With Brandon Taylor being a senior and Lorenzo Bonam a junior, Utah was in a position where they could use an addition at the point with the future in mind. Wednesday afternoon Larry Krystkowiak’s program accomplished that, as former SMU point guard Sedrick Barefield committed to transferring to Utah.
Barefield didn’t see much playing time (five games, 16 minutes) in his one semester at SMU, which is understandable given the fact that the Mustangs have one of the nation’s best point guards in senior Nic Moore. Ranked 128th in the Class of 2015 out of high school by Rivals.com, Barefield can both score and distribute the basketball from the point guard position, and he’s a talented addition to a roster that will have some holes to fill on the perimeter at the end of this season.
In addition to Taylor, Utah will also lose Dakarai Tucker and Jordan Loveridge at the end of this season. Barefield is the third perimeter commitment in Utah’s 2016 class, joining Devon Daniels and Yuba College guard Jojo Zamora. Also in that class is talented power forward/center Jayce Johnson, who’s enrolled at Utah and will redshirt this season, and former Utah State forward David Collette transferred to Utah as well.
It should be noted that Collette, who was one of the Mountain West’s best players last season, has yet to officially join the Utah program. Barefield will be eligible to play at the end of the 2016 fall semester.
In early December in-state rivals BYU and Utah played for the 257th time, with the Runnin’ Utes winning by the final score of 83-75 in Salt Lake City. Of course the game wasn’t without controversy, as BYU guard Nick Emery was ejected for striking Utah’s Brandon Taylor in the face late in the second half. Emery was given a one-game suspension for his actions, and it appeared as if there was a ready-made subplot for next season’s game in Provo.
Only one problem: the two teams won’t be playing. Wednesday afternoon BYU announced that Utah has decided to cancel next season’s game, and it remains to be seen if the teams will play again any time soon.
“I disagree with the decision,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said in the release. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.”
Rose had more to say about the matter addressing the media Wednesday evening, reiterating his displeasure with Utah’s decision to pay a financial penalty to get out of the game.
“The rivalry is pretty heated. We’ve had some interesting moments over the years,” Rose said. “I’ve been involved in it for 18 years, and that’s a lot of the excitement of the game. You don’t want things to get out of hand, but in rivalry games things tend to get pretty heated at times. I don’t think that, from my point of view, the safety of the players is an issue.”
Next season’s game was scheduled to be played in Provo, and Rose added in his comments that in his opinion the game would still be on if it were to be played at Utah.
Utah landed one of its top targets in the Class of 2016 Wednesday night, as Prolific Prep (Napa, California) shooting guard Devon Daniels announced his decision via Twitter. Daniels, who’s from Kalamazoo, Michigan, transferred to Prolific Prep ahead of his senior season, and among his teammates are five-star guard Josh Jackson and recent UConn commit Vance Jackson.
The 6-foot-5 Daniels is essentially Utah’s third commitment in the Class of 2016. While recent commit Jayce Johnson will join the program as a walk-on in December, he’ll be redshirting with the 2016-17 campaign serving as his debut season. Junior college guard Jojo Zamora has also verbally committed to Utah.
Daniels’ recruiting profile rose in the month of July, which he capped with a championship at the Las Vegas Fab 48 playing alongside Jackson for the 1Nation grassroots program. Daniels took his official visit to Utah in early September, and DePaul was also in the running for his verbal commitment. Daniels’ versatility on offense and solid defense were on display then, and those are attributes that Utah can reap the benefits of when he arrives on campus.
Utah has three seniors in its perimeter rotation in Brandon Taylor, Dakarai Tucker and Jordan Loveridge. Among the current perimeter players who will have eligibility remaining when Daniels and Zamora arrive on campus are juniors Kenneth Ogbe and Lorenzo Bonam, and sophomores Isaiah Wright and Brandon Miller.
Video credit: Next Up Recruits