U of U Sports

Utah basketball: Collette and Daniels practice, will be 'game-time decisions' for Pac-12 Tournament

First Published      Last Updated Mar 08 2017 02:54 pm

Las Vegas • While Coach Larry Krystkowiak has yet to commit to whether David Collette and Devon Daniels will play in Thursday’s Pac-12 Tournament opener, indications are strong that the 4-seeded Utes (20-10, 11-7) will be at full strength this week.

Krystkowiak called both players "game time decisions" for the quarterfinal match-up at T-Mobile Arena against either Cal or Oregon State. But he acknowledged both practiced Wednesday — including Daniels, who has been serving an indefinite suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team" that has spanned three games.

Collette exited Utah’s last game, a 67-59 win over Stanford, in the first half after suffering an apparent blow to the head. He’s missed games earlier in the season with concussion symptoms.

The Utes have won three straight, but could use the services of Collette (13.7 ppg) and Daniels (10.4 ppg) as they try to run the table and earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Junior forward Kyle Kuzma said he believed both would play this week.

"I don’t see why not," he said. "Dave’s been practicing. We’re locked and loaded and ready to go."

Daniels addressed the media for the first time since his suspension began, not directly addressing why he’s been unable to play, but sounding contrite.

"I just had to handle some things, grow up a little bit," he said. "I just took it on the chin and became a better man from this. I just had to take care of some things."

His comments seemed to reflect Krystkowiak’s own last weekend, when he said of Daniels: "Certain things have to change, and he knows that."

Daniels said watching the Utes win without him has been humbling. He did "a lot of running" and other conditioning to stay in shape. He wants to play.

"They’re playing really good right now," he said. "I’m happy. I think they have a really good flow going, and I hope I can help."

Utah practiced at Coronado High School on Wednesday morning, enjoying a bye. Utah will practice at T-Mobile Arena for the first time on Thursday morning during a 30-minute shootaround before the game at 3:30 p.m. MST. Krystkowiak called it a positive that the Utes had brought Daniels back — at least in practice.

"We got another body, another physical body," Krystkowiak said. "It’s great."

Twitter: @kylegoon