Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak will field likely the youngest team in the program’s history in 2019-20, explaining why he would add a “great skill-development coach” to his staff.
The latest evidence of Henry Martinez's impact includes his sons, one who plays for Cal State Northridge and another who's among the West's top recruits in the class of 2020.
High-scoring guard Ian Martinez’s reported commitment to Utah this week is probably not coincidental, in that context. In any case, Krystkowiak’s hiring of Henry Martinez, who has coached on the high school and professional levels in Costa Rica, is a creative way to fill the vacancy created when DeMarlo Slocum moved to UNLV in early April.
Krystkowiak announced Martinez’s hiring Thursday, while adding veteran coach Donny Daniels to a newly created position of director of player development. Daniels, 64, recently became a charter member of the Atlanta-based Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame. Krystkowiak cited “his basketball knowledge, his life experiences and his community impact” as attributes of Daniels, who coached under Rick Majerus at Utah from 1989 to 2000 and under Mark Few at Gonzaga from 2010 to 2019, among other stops.
Daniels said in mid-April that he was coming to Utah as way of phasing out of on-court coaching and recruiting. He will function primarily as an analyst, while being able to counsel players.
Slocum, along with assistants Tommy Connor and Andy Hill, gave Krystkowiak eight years of continuity on the staff. Krystkowiak added Chris Jones as director of basketball operations in 2016.
By the NCAA rules for his job description, Jones is not allowed to have direct contact with players during practices or games. That includes his son, Rylan, a former Olympus High School guard who’s joining the program this summer as a scholarship athlete.
As a support staff member, Chris Jones had to be hired two years prior to his son’s signing with the Utes. That NCAA men’s basketball rule doesn’t apply to a full-time coach, such as Henry Martinez. In 2018, USC hired assistant coach Eric Mobley, the father of prep stars Isaiah and Evan Mobley. Two sons of Missouri assistant coach Michael Porter Sr. recently joined the Tigers’ program, after their father was hired.
Ian Martinez will be a senior guard for JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. His brother, Avery, redshirted at Cal State Northridge this past season after playing high school basketball in Southern California.
Henry Martinez has spent 16 years as director and head coach of ProBasket Academy in Costa Rica. He’s a longtime affiliate of the Costa Rica national team as a player and coach. Unlike Daniels, he’ll have recruiting responsibilities with the Utes.
Daniels views his move to Utah as “almost like the perfect transition,” he told The Spokesman-Review in April. “I’ll basically be another set of eyes. I was very comfortable retiring and not doing anything until about a month ago when this opportunity came up.”
Daniels’ son, Eric, recently was retained as a Utah Valley University assistant on new coach Mark Madsen’s staff.