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Utah basketball: Utes looking at an unconventional backcourt
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

In physicality and style, Utah's starting backcourt this season could look awfully similar to Colorado's of a year ago.

Last season, the Buffaloes started 6-foot-6 Spencer Dinwiddie at point guard, while 6-1 Askia Booker played almost exclusively off the ball. The Utes are leaning toward employing the same kind of arrangement when the 2013 schedule starts with 6-5 Delon Wright and 5-10 Brandon Taylor.

Defensively, Wright would play against the taller shooting guards of the Pac-12, while Taylor would match up with point guards. Conventional wisdom usually dictates the shorter player being the floor general. But Wright — in three weeks of practice — has proved to be Utah's best passer and creator off the dribble. Taylor — a sophomore who started at the point since the midway mark last year — is arguably the best shooter on the team.

So far it's worked. At least in practice and scrimmages.

"Brandon is really good spotting up in the corner and making shots," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "Delon is good at making decisions on the pick-and-roll. It seems pretty natural that we play this way. Brandon's such a good shooter that we want to utilize that."

Wright's size allows him to see over defenders, and Utah's lack of size in the backcourt a year ago proved to be problematic at times. The junior college transfer has impressed coaches in workouts with his ability to run the offense and get others shots off penetration. Wright has also been good in the open floor on fast breaks as a finisher and facilitator.

Heading to San Fran

The Pac-12 Media Day will commence Thursday morning. Krystkowiak will travel with sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge, whom the league picked to be the team player representative.

Utah fans should expect the Utes to be picked at or near the bottom of the league ­— despite the program winning four of five to close last season.

The sample size is small, but two national magazines — Sporting News and Athlon — picked Utah at ninth and last place, respectively.

Arizona — expected to be a top-10 team nationally — will probably be picked by the media to win the league.

Getting comfortable

Utah freshman Parker Van Dyke played a lot of backup point guard in Saturday's practice that was open to the public. The former East High star showed off his ability to make shots from the perimeter, an attribute that could earn him minutes this year.

"He's playing well," Krystkowiak said. "There's an adjustment process for him. He's someone who can play both positions in the backcourt."

tjones@sltrib.com

College basketball • Wright, 6-foot-5, is likely PG, while 5-10 Taylor is SG for Utah.
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