Utah basketball: Utes sign 3 new players
The transformation of Utah basketball has begun.
The Utes starved for size and athleticism on the perimeter signed three players on Wednesday afternoon with the intention of addressing both of those needs.
Point guard Kenneth Ogbe, shooting guard Ahmad Fields and small forward Princeton Onwas officially became a part of Larry Krystkowiak's rebuilding project. All are in the 6-foot-5/6-6 range. Each brings a different skill that makes his recruitment unique to what Utah wants to do next season.
"These three players all bring outstanding skill to our roster," Krystkowiak said on Wednesday. "They are all similarly blessed with great offensive and defensive attributes and are the types of players that can fit right into the Pac-12 style of play."
Wednesday marked the first day of the national spring signing period. In all, the Utes will enter the 2013/2014 season with seven new players. Unlike the past two years, Krystkowiak has been forced to beat out major competition for his new recruits.
Fields, out of Washington D.C., was courted by the likes of Miami, Ole Miss, Colorado and USC. Utah had to contend with Kansas State and Texas Christian for Onwas, who hails from Houston by way of Nigeria.
Ogbe became a big piece of the puzzle after the season. First spotted by assistant coach Andy Hill, the guard from Germany visited three weeks ago.
After impressing during pickup games with the team, Ogbe was a centerpiece from then on, with Krystkowiak flying to Germany this past weekend in order to secure his commitment.
Memphis, Xavier and Georgia Tech all expressed interest in Ogbe. He's drawn comparisons to 6-foot-6 Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who is being projected as a potential NBA Draft lottery pick in 2014.
He is expected to compete for the starting point guard spot with rising sophomore Brandon Taylor.
"Kenneth will be a valuable player in our backcourt," Krystkowiak said. "His size on the perimeter will help immensely on defense. He matches high-level skills with a great knowledge for the game."
BYU signs SLCC point guard Halford
BYU coach Dave Rose needs point guard help, and Wednesday he took steps toward filling that hole by signing Skyler Halford, a 6-foot-1 guard from Salt Lake Community College.
Halford played high school basketball at nearby Timpanogos and redshirted his first year at Utah State before serving an LDS Church mission in Brazil.
He played for the Bruins the past two seasons, earning NJCAA All-America First Team honors this past season. He was also the Region 18 Most Valuable Player and the Scenic West Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
"We are happy to announce that Skyler will be joining our program," Rose said in a news release. "He's coming off a superior sophomore season. ... We are excited for the versatility he brings to our guard line."
Halford averaged 17.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game for the Bruins in 2012-13 and shot .461 from the field and .393 from 3-point range.