Believe it or not the college basketball practice season has begun. Wednesday afternoon Utah Men’s Basketball held their annual Media Day at the Huntsman Basketball Facility. Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak was joined by Sedrick Barefield, Parker Van Dyke, Donnie Tillman and Jayce Johnson to talk about the upcoming season.
I was able to catch up with both Johnson and Tillman for one on one interviews about the offseason and a look ahead, you can listen to them here and here. Tillman talked extensively about getting in better shape and dropping his body fat from 13% to 7.5%.
Krystkowiak addressed a number of issues regarding his team and things around his team at media day. You can catch the entire session with the media right here.
Krystkowiak also had some interesting comments about the relationship between his staff and that of the Utah Jazz, which has its own Utes Ties on it with Alex Jensen and Johnny Bryant…
— ESPN 700 (@ESPN700) September 26, 2018
What’s most intriguing to me and will take some time to discover and play itself out is the potential lineups and versatility that Krystkowiak and his staff will have this year. Utah, on paper, will have it’s most athletic and multi-positional roster of the LK Era. There will be more newcomers that will be counted on to contribute on the floor than returning contributors. The newcomers are all at different stages of their readiness to compete at Utah. Here are the newcomers.
1.Charles Jones-National Junior College Player of the Year at College of Southern Idaho last season. Tough, physical, scoring guard. Should start from Day 1.
2. Novak Topalovic-Grad Transfer from Idaho State. 7 Footer who should add depth off the bench or could start in a pinch.
3. Naseem Gaskin-Freshman Point Guard from Oakland. Playmaker/Scorer. Will likely be a rotation player early. Bright future.
4. Timmy Allen-Freshman Wing from Phoenix. Pac 12 Ready Wing Player. Tough Defender and Solid Shooter. Will compete for starters minutes.
5. Riley Battin-Freshman Power Forward from Oak Park, California. Scoring Front Court Player who can step out on the floor. Likely a rotation player early. Big Upside. Poor Man’s Kevin Love?
6. Vante Hendrix-Formerly known as Devante Doutrive. Sat out last season. Scoring/Shooting Guard. Will compete for starters minutes.
7. Lahat Thioune-Freshman from Senegal by way of Florida. Long, Athletic, Shot Blocker, Rebounder. Will add depth to the front court. Still very raw, with a big upside.
8. Both Gach-Freshman Wing Player. Native of Minnesota and Attended Prep School in Arizona. Versatile. Drawn comparisons to Delon Wright in style of play. Will be a rotation player.
Utah will have wide variety of line up combinations that they can roll out this season depending on opponent, match up and situation. Certainly any of it will depend on how the 8 newcomers mentioned above develop and pick up the system. I’ll take my crack at a few lineups below…It’s far too soon to tell on bench rotations, will need to see some practices first…
Barfield, Jones, Allen, Tillman, Johnson
Barefield, Jones, Hendrix, Tillman, Johnson
Barefield, Jones, Hendrix, Allen, Tillman
Barefield, Jones, Tillman, Topalovic, Johnson
Barefield, Jones, Van Dyke, Tillman, Battin