- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Brandon Davies is not just here in spirit for No. 8 BYU. He’s here in person.

The sophomore center who was suspended for violating the school’s honor code by reportedly having sex with his girlfriend accompanied his teammates to the Mountain West Conference tournament.

“He’s as big a part of this team as anyone on this team,” senior guard Jackson Emery said Wednesday after a workout that was witnessed by Davies. “He screwed up. We’ve all screwed up in our individual ways. But it’s good to have him here. He’s helped us get to this part of the year and it’s a big confidence boost to know that he’s on the bench supporting us and not somewhere else.”

Cougars coach Dave Rose said bringing Davies along was the right thing to do.

“I just think it’s important for his teammates,” Rose said. “There’s not a message. This is about our team. We decided to bring him because we thought it would be good for both of us.”

“He’s a continuing student right now,” Rose said when asked what Davies‘ role was.

Rose said he’s not decided, however, whether Davies would accompany the Cougars in the NCAA tournament.

“Yet to be determined,” Rose said.

After his suspension, Davies didn’t attend the Cougars’ next game, a loss to New Mexico. But he was on the end of the bench in street clothes when the Cougars beat Wyoming to clinch a share of the conference crown and earn the top seed in this, their final MWC tournament before bolting to the West Coast Conference.

“It’s great. He’s been with us all year and even if he is not playing his presence is still there,” junior Charles Abouo said. “He’s a teammate, he’s one of my best friends. Having him there against Wyoming, it was good to see him on the bench. We had all the familiar faces and it felt like our team was complete even if he wasn’t on the court.”

Jimmer Fredette, the nation’s leading scorer, said it’s comforting having Davies around “just because he’s like a brother to us.”

“He’s been there through the good times, the bad times, the summer workouts, he’s been there through everything,” Fredette said. “So, it’s great to have him in there and knowing that we’re still going to support him and it’s a tough time for him more than us. So, we’re looking forward to supporting him.

“People make mistakes. That’s what happens and you just move forward from it.”

Davies‘ future at BYU and with the basketball program will be determined in the coming weeks, but his return to the team even in a limited capacity seems to indicate that both sides would be amenable to a reunion.

The Cougars (28-3) fell from third to eighth in the rankings after Davies‘ suspension a week ago. Against New Mexico, 6-foot-10 center James Anderson replaced Davies, but Rose started freshman Kyle Collinsworth against Wyoming, essentially going with a four-guard lineup in a 102-78 rout.

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