Monday's practice at Utah began with a simple, yet complex drill.
The entry pass into the big man.
As it turns out, it was needed. Last week's exhibition win over St. Martin's was a mixed bag for the Utes. While there were plenty of positives, the fact that Utah's post players didn't get many touches rankled coach Larry Krystkowiak a little bit.
Altogether, Utah's big men Renan Lenz, Dallin Bachynski and Jeremy Olsen received the ball five times in a position to score. They converted on three of them. For a team that will need easy baskets this year, that stat revealed that the Utes were way too reliant on the perimeter for their offense.
"We want to be an inside-out team," Krystkowiak said. "Even if we don't shoot the ball, it causes a little less stress on the offense when the ball is going into the post."
Against St. Martin's, Lenz stood out the most with his rebounding and defense. He scored, but most importantly he was a presence on both ends. Olsen and Bachynski struggled a bit. Olsen had four fouls in 11 minutes and could never find a rhythm, while Bachynski missed a few easy shots and a few defensive assignments.
Krystkowiak said he was happy with how well Utah played defensively, and liked that his team forced turnovers. He also was pleased that his team moved the ball offensively and made open jumpers. Missing over 20 free throws qualified as a big negative. Reversing that trend was an emphasis in Monday's practice.
"I think we have to work on some of the little things," sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge said. "Some of the timing in the offense was a little off. We have to finish possessions defensively as well."
Nearing a return?
Junior center Marko Kovacevic will have the cast on his wrist removed in two weeks. He's been out the past month with a small fracture. He will probably take a week to get into shape, and if all goes well he can return to action in full by the end of November. For depth purposes, his presence will be welcomed.
Bachynski's ankle appeared to flare up on him in Monday's practice. The junior 7-footer participated in the initial full-court drills, but pulled up lame several times as he landed on dunk attempts. He then consulted a trainer and began riding the bike. He's been hampered by a sprained ankle of late.
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Utah vs. Evergreen State
P Friday, 7 p.m.
At the Huntsman Center