Utah Basketball: Runnin’ Utes welcome eight newcomers, start training

After a somewhat disappointing first season at the helm of the University of Utah men’s basketball program last year, coach Craig Smith Promise a bigger, stronger, and tougher range of Runnin’ Utes in 2022-23.

The second-year coach revealed his new squad to the media on Monday in the first pre-season training camp, and he was It quickly becomes clear that Smith has kept his promise. Whether these guys, a group of eight newcomers, can improve on last year’s record 11-20, 4-16 in Pac-12, remains to be seen.

It’s a good group,” Smith said before training on Monday. “It’s a team with a much different look, more physical, and more athletic.”

Look no further than the best player on the team, therefore.

“I mean, if you watch our training, we’re a lot bigger, a lot stronger, a lot faster. So if you look at the games last year, the ones we lost, it’s like we’ve been bullied throughout the game. I don’t feel like that’s going to be a factor this year.” – Senior Utah Marco Anthony.

He spent a lot of time in the weightlifting room over the summer with strength coach Logan Ogden, and that was evident when he spoke with reporters, Branden Carlson, chief mediator, said.

“Last season was crazy, with appendicitis and Covid,” he said. “I was up and down my weight. By the end of the season, I was 205 pounds. Now I’m back at 225, 226.”

His senior teammate Marco Anthony – the only player on this year’s roster who will run out of eligibility at the end of the season, due to an “extra year” from COVID – looks like he could start as the linebacker in the NFL now. It is like this.

Physical for sure, Anthony said when asked what was the most different about this year’s Runnin’ Utes. “I mean, if you watch our training, we’re a lot bigger, a lot stronger, a lot faster.

“If you look at the matches last year, the ones we lost, it’s like we’ve been bullied throughout the match,” he continued. “I don’t feel like that will be a factor this year.”

Like last year, Utah opened the season against nearby Westminster College on November 2. Long Island University visits the Huntsman Center on November 7. Major non-conference games include games at the Fort Myers (Florida) Tip-off Classic, a trip to Provo for the BYU Test on December 17, and a TCU Top 25 potential match at the Vivint Arena on December 21.

Smith said it is Happy with the non-conference schedule.

He is also pleased with the way the players have worked through the summer and into the fall so far.

“We’ve done a lot more team assignments than we usually do at this time of year, and that was clearly intentional with eight new players for our programme,” he said. “We do a few different things. Nothing crazy, but definitely a few different schemes with different employees. It was a great group to work with. It is a group that has an attitude that is eager to improve.”

Utah fans wondered all summer if Smith would offer his thirteenth and final scholarship, and to whom. He said Monday that although Utes will enter a season for the second year in a row with only 12 players on scholarship, it’s not a philosophical decision.

“Instead, it didn’t happen when we brought in another guy,” Smith said. “Now, something almost happened, but it didn’t. That’s how it goes. Getting scholarships, that’s very important, and we’ll always continue to do business with guys we feel like helping us get where we need to go. So, we’ll see. How it goes. It could be a mid-year shift, at this point.

“Maybe it will be given to someone who is currently in the team. We will see how it goes that way.

But it is not necessarily a philosophical thing. We’re not just going to fill it in to fill it up, are we? So I never believed in that before.”

One player who won’t get a scholarship, at least for now, is the transfer of BYU graduate Gavin Baxter, another 6-foot-9 player from Timpview High in Provo. Smith said the walker attended every workout and does a few individual exercises, but was not medically allowed to practice.

“Gavin was working very hard, he was working very hard,” Smith said. “And we hope that he will be acquitted in the next three or four weeks.”

Smith said Boston Holt was released from Junior College two weeks ago and resumed where he left off early last season before suffering an ACL injury.

Freshman Wilguens Exacte Jr. He wasn’t practicing on Monday, instead riding a stationary bike in the corner when practice started. Monday too, Utah secured a commitment from one of the 2024 class members, RSL Academy guard David Katoa.

“We’re a much different team, no doubt,” Smith said. “…we’ve been pretty healthy, in general, and especially this fall. This summer we’ve had a few things where we’ve had 10 and 11 guys. But we’re different. Maybe we can make more mistakes and cover up, just because we grab a little (more) fast.” We’re bigger… We’re so tall. We’re so much taller, and so many athletes.”

Just like he said they would be.

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