- Associated Press - Friday, November 10, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - BYU guard Nick Emery has withdrawn from school amid an investigation into the junior receiving improper benefits from a booster.

The school said in a release Friday that it is working with the NCAA regarding Emery’s eligibility.

The Cougars have now lost two of their top three scorers from last season.

“Unfortunately, I am mentally not where I need to be in order to perform in basketball and in school this year,” Emery said in the release. “As it has been made known, I went through a divorce this year and it has been really difficult for me. I have confidence that I will come back stronger and better. I have every intention on coming back to BYU and representing Cougar nation on the basketball floor.”

BYU and the NCAA are investigating whether a booster paid for Emery to travel to concerts and an amusement park and gave him a new car to use. BYU has released few details about the investigation but said in statements that it contacted the NCAA after receiving some kind of information and has hired a law firm that’s familiar with violations of NCAA rules to run their probe.

“Nick’s personal well-being is my No. 1 concern right now,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “He’s going through a very difficult time, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about what he needs to do to be able to move forward. We both feel like the best thing for him is to take time off before continuing with his basketball career.

“As coaches and his teammates, we want what is best for Nick, and we know he has a great family that will help him navigate this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming him back at BYU soon.”

Social media posts show Emery, 23, has traveled to Toronto and Southern California with Brandon Tyndall, an executive at travel company Fun For Less Tours and member of BYU’s booster organization, the Cougar Club. Emery has also been driving a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta leased by Tyndall.

NCAA rules bar student-athletes from receiving money and other benefits from boosters. Athletes who have been found to violate the rules can be put on probation and lose scholarships. Teams can be penalized as well, even if coaches weren’t aware of the behavior.

Tyndall denies wrongdoing by either man. He says Emery has paid for the travel and documents showing that have been provided to the NCAA.

Emery served as a captain in 2016-17 and was third on the team with 13.1 points per game and second with 75 3-pointers. He was a much-anticipated four-star star recruit coming out of Lone Peak (Utah) High School and named to the All West-Coast Conference Freshman team. There were high expectations after BYU signed him and high school teammates Eric Mika and TJ Haws. Those three were the key members of the school’s 2012-13 national championship-winning team. Haws is the only one remaining after Mika left to play professionally during the offseason.

Emery was optimistic in early October and said he had grown up and was in a better mental place than his first two years.

As a freshman, he served a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at a Utah player during a game. Emery was caught on camera in March swearing and taunting opposing fans before the West Coast Conference tournament semifinal.

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