PRESTON — The basketball hoop with a white backboard attached to a cement pole in the driveway of his grandmother’s house helped lay the roots of Ty Hyde’s basketball career.
Hyde did not have a basketball hoop at home, so he grew up playing the sport at grandma's in Layton, Utah. Hyde spent many days and nights shooting despite having to play in the dark because there were no outside lights. Hyde recruited anyone to join him, challenging cousins during family get-togethers to games of H.O.R.S.E.
He also lowered the hoop so he could dunk. His brother brought out a chair for him to stand on, allowing Hyde to jam on the stiff rim. Like a finely-tuned conveyor belt, Hyde dunked as his brother rebounded and handed the ball back.
“That is where it all started,” Hyde said. “That hoop was something special.”
Ty has come a long way since his blacktop days. Instead of punishing the rim at his grandma’s house, Hyde bulldozed Idaho High School teams. The Preston junior was a key cog in the Indians’ success this season, helping the squad to a second-place finish at the 4A state tournament. Hyde is the Journal’s 2019 All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
The junior averaged 16.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game this season, scoring 10 points or more in 25 of 27 games, including a career-high 38 points against Pocatello.
“Ty loves to compete and loves to battle,” Preston coach Tyler Jones said. “He definitely plays with an edge. I think he really improved a lot this season. He had some huge games for us and was our most consistent player. ... He will give you 100% all the time.”
Hyde used his 6-foot-6 frame to punish defenders this season. The junior was the focal point of the offense, scoring with up-and-under and spin moves around the basket. Hyde worked on his post moves all summer, participating in open gyms at the high school and using the shooting machine.
The junior also took advantage of coach Jones’ willingness to open the gym for his players. Whether Jones sent out a text or a player reached out to Jones, they could count on getting time on the court.
“I’d call coach up at 8 in the morning, 7 in the morning, or 9 at night," Hyde said. “It didn’t matter. He answered the phone and would open the doors.”
Hyde put the work to good use and was a go-to scorer in his first varsity season as a starter. The Indians rode Hyde, playing inside-out offense and taking advantage of their sharpshooting guards. Preston won the 4A District 4-5 title before advancing to the state championship game against Idaho Falls.
The Indians came up short of winning their fourth consecutive 4A title, losing 66-57 in overtime to the Tigers. Hyde fouled out in the extra period after scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Hyde walked to the bench and sunk into a chair as his hands rested on top of his head.
Hyde’s iPhone lock screen is a picture of that moment on the bench, a constant reminder of how his 2018-19 campaign ended. The junior eyes a different result for his senior season.
“He was pretty devastated because the kids all had a goal,” Hyde’s father, Tom, said. “That goal was to win. I asked him, ‘Why do you have that picture? It’s sad.'” He told me he doesn’t want to feel that again.”