Utah Basketball - The good and not so good from an exhibition win
Eventually, Utah was able to overwhelm St. Martin's with its depth and speed and athleticism. Next Friday against Evergreen State should yield the same results for a Utah team looking to make its mark on a new season. So here are a few things on each side of the spectrum that the coaching staff should like, or want to work on.
GOOD: Jordan Loveridge and Delon Wright. It's not out of the question to think both of these guys could compete for all-conference honors. Both are matchup nightmares, Loveridge because of his ball skills a stretch power forward and Wright because of his length and athleticism at point guard. Against the Saints, both dominated, even if they weren't perfect. Loveridge sometimes got swallowed up in the lane, Wright missed easy shots at the rim. But both are standouts and should be all season. The Utes fate in large part runs through their performances.
NOT SO GOOD: Free-throw shooting was abysmal, as Utah missed over 20 from the stripe. That included a 1-8 performance from freshman Kenneth Ogbe, which is unacceptable because guards have to make free-throws and Ogbe more than likely will have to hit some important ones at some point. Coaches aren't worried at all. It's one game, and a little practice - or a lot - can alleviate the problem. But if the Utes don't improve at this aspect, there are going to be some hairy moments in the last minutes of some close games at some point.
GOOD: You have to love Parker Van Dyke and Ahmad Fields for their performances. Those are two freshmen who are on the fringe of the playing rotation. Rather than pout, they made the most of limited minutes. Van Dyke - the rookie from East High - was lights out from the perimeter, and Fields made a big mark with his athleticism. The Utes were a deep team last night because of those two. It will be interesting to see if that persists.
NOT SO GOOD: Jeremy Olsen played 11 minutes and had four fouls, no good considering Utah really needs his offense in the paint. He has to learn how to play without fouling. The center position in general does have 15 pouls between three guys. But one has to step up and take ownership of minutes. Renan Lenz had a good game, flirting with a double-double.
GOOD: Dakarai Tucker's improvement has been striking. And he's an excellent spot-up shooter who knocks down bombs. That gives him the edge in the small forward battle between him and Princeton Onwas. Coaches have to be happy with his development.
NOTES: Onwas played with a sprained ankle on Friday that kept him out of practice for a little bit last week....When Marko Kovacevic comes back from injury, look for him to be in the hunt for minutes....the Utes will return to practice on Monday.