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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Marko Kovacevic leaving Utes basketball program, returning to Serbia

The Utah men's basketball team has a lot of promising talent coming into the program this fall, but is also losing some as well.

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On Monday afternoon, the U. released a statement from coach Larry Krystkowiak that big man Marko Kovacevic isn't coming back next year, instead returning to his homeland of Serbia.

"He has decided not to return due to family issues and we wish him and his family the best during this trying time," Krystkowiak said in the school release.

No further detail about Kovacevic's reasoning or family situation was given in the single-paragraph announcement.

The 6-foot-11 center saw action in 14 games this year, averaging just 1.7 points and 0.7 rebounds per year after joining the program from Western Nebraska Community College. His departure clears up some blockage at the 5-spot, where the Utes expect to have Dallin Bachynski, Jeremy Olsen and Jakob Poeltl next season.

Kovacevic's departure is the third this offseason for the Utes, following Ahmad Fields and Princeton Onwas. Although Utah graduated only one senior this past year, they'll be looking for some of their recruiting class to make an early impact with the departures.

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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