Los Angeles, Calif. • Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak opted to stay neutral instead of diving into the fray by commenting on USC’s preseason turmoil involving the FBI investigation that garnered national attention and shook the college basketball world.
Pac-12 Conference programs USC and Arizona each had assistant coaches implicated in the scandal that allegedly included an Adidas representative using improper benefits to steer top recruits toward certain programs and financial advisors. USC assistant coach Tony Bland was one of four college assistants arrested in September as part of the FBI investigation. USC put him on administrative leave.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle said following a win over Arizona that he had great respect for both Arizona coach Sean Miller and USC’s Andy Enfield, but when asked if there was extra satisfaction in the win because of the FBI investigation, he said, “Hell yes, there is extra satisfaction.” Enfield responded to reporters later in the week calling the remarks “unfair.”
USC announced on Thursday that De’Anthony Melton will not compete in games for the team this season based on findings of the school’s internal investigation. Those findings related to benefits received by a family friend of Melton’s.
“You know, I’ve got opinions,” Krystkowiak said. “I think everybody – you can make yourself a victim. Some people want to make themselves victims. I’m going to stay pretty Switzerland on the whole deal, just focus on what I can control and not worry about what everybody else has got going on. I’ve got enough headaches.”
Tillman and Johnson return
ESPN commentator Bill Walton suggested that Utes forward Donnie Tillman sitting out Thursday’s game at UCLA was a result of a stress fracture in Tillman’s foot. After the game, Krystkowiak denied that claim. Sunday, Tillman started for the first time this season and scored the first points of the game on a 3-pointer.
Sophomore center Jayce Johnson, who missed the UCLA game with a stomach virus, was one of the first players off the bench for the Utes on Thursday. The two have combined to average 11.8 rebounds per game off the bench for the Utes.
Odds and ends
The Utes warmed up prior to Sunday’s game wearing t-shirts with the word “Kuzmania” scrawled across the front in yellow letters. The shirts were part of a campaign to get former Utes star and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma votes for the NBA All-Star game. … USC’s senior tandem of Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart is the program’s first pair of scholarship four-year seniors since the 2004-05 season. … NBA scouts from the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves were issued credentials by USC for Sunday’s game in the Galen Center.