Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

BYU Fans Are Back.(Sports)

Byline: Mark Smith Journal Staff Writer

Cleveland Sells, Wins

PROVO, Utah Recruiting never had been a problem for Steve Cleveland. In seven years at Fresno City College, Cleveland was able to attract more than his share of talented basketball players to a school he led to a 157-77 record.

But when Cleveland took over as head coach of a dismal Brigham Young program four years ago, he knew things would be tough for a while especially in the recruiting wars.

Landing athletes, however, wasn't Cleveland's immediate worry. It was enticing fans to the 22,700-seat Marriott Center.

"When you start the process, you hope and dream you can be competitive again," says Cleveland, who inherited a 1-25 Cougars bunch in 1997. "You try to get the fans behind you and get them excited about basketball. But it requires a degree of faith because you don't know when it'll happen. Last year, we set the foundation of getting people excited about BYU basketball again. Now we're having good success at home."

The Marriott Center crowd now is one of the best in the Mountain West Conference. New Mexico (13-5, 3-2) will find that out late this afternoon when it visits the Cougars (15-6, 4-2). …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.