Since winning just six game in his first season at Utah in 2011-12, head coach Larry Krystkowiak and his staff have slowly but surely strengthened the program. With the talent level being raised the Utes will enter the 2014-15 season as one of the teams with realistic hopes of returning the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2009 season.
On the recruiting trail a key for Utah moving forward will be their ability to keep talented in-state players home (junior Jordan Loveridge and freshman Brekkott Chapman are both Utah natives), and on Thursday the program received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-9 power forward Makol Mawien. Mawien announced his decision to remain in state via his Twitter account.
Mawien, who attends Granger High School in West Valley City, Utah, is the second verbal commitment in the Class of 2015 with 6-foot-5 wing Noah Togiai (he’s also from West Valley City but attended Hunter HS last year) being the other. And in a story written by Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune, Mawien (who was born in Egypt) touched on his desire to remain close to home for his college years.
“I think I’ll succeed here, and I think staying home will be the best for me,” he said “I like their style, I like Coach K, and he’s a good coach. I think it will be a great place to play.”
Mawien is a front court player who can help Utah defensively, as he performed well on that end of the floor during last month’s LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas. Adding Mawien to the picture gives the Utes some additional depth on the interior moving forward, with Dallin Bachynski entering his senior season and Jeremy Olsen being a redshirt junior.