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Provo • BYU lost just two key contributors from the basketball team last year that won a first-round NCAA Tournament game: forwards Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo.
But the "culture" of the team has changed a lot, and not just because the Cougars have added a pair of junior college transfers who speak Spanish fluently, point guard Matt Carlino said on Wednesday as the Cougars held their annual media day at the BYU Broadcast Building.
BYU's first practice in preparation for the 2012-13 season is Friday at 7 p.m.
"There's a different feel around here," Carlino said, talking about head coach Dave Rose's emphasis during the offseason on improving his team's perimeter play, especially its outside shooting. "We brought in guys who can really shoot it."
That would be guard Raul Delgado of Western Nebraska by way of Springville High and Chihuahua, Mexico, and forward Agustin Ambrosino, a product of Cordoba, Argentina, and Salt Lake Community College.
"We struggled shooting the ball from the perimeter at times last year," Rose said. "The group of guys I am excited to see are returning players in that [perimeter] group, and the players that we have added in that group, because it is such a big part of the success of our program, and how we play."
Having relied on the inside scoring of Hartsock and returning senior Brandon Davies last year, Rose said this year's squad will need to be more balanced to be successful.
"Last year we really relied on our two post players to carry us through the majority of the real tough times. And in order to be really good and more consistent, I believe that the balance needs to be better on this year's team," he said.
The most significant news of the day centered around players trying to return from injuries.
Delgado dislocated his elbow the day before fall semester classes began, but is "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery and might even be able to practice on Friday.
However, senior forward Stephen Rogers is still hampered by a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Rogers had more surgery on the knee last April, but still experiences swelling and pain in the knee in the days after he goes hard on it. Rose said he wouldn't be surprised if Rogers can't go this season, while Rogers said that is the last thought on his mind and he plans on getting back to full strength and contributing. He said a new knee brace has helped immensely the past week or so.
It was believed that Rose would have an additional scholarship to dole out with the medical retirement of Chris Collinsworth, but Rose said that's not the case.
"For this year, our  scholarships have all been committed," he said.
Senior walk-on guard Craig Cusick, a huge contributor last season, said he wasn't awarded a scholarship but that it won't affect his effort this year.
"I am still way happy to be able to play basketball for BYU," he said. "That's how I am looking at it."
BYU basketball media day highlights
• The Cougars begin practicing on Friday at 7 p.m. in preparation for the 2012-13 season.
• Senior F Stephen Rogers still hasn't fully recovered from April knee surgery, but expects to play this season. Coach Dave Rose is not as optimistic.
• Juco transfer Raul Delgado dislocated his elbow the day before classes began, but is "good to go," he said.