Renan Lenz and the Utes are ready for the season to begin
Nov. 4, 2013
Match-up: Utah Runnin' Utes vs. Evergreen State Geoducks
Date: Friday, Nov. 8
Tipoff: 6 p.m.
Location: Salt Lake City
Arena: Jon M. Huntsman Center
Play-by-Play: Rich Cellini
Analyst: Dan Dickau
Utah Sports Radio Network
ESPN 700 AM
Play-by-Play: Bill Riley
Analyst: Jimmy Soto
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Preseason News and Notes
• Utah men's basketball dominated its exhibition contest against Saint Martin's, winning convincingly 91-54.
• Utah shot 53 percent, was a +19 on the glass and went to the free-throw line 45 times.
• Renan Lenz tied for the team lead with eight rebounds to go along with nine points. Sophomore Brandon Taylor chipped in with nine points and Ahmad Fields, another freshman, came off the bench to tally eight.
Due to late-season success and an exhilarating tournament run, Utah men's basketball feels that the foundation has been laid for an exciting and prosperous 2013-14 campaign.
"Year one was about survival, year two was about competing and this season, we expect to take it to the next level," Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I think we have improved in a bunch of different areas. Our size, skill and versatility are all areas that we have greatly improved."
After capturing two postseason victories for the first time since 2009 en route to its first Pac-12 tournament semifinal berth, Utah has added seven newcomers to a sophomore nucleus consisting of Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor, Dakarai Tucker and Jeremy Olsen.
"Our depth was another area of concern last year and we addressed that in the offseason, Krystkowiak added. "If you combine that with all of our conditioning in the offseason, then you can expect a quicker pace with more athleticism this season. We are committed to pressure this year. We want to put heat on teams."
Jordan Loveridge impressed in his first year with the Utes finishing in the top 10 in the league in rebounding and top 25 in scoring. He put the rest of college basketball on notice from the get-go as he grabbed a double-double in his first collegiate game The versatile forward also shot 39 percent from three-point land, good for seventh in the league.
Brandon Taylor took over the point guard spot midway through the season. He burst on the scene with 19 points and a season-high six assists in Utah's first Pac-12 road win in program history at Washington. From there, he started every game and finished second in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting.
Dakarai Tucker scored a career-high in his first collegiate outing and earned valuable experience by playing in 25 games as a true freshman. Lenz, the lone senior on this year's outfit, played in all but one game after transferring in from Arizona Western College and started a couple contests at power forward for the Utes.
Olsen and Bachynski each returned from LDS missions and contributed right away for the Utes. Olsen played in 21 of the team's final 22 games last season while Bachynski was a starter during non-conference play, notching a 22-point, 16-rebound performance.
Utah added some talented new players to the roster that should be able to contribute immediately and have a profound impact on the team this season. Delon Wright, was named the his conference's player of the year after leading San Francisco City College to a 26-2 record and the California State Championship as a freshman.
Kenneth Ogbe hails from Germany where he played in one of the country's top leagues. He was a member of the German national squad that participated in the Nike Global Challenge and German High School National Championships.
Ahmad Fields and Parker Van Dyke are also backcourt additions for the Utes Fields averaged 17 points per game at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia and then suited up for DC Assault, one of the most renowned AAU programs in the country. Van Dyke is a local product and was the 4A Player of the Year according to the Salt Lake Tribune after leading the state in scoring with 24.7 points per game.
In the post, Utah brought in two players, Marko Kovacevic and Princeton Onwas. Onwas earned a reputation as being one of the most explosive wings in the junior college ranks earning All-Region honors at Navarro College. Kovacevic was among the leading rebounders and most efficient shooters in NJCAA Region IX.
Ogbe Shines, Eight Players Reach Double Figures in Intra-Squad Scrimmage
Eight players reached double digits as the Red Team topped the White Team 70-66 during the annual Night with the Runnin' Utes
After an evenly played first half, the score was tied 41-41. Four players scored in double figures with newcomer Kenneth Ogbe leading the way with 14. Returnees Jordan Loveridge, Dakarai Tucker and Brandon Taylor all reached double digits during the first stanza.
In a time-shortened second half, the score was tied at 66 with 1:25 on the clock. The Red Team drained two shots in the final minute to pass the White Team for a final score of 70-66.
Ogbe ended the night with 21 points, making 8-of-9 shots from the field going 3-of-3 from three-point range, to lead both Ute squads in scoring. Senior Renan Lenz added 13 points to the mix, as junior transfer Delon Wright led the Utes in rebounds (9), while also chipping in with 11 points.
The 2013-14 Schedule
The Runnin' Utes will play 11 of their 12 non-conference games in the Jon M. Huntsman Center with the only road trip occurring on Dec. 3 at Boise State. Utah will host an early-season tournament around Thanksgiving for the second-straight year entertaining Division 1 newcomer Grand Canyon, Lamar and Savannah State.
November closes with a home contest against Ball State, where the late Rick Majerus coached from 1987-89. Another key contest for many will be the Deseret First Duel against BYU on Dec. 14.
The Runnin' Utes are scheduled to open league play in 2014 with reigning Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon and Oregon State on Jan. 2 and Jan. 4, respectively. Following their first conference road trip, Utah returns home for showdowns against the So Cal squads, USC and UCLA.
The second half of league play begins when Washington and Washington State visit Salt Lake City the first week of February. The Utes' longest homestand happens at the end of the season when Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado make visits to the Huntsman Center.
The Pac-12 Tournament is set for March 12-15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
2012-13 was a Banner Year in the Classroom
Utah was one of 23 Division 1 schools to earn a NABC Team Academic Excellence Award and one of only six "power conference" programs to receive the award joining Kentucky, Louisville, Stanford, Texas and Texas Tech. The Utes also had the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate of any team in the Pac-12.
Four players, David Foster, Renan Lenz, Ryan Osterloh and Xan Ricketts were recognized for their hard work in the classroom and named to the NABC Honors Court. The men's basketball team also had more than 50 percent of its team make the honor roll and posted a team GPA of 3.235.
Huntsman Center History
The Runnin' Utes are 543-145 (.789) all-time in their current home, the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah's benchmark 500th win in the 42-year old facility came on Dec. 6, 2008, as the Utes posted a 91-61 blowout of eventual Southeastern Conference champion LSU.
Utah finished 11-7 at home last season and has finished with a winning record in 38 of the 29 seasons played at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, the largest arena in the Pac-12.
In conference home games over the last 18 years, Utah is 140-34 (.805). Utah got its first Pac-12 victory in school history at home against Washington State, 62-60, in overtime on Jan. 5, 2012.
Utes to Play 29 Live Televised Regular-Season Games
Utah will play 29 live televised games this year, including every conference contest and each game played in the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Runnin' Utes will appear on the Pac-12 Network 23 times in the regular season. Utah will also play on Fox Sports 1 three times, ESPNU twice and make one appearance on CBS Sports Netwwork.
The 2013-14 Pac-12 Conference basketball television package features an unprecedented 221 men's contests telecast to national and regional audiences. The Pac-12 men's basketball package includes 150 games aired on the Pac-12 Networks, 45 on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, 25 games on Fox Sports 1 (including the Pac-12 Tournament championship game), and one nationally on CBS. Additional appearances will be made through other conference television agreements and various in-season tournaments.