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Provo • If any walk-on on the BYU basketball team deserved a scholarship after last season, it was Orem's Craig Cusick, a 6-foot-2 point guard who rescued the Cougars time and again with his hard-nosed defense, clutch shooting and overall heady play.
Cusick, a senior this season, received the team's Sixth Man Award at the season-ending banquet last April after averaging 3.1 points, 2.1 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game. He played in every game, and started in three.
But coach Dave Rose said at the program's media day last week that "our scholarships have all been committed" for the 2012-13 season. Cusick confirmed that he's not getting one.
Freshmen Cooper Ainge and Kyle Rose, the coach's nephew, are the only other walk-ons on the 15-man roster.
Not surprisingly, the team-first Cusick is not bitter.
"Coach [Rose] spoke to me about that, and I am just glad to be here," Cusick said. "I feel like I am fortunate to be on the team. I realize that one of my dreams has always been to play college basketball, and I am here doing that, so I am still very happy and still going to do all I can to make this a good year for my team and not focus on myself."
When the Cougars announced that forward Chris Collinsworth was forced to retire due to lingering ankle and knee injuries, the thought was that Cusick would get that vacant scholarship. But Rose said Collinsworth will keep the scholarship.
Cusick isn't complaining.
"This position I am in, sometimes it is hard, but I am just going to do whatever is best for the team, and what's best for the team right now is for me to be [a walk-on]," Cusick said.
Despite injury, Delgado ready
Raul Delgado, the junior college transfer point guard who is expected to push sophomore Matt Carlino for playing time this year, hasn't missed any practices yet after suffering a dislocated elbow the day before classes started in August.
"So far, pretty good. It is always tough to get used to the pace and the rhythm of the team, but I am getting used to the pace and the defense of the game," said the transfer from Western Nebraska Community College.
Delgado said Rose's penchant for pushing the ball on offense was one reason he chose BYU, and so far he hasn't been disappointed.
"We go and go and go, 100 percent," he said.
Delgado said the brace he has to wear on his sore elbow takes some getting used to, but he is pretty much pain-free and doesn't believe the injury will be a factor this season.
Sophomore forward Nate Austin suffered a deep thigh bruise during last Saturday's practice and sat out of practice on Tuesday. Rose said he might return Wednesday. ... Rose said he feels "like we are a lot further along on Oct. 16, just because of the time we've had with the guys" in the offseason, due to an NCAA rule change. ... Stephen Rogers is "doing a lot better" with his sore knee and is on a strenuous workout schedule that is non-basketball related.