I think for us, if you make the commitment that (foreign recruiting) is going to be the core of your program, then you'll overlook a lot of good players who are here. The bottom line is you have just 13 scholarships and to get foreign guys here, sometimes they come in twos and threes. —Coach Dave Rose
PROVO — When Dave Rose recruits players with passports and visas, it is a unique move because it is not the core of his recruiting philosophy at BYU.
The foreign player has always found a place with the Cougars, from Yugoslav Hall of Famer Kresimir Cosic, Finns Kari Limo and Timo Saarelainen to Brazil's Rafael Araujo and Jonathan Tavernari.
Recruiting international players, however, isn't the centerpiece of the program Rose is trying to build, even if BYU's ties with LDS Church contacts and BYUtv's audience stretch to many corners of the globe.
This past week, BYU did sign two junior college recruits who are natives of foreign countries.
It isn't his core plan, but he just did so.
Sharpshooter Raul Delgado is a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, by way of Springville and Western Nebraska Community College. Power forward Agustin Ambrosino is from Cordoba, Argentina, where he played for a season at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla., before going to Salt Lake Community College.
These players are part of BYU's junior college plan, rather than an exercise in obtaining a foreign product.
WCC rival St. Mary's College, however, is making foreign recruiting part of their strategy and has done so for years. Star Gael point guard Matt Dellavedova is from Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. Center Matt Hodgson is from Booval, Queensland, Australia, and three other roster players are from the "Land Down Under" where Utah found No. 1 NBA pick Andrew Bogut and Luke Neville.
SMC's Randy Bennett hired a former Gael player, a native of Australia, Adam Caporn, who played for the Australian Institute of Sport, several Australian professional teams and his country's national team.
Last year, New Mexico signed a pair of Australians, Hugh Greenwood and Cameron Bairstow. They came as a pair. Remember Lobo Aussie Luc Longley? Foreign aid does work. In the 2011 NBA first round draft, nine athletes were from foreign soil, including the Jazz's No. 3 pick, Enes Kanter (Turkey).
Is Bennett going to stop recruiting Australia? "I don't think so," said Rose (laughing). "They have a guy on their staff who has played over there and they have a great connection. They've had great success and that's the core of their program. They recruit two countries."
Rose explains his core philosophy in recruiting.
"I think there is always an opportunity for foreign players here and we've been very successful with the ones we have.
"I think for us, if you make the commitment that (foreign recruiting) is going to be the core of your program, then you'll overlook a lot of good players who are here. The bottom line is you have just 13 scholarships and to get foreign guys here, sometimes they come in twos and threes.
"Our commitment has been local. We've done a great job with local players and I think we've done a great job of recruiting the LDS player nationally.
"Then we've kind of mixed in junior college and international players and I think we'll continue to do that."
Prime examples of that philosophy are recent commitments from Lone Peak underclassmen Nick Emery and T.J. Haws, two LDS stars who have made a splash nationally in AAU basketball against elite competition.
Since joining Steve Cleveland at BYU in 1997, acting as BYU's recruiting coordinator or head coach, Rose has signed six recruits with the honor of Utah Mr. Basketball. They include Garner Meads, Jared Jensen, Jackson Emery, Tyler Haws (2008 and 2009) and Kyle Collinsworth.
The 2011 NCAA Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette, fit the Rose model of going after a top LDS player from New York.
Tyler Haws just returned from an LDS mission to the Philippines on Thursday and is expected to step in where he left off as a productive player who fills up a stat sheet for the Cougars.
Rose is in the hunt for Chicago's 6-foot-8 Simeon Career Academy star Jabari Parker, who, on Friday, was named the National Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. Only four other underclassmen have received that honor, including LeBron James, Greg Oden and Brandon Knight. Parker is active in LDS seminary and a member of the Hyde Park Ward in Chicago.
Who knows how good this week's signees are for BYU.
It will be interesting to see how Delgado and Ambrosino fit in the mix in coming seasons.