Brigham Young senior forward Noah Hartsock started alongside former Cougars star Jimmer Fredette 65 times and enjoyed every moment of what became "Jimmermania."
Fredette dazzled crowds throughout college basketball last season, when he shattered BYU's career scoring record, held by Danny Ainge for 30 years, and sparked the Cougars to their first trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 since the Ainge era in 1981.
"It was really fun playing with Jimmer," he said. "Just by what he brought to the program, the hype and recognition and how he really changed the scene around BYU and the basketball program. He brought it to a whole new level."
Hartsock, a psychology major, took mental notes during Fredette's time, knowing his time to lead would begin with Fredette's departure.
"I learned a lot about patience and teamwork," Hartsock said. "I saw nights when Jimmer would struggle, but his teammates were able to help him out. Even when you are the leading scorer, you still have to rely on your teammates."
The 6-foot-8-inch Hartsock is no stranger to scoring. He averaged 27.6 points and was the third-highest scorer in Oklahoma during his senior season at Bartlesville High School.
His BYU career began in 2008-09, when he averaged 2.4 points over 27 games. His average rose to 6.5 in 30 starts as a sophomore, and last season, while Fredette was sizzling at 28.9 points per game, Hartsock contributed 8.6 in 36 starts.
Hartsock has elevated his game, leading the Cougars with a 17.3-point average in 18 starts and helping them to a 14-4 record, 3-1 in the West Coast Conference. He's third on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and is an 81 percent free-throw shooter. The WCC honored Hartsock as its Player of the Month for December.
"I knew coming in this year I would have more responsibility," he said. "Playing over in Greece during the summer and the confidence of playing the last three years has helped me."
Scorers always have surrounded BYU coach Dave Rose. During his college playing days, Rose started alongside future NBA stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and got to the 1983 NCAA championship game as part of Houston's famed Phi Slama Jama squad.
In six seasons, Rose has guided BYU to at least 20 wins each season and five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He won three Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Along the way, Rose has developed significant offensive weapons, including all-conference players Keena Young (2004 to 2007), who scored 1,068 career points, Lee Cummard (2005-09) with 1,569, and Fredette (2007-11) with his school-record 2,599.
Hartsock is edging closer to the 1,000-point range with 927, which comes as no surprise to Rose.
"The keys for these guys have been developing their game while having patience. They have gradually worked into that scoring role," Rose said. "(Hartsock's) ability to score has always been there, but he's had to sacrifice that the last few years."
Rose is getting more than just points and rebounds from Hartsock, whose wife, Kendalyn, plays for the BYU volleyball team. He is fourth in school history with 154 blocked shots and needs 13 to surpass Russell Larsen for No. 3 on the list.
"He's tough. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there and be physical. He likes to be engaged," Rose said. "I think his nose has either been broken or relocated five or six times. Some days in practice his nose looks like it's going sideways, and the next day it's back in place. They just keep readjusting it."
■ QUICK TURNAROUND -- The Cougars will play two games in three days for the first time as members of the WCC.
BYU hosts Santa Clara on Saturday in a game to air at 5 p.m. PST on ESPNU (Cox 320). The Cougars then travel to San Diego to face the Toreros on Monday, in a 7 p.m. game on BYUtv (Cox 352).
The Cougars routed San Diego, 88-52, in Provo, Utah, on New Year's Eve.
Dave McCann is a morning news anchor on KLAS-TV (Channel 8). He hosts "True Blue" at 5 p.m. Monday on BYUtv and is the play-by-play voice for BYUtv. His BYU notes runs Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @davemccann8.