The explanations starting coming immediately following Kenneth Ogbe's performance on Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak simply said some guys perform better when the lights come on and there are people in the stands.
Ogbe said that he's been getting extra shots up after practice lately.
Whatever the reason, the 6-foot-6 freshman guard from Germany made quite the impression in the Night with the Runnin' Utes intrasquad scrimmage.
In the first official exposure to the public, Ogbe scored a game-high 21 points. He shot 8-9 from the field. He made all three of his attempts beyond the arc. He made the play of the night - going baseline and dunking in the face of junior forward Princeton Onwas.
His performance was shocking to almost all involved. Until this point, Ogbe's been a typical freshman. He's been good during some practices, not so good during others. He's always looked to make plays, but Wednesday night was the first time he's performed as well.
"He's always been aggressive in practice, but he hasn't always been this efficient," Krystkowiak said. "He's had some good moments, but he's been a little like a freshman. He's had days where he's looked very good and then days where he's been a little down. Now we know he can do it, so he's got to eliminate the down days. It's all about consistency."
Ogbe showed an almost entire offensive package on Wednesday night. He made shots from midrange. He got to the basket off the dribble. He finished with force at the rim, and he made shots from three-point land. He played all three perimeter positions and he looked like the best player on the floor for long stretches.
Krystkowiak said he made a case for minutes with his play. Ogbe's performance was the biggest eye-opener of the night for the coaching staff.
Here are some of the other standouts from the scrimmage.
* Delon Wright had the best all-around performance of the night. The junior guard scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, handed out six assists, stole the ball twice and blocked a shot. He's easily Utah's best perimeter player and a guy who creates offense for himself and others. On the downside, Wright picked up five personal fouls, many of the cheap variety on the perimeter.
"He's that kind of guy who can just fill the stat sheet," Krystkowiak said. "But he's got to play without fouling, or he won't be able to play."
Wright is the younger brother of Portland Trailblazer forward Dorell Wright. He's been around the game his entire life, and it shows in his maturity on the court. At 6-5, he will be one of the tallest point guards in the Pac-12, along with people like Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie (6-6) and Washington's Nigel Williams-Goss (6-4).
* Jordan Loveridge showed off his sleek new frame - He's lost 28 pounds in the offseason - by scoring 20 points. He's much better off the dribble and gets to the basket easier. He made one move - dribbling behind his back to avoid Onwas - that drew oohhhs and ahhhs from the Huntsman Center faithful. Loveridge looks to be one of the more difficult matchup issues in the Pac-12. Power forwards simply are going to have a hard time dealing with him on the perimeter. The question is can he guard the position at 215 pounds? He played at 242 last season.
*Sophomore forward Dakarai Tucker dropped in 18 points, and made all four of his three's, showing off an improved stroke on the perimeter. Rumors swirled all summer about his drastic improvement and he showed a glimpse of that on Wednesday night. Tucker and Onwas are battling it out for the right to start at small forward. Tucker can shoot it, and he's good in transition.
* Onwas had a good all-around line - eight points, six rebounds, four assists. He's the most athletic player on the team and is very good at getting to the free-throw line and defending. Impressively, after he was dunked on by Ogbe, Onwas made a move on the other end and tried to dunk on the entire defense. He wasn't successful, but it showed a competitive side that fans had to be happy to see.
* The top seven players go like this: Wright, Loveridge, Tucker, Onwas, Brandon Taylor, Renan Lenz and Jeremy Olsen. It says something that someone with Ogbe's talent isn't in that top seven. But you have to think Ogbe won himself some minutes on Wednesday night. Krystkowiak can probably go nine deep with this team and that's something he hasn't had in his three-year tenure as the head coach.
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