Redshirt freshman guard Vante Hendrix is gone from Utah’s basketball program in a move that may have stemmed from a brief exchange with coach Larry Krystkowiak in what became his final game with the Utes on Thanksgiving night.
In a social media post Tuesday, Hendrix wrote, “My experience at Utah was great but sadly sometimes things aren't just for you.”
Hendrix also said “thank you to the fans of Utah and the coaching staff for everything they did for me.”
The program confirmed Hendrix’s departure Tuesday evening, saying he left the team. Earlier in the day, Krystkowiak’s weekly media briefing was postponed to Wednesday, due to a practice schedule change.
Krystkowiak made a short statement Wednesday morning, saying Hendrix is “no longer” in the program.
The 6-foot-5 Hendrix, formerly known as Devante Doutrive, averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in Utah’s first four games, scoring 14 points in 29 minutes of a Nov. 12 loss at Minnesota. In Thursday’s opening-round game of the Wooden Legacy at Fullerton, Calif., Hendrix had six points in 18 minutes of a 90-79 loss to Hawaii.
The Utes trailed 74-64 with 1:29 remaining, when Hendrix was assessed a technical foul and Krystkowiak took him out of the game. The ESPN2 cameras showed them having an apparent, mild disagreement as Hendrix walked toward the bench. Hendrix was absent from the team during Utah’s last two games of the tournament, a win over Grand Canyon and a loss to Northwestern, while dealing with “personal issues,” the school said.
Nine scholarship players from Utah’s 2015-16 and ’16-17 rosters transferred, by some combination of their choices and Krystkowiak’s decisions.
Hendrix sat out last season after arriving on campus from Woodland Hills, Calif., as a late academic qualifier. In late February, he told The Tribune, “I think that this season, right now, made me a better person and made me realize what I have to bring to the table next year."
Hendrix was among the newcomers who Krystkowiak believed would give his program a new dynamic of athletic ability, enabling the Utes to run more offensively and press defensively.
Utah (3-3) plays Tulsa on Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center, moving into the second half of its nonconference schedule.