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Provo • Brigham Young University's 6-foot-5 Tyler Haws is a lot wiser, a little bit taller and quite a bit skinnier.
Whether he is a better college basketball player after being away from the game for two years remains to be seen, but the 21-year-old sophomore-to-be is optimistic, as usual.
"I expect to pick right up where I left off," he said Wednesday, about two weeks after returning home from his LDS Church mission to the Philippines, a country in Southeast Asia. "I expect to be on the floor, and play, and just help my team win, however I can."
Certainly, Haws looks a bit different, and not just because that black eye he sported in the final two games of the 2009-10 season a win over Florida and then a loss to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament is long gone, with no lingering effects.
He's noticeably leaner, having lost between 10-15 pounds when most young men are gaining weight. He said he was ill only a few times during the two years away from his mother's cooking in Alpine, calling that "a great blessing" and attributing the weight loss to a different diet and hard work in a more humid setting.
"I was about 200, 205 pounds [before his mission], and I got down to about 190 on my mission," he said. "So I am trying to get that weight back, and gain some muscle back."
Haws' mission was just getting started when Jimmermania was taking root. He missed BYU's Sweet 16 run and Jimmer Fredette's amazing senior season, causing some to wonder what might have been if the two-time Utah prep player of the year had been around. His father, former BYU guard Marty Haws, kept him updated via email, and he learned of Fredette's exploits and countless national player of the year awards while sitting in a small "internet shop" in the Philippines.
But Tyler Haws said he has no regrets.
"The Filipino people are great, and I miss them [already]," he said, after describing how he would play basketball with Filipinos on his preparation days and occasionally on Saturdays but would have to play center because he towered over his competitors.
Haws started 33 of 35 games as a freshman at BYU after leading Lone Peak High to two state titles and a runner-up finish. He averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while making 110 of 120 free-throw attempts. He will enter the 2012-13 season having made 48 consecutive free throws, a school record.
"I have thought about [the streak] a little bit," he said. "But I just gotta make the next one."
What kind of shape will he be in then?
Haws said he is already working out with his father and doing some individual drills, but probably won't get involved in any pickup games with his teammates for a couple of months.
"The coaches and I have talked a lot," he said. "Staying healthy is a big thing, so I am going to do my best to get back into shape and get back into playing shape."
Haws by the numbers
Tyler Haws' Freshman Season at BYU
Year GP-GS FG-FGA 3FG-FGA FT-FTA RPG APG PPG
2009-10 35-33 131-263 25-68 110-120 4.2 1.7 11.3