May 29, 2016
It was quite a coup when Bingham standout Yoeli Childs signed his letter of intent to play basketball at BYU: An African-American, non-LDS Utah prep athlete is a rare combination in Provo.
“I think Yoeli will grow into one of the really special players who have played here,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “But I can’t really tell you how that’s going to be right now.”
That’s because Childs’ skill set is so unique to BYU. The 6-foot-8 power forward has strong post moves with the ability to explode to the basket and dunk with ease. But he also has developed his shooting range and runs the floor well. As a senior at Bingham, Childs tallied 17.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while making a team-best 41 3-pointers.
“In high school, for the most part he was a back-to-the-basket low post guy,” Rose said. “For his AAU teams he played more facing the basket, so I think he has both of those parts of his game. He really became much more of a perimeter player on his high team on that run to the state championship. He hit a lot of 3-pointers this year and a shot good percentage. We’ll see how it really develops.”
BYU has always been able to recruit guards who can shoot and has also had several post players – Trent Plaisted and Brandon Davies come to mind – who commanded attention inside. Childs is more along the lines of former Cougars Keena Young or Mekeli Wesley: Post players who can extend the defense or take a defender into the paint.
Where Childs plays in the BYU system depends on what he can do on the defensive end.
“The real challenge right now for Yoeli is let’s see what he can guard,” Rose said. “He’s probably guarded centers for most of his basketball career because he was one of the biggest guys on his team.”
Childs has been taking part in BYU’s summer Fan Fests around the country, but Rose said his star recruit wouldn’t go unless he was assured he could still get in his workouts. Rose said staffers have arranged to take Childs to the closest LDS stake center on these trips so he can continue to work on his game.
“I love his potential and I love his demeanor,” Rose said. “He’s got a tremendous work ethic right now. I saw his high school coach recently at an event, and he said, ‘You can set your watch by Yoeli because he’s been in the gym at 6 o’clock every morning since the season has been over.’ ”
Childs chose BYU, Rose said, because he wanted to be part of something special with the likes of Nick Emery, T.J. Haws, Eric Mika, Peyton Dastrup, Kyle Davis and Elijah Bryant, among others.
“Yoeli is one of the unique guys,” Rose said. “When we really started to talk about why he would want to come here, he loved the fact that it was close so his mom and brother could have a chance to watch him play. But he also wanted to play with these other guys.
“Most guys are asking, ‘Who are the guys that are coming?’ and, ‘Whoa, I don’t know if I want to compete with those guys.’ But Yoeli’s whole thing was, ‘I want to come and I want to play with those guys. Let’s do something together as a group.’ That excites me. That’s a team attitude and a winning approach to doing this.”