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Utah basketball notes: Rotation spots still to be settled

Published October 29, 2013 3:56 pm

Utah basketball • The Utes open their season Nov. 8 against Evergreen State.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Three spots in Larry Krystkowiak's rotation pretty much are settled. Jordan Loveridge, Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor figure to weigh heavily into Utah's season, for better or worse.

The picture gets a little cloudy after that. The coaches must make a few decisions concerning two spots on the floor heading into the Utes' exhibition Friday night. Pinceton Onwas and Dakarai Tucker are vying for minutes at small forward, while Renan Lenz and Jeremy Olsen are battling at center.

"I think we're trying to figure out who meshes better where," Krystkowiak said. "It's a good problem to have. We have a few options now, as opposed to last year where sometimes we only had one answer at a particular spot."

With the start of the regular season a little more than a week away, even the players who don't start will be in the regular rotation off the bench. Tucker is the better shooter at small forward, while Onwas is the better defender and athlete. At center, Olsen is the best offensive big man on the team, while Lenz is much improved on both ends from last season.

Tucker's been getting many of the first-team reps at one spot, while the reps with the starters have fluctuated at center.

Krystkowiak said he plans on going eight or nine deep this season.

Interesting rotation

Utah practiced extensively with a small lineup Monday. Wright and Taylor were the guards, Tucker and Onwas played the forward spots, while Loveridge went at center. At 6-foot-6, Loveridge hardly is big enough to deal with Pac-12 centers defensively.

But Krystkowiak wanted to see how that five rotated and how good they were at stopping a traditional lineup from scoring.

Missing Marko

Junior center Marko Kovacevic, who is nursing an injured wrist, is the lone player not healthy entering the season.

"We need to add another big to the mix," Krystkowiak said. "He will add competition for playing time, and he will allow us to give Jeremy and Renan some break time during practice."

The Friday play

Utah will play on four consecutive Fridays beginning this week.

The streak will culminate with a matchup against Lamar on the second night of the Utah Classic.

tjones@sltrib.comTwitter: @tjonessltrib —