PROVO — After a promising start to his BYU career, freshman guard Frank Bartley IV has seen his playing time reduced dramatically over the past month.
“At the beginning of the season it was fun, then I kind of went into a freshman slump,” Bartley said.
During a stretch that began with the big win over Texas on Nov. 25 through the loss at Pepperdine on Dec. 30, Bartley logged double-digit minutes in 10 straight games. He played a season-high 26 minutes and scored 11 points against the Longhorns. Bartley had 14 points against both Utah State and UMass. In November, he scored a season-high 16 points against Mount St. Mary’s.
Since the second week in January, however, Bartley hasn’t played more than six minutes in any single game. He's scored just four points in the last eight contests.
“Coach told me he wanted to go with the veterans. I got kind of discouraged,” Bartley said. “I talked to him and told him how I felt about it. So I started coming to the gym even more and working out in the mornings. I try to guard the best players in practice now so I can get back in the rotation.”
Bartley will continue to look for more minutes Thursday (9 p.m. MST, ESPNU), when the Cougars host Santa Clara.
Asked why his playing time has diminished, Bartley said, “I honestly don’t know. After we lost to Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine (to start the West Coast Conference schedule), the coaches wanted to go with the veterans, which is understandable. These guys have been here. But I feel like I’m good enough to come in and have an impact. So I can’t get discouraged or lose confidence in my game. I feel like the coaches still believe in me and still have a lot of confidence in me. I’m staying positive, and when it’s my turn, I want to go out there and do my best.”
Coach Dave Rose said Bartley has maintained a positive outlook.
“Frank’s attitude is really good. He plays hard in practice. Sometimes, those opportunities are out of the control of a player because coaches make those decisions,” Rose said. “But Frank has handled it really well. He’s actually turned a corner and is playing with a lot more energy and a lot more aggressiveness. A couple of guys that have received minutes are playing really well with the minutes Frank had earlier in the year. Hopefully that helps us, and we can get a lot of good, consistent play from our bench. But his attitude and his approach have been terrific. He’s worked harder the last two weeks probably than he did the month before that, which is a good sign. Sometimes guys, when they get in that situation, they tend to feel like it’s a hopeless situation. They’re the last one in and the first one to leave. That’s not the case with Frank.”
Bartley said he appreciates the support of his teammates.
“I keep telling him to stay positive,” said guard, and team captain, Tyler Haws. “He brings an energy and intensity in practice. Even though he’s not getting as many minutes as he used to, he’s still a big part of this team and helping us in a lot of ways.”
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