ravens were the ones who let the Colts know about deflated footballs. 

After a 35-31 loss in the divisional round, Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg called Chuck Pagano, then the coach of the Colts, to warn him about the condition of the footballs in New England.

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2019 Lamar

In what was the future of the rivalry, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens handed the Patriots their first loss of the 2019 season. 

Jackson threw for 163 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 61 yards as the Ravens won 37-20. It was the Ravens’ most notable win of the season to that point and the win that propelled them to a 14-2 finish.

And, as it turns out, it was Belichick’s last game against the Ravens with Brady at the helm and the turning of the page in the rivalry to the next chapter.

To never miss an episode, subscribe to Sports Uncovered and get every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is also available on the MyTeams app, as well as on every major podcasting platform: AppleGoogle PodcastiHeartStitcherSpotify, and TuneIn

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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