Larry Krystkowiak

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Utah signs guard Devante Doutrive, plans to redshirt

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah has signed shooting guard Devante Doutrive to a letter of intent. He plans to redshirt during the 2017-18 season.

The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder from Woodland Hills, California, averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.7 steals and won a state title at Birmingham High School last season.

Doutrive was ranked a four-star prospect by Scout and ESPN. Scout reported he received offers from Oregon, Arizona State, Gonzaga and UTEP.

Utah lost four of its top six scorers from the 2016-17 season. Kyle Kuzma was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers No. 27 overall in the NBA Draft and Lorenzo Bonam graduated. Devon Daniels and JoJo Zamora both left the program.

The Utes open the season by hosting Prairie View A&M on Nov. 10.

Utah’s Krystkowiak reveals he had cancerous thyroid removed

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Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak had surgery this spring to remove his thyroid after cancer was discovered in it, he revealed Monday during his coach’s radio show, according to the Deseret News.

“I had my thyroid taken out this spring,” Krystkowiak said. “Found some cancer in it.”

Krystkowiak made light of the situation, mentioning it contributed to some weight game.

“It’s OK if I skip a meal from time to time,” he said. “I gotta watch the midsection. That’s one of the byproducts of not having a thyroid. I guess you get a little chunky.”

Krystkowiak, who has been at Utah since 2011, and the Utes are currently 6-1 with their lone loss coming to Butler. They travel to face Xavier on Saturday.

Report: senior forward Ogbe transferring from Utah

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Utah now has one less option in their perimeter rotation, as 6-foot-6 wing Kenneth Ogbe has reportedly decided to transfer. News of Ogbe’s decision to leave the Pac-12 program was first reported by CBSSports.com.

After serving as a reserve in each of his first two seasons playing for Larry Krystkowiak, Ogbe had to deal with a groin injury during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Ogbe played in just five games last season as a result of the recurring issue, averaging 5.2 points per contest in those appearances in non-conference play.

With Utah bringing in multiple perimeter players expected to earn minutes in 2016-17, including junior college transfers Jojo Zamora and Tim Coleman and freshman Devon Daniels, getting playing time after sitting out most of last season due to injury appeared to be a tough battle for Ogbe in 2016-17. As a result he joins Isaiah Wright as perimeter players who have decided to leave Utah since the end of the season, with the Runnin’ Utes also losing an possible starter in forward Brekkott Chapman via the transfer route.

Utah has some significant departures to address, most notably lottery pick Jakob Poeltl with Brandon Taylor, Jordan Loveridge and Dakarai Tucker all out of eligibility. But they don’t lack for talent, with the aforementioned newcomers joining returnees such as guard Lorenzo Bonam and forward Kyle Kuzma.

Utah also adds forwards David Collette and Jayce Johnson to the rotation, with Collette sitting out last season after transferring in from Utah State and Johnson being a mid-year enrollee after graduating high school a semester early.

In-state rivals BYU, Utah to meet again in 2017

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The series between BYU and Utah has been an intense one, with the two programs meeting a total of 257 times with the Cougars holding a slim 129-128 advantage. But after last season’s meeting, a comfortable Utah win mired by the ejection of BYU’s Nick Emery for striking guard Brandon Taylor late in the second half, threatened the future of the series.

Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak wanted to call a halt to things, and sure enough it was announced in January that the Cougars and Runnin’ Utes wouldn’t play each other during the 2016-17 season. But the “break” will only last one season, as Utah announced Thursday that the two teams will meet in Provo during the 2017-18 season.

Athletic director Chris Hill stated in a release that also announced non-conference series with Butler and Xavier set to begin this season that the game will be played in either November or December 2017.

Hopefully the one-year hiatus will be the only hiccup in this series, one that began way back in 1909 and managed to endure changes such as the run of conference realignment that landed Utah in the Pac-12 and BYU in the WCC. As for those games against Butler (November 28) and Xavier (December 10), Utah will host the Bulldogs and visit the Musketeers this season with the return games for both series to be played during the 2017-18 season.

News of the resumption of the BYU/Utah series was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah beats California in OT, advances to first-ever Pac-12 title game

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When hired as Utah head coach in 2011, Larry Krystkowiak took on what at the time was a monumental task. The program, which finished below .500 in each of the two seasons prior to Krystkowiak’s arrival, was making the move from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 and a lot of work needed to be done to ensure that the program would not only be competitive in its new home but successful as well.

That first team won just six games, but Krystkowiak and his staff steadily rebuilt the Utah program, and last season the Runnin’ Utes made their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2005. Late Friday night Utah took another step forward, as they advanced to the Pac-12 tournament title game for the first time in program’s brief history in the conference with an 82-78 overtime win over No. 3 seed California.

Lorenzo Bonam’s coast to coast drive for a layup that left his hand just before time expired pushed the game into overtime, and in the extra session the Runnin’ Utes were able to grab control of the game and hold off the Golden Bears in the end.

Last year’s team had a first round draft pick in Delon Wright, and this year’s group is anchored by a projected lottery pick in sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl’s ability to not only score from 15 feet and in but also find open teammates makes him a tough matchup. And with this being the case, Cal made the decision to defend him straight up as opposed to sending double teams on the catch or first dribble.

As a result Poeltl finished the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds, outplaying the Golden Bear front line. What helped Cal was the fact that Utah shot just 7-for-21 from three, and fellow forward Kyle Kuzma had a quiet night with just five points. But Bonam added 18 points, and senior Brandon Taylor adding 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field.

Both teams found the going tough at times offensively, with Cal’s Jaylen Brown shooting 3-for-17 from the field and fellow freshman Ivan Rabb being held in check until he made a couple key shots late in regulation. But in the extra session it was Utah that executed well enough to get the shots they needed to pick up the win. That goes hand in hand with the questions some have asked regarding the Golden Bears’ ability to finish close games against quality competition.

Cal’s done a very good job of this at home, where they finished the season undefeated, but that hasn’t carried over into games away from home. There was the loss at Virginia in December, and the collapse at Arizona just last week. Of course there’s no shame in losing to a Virginia, Arizona or Utah, but given the talent and the teams they’ll need to beat in order to make a run deep into the NCAA tournament Cal needs to get better in tight situations.

While Cal will return home to get ready for the NCAA tournament, Utah will look to come up with a strategy that can be successful against an Oregon team that swept the season series. And in Utah’s fifth season as a member of the Pac-12, a win over the Ducks would be a watershed moment for a program that has steadily developed into one capable of sustaining (and building upon) this success for years to come.

 

No. 22 Utah builds 30-2 lead in 81-46 rout of Arizona State

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Brekkott Chapman had 15 points and No. 22 Utah blitzed Arizona State 81-46 on Thursday night, scoring the first 15 points of the game and opening a 30-2 lead on the way to its fifth straight victory.

Jordan Loveridge added 14 points, Brandon Taylor had 12 and Dakarai Tucker scored 10 for Utah, which plays its final two regular-season games at home, against Arizona and Colorado.

The Utes (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12), just a half-game back of first-place Oregon, made their first five 3-point attempts, including three by Loveridge, to jump out to a 15-0 lead.

Obinna Oleka scored for ASU, but Utah went on to score another 15 consecutive points. The eye-popping 30-2 lead produced some remarkable statistics: The Sun Devils started 1 for 16 from the field with four shots blocked and had 10 turnovers to go along with that single basket.