Another Utah basketball player is in the NCAA transfer portal.
Redshirt freshman guard Naseem Gaskin is the sixth scholarship athlete from the original 2018-19 roster to leave the program, whether by their own choice or by coach Larry Krystkowiak’s decision.
Gaskin’s move, first reported late Monday by the verbalcommits.com website that tracks college basketball transactions, came soon after UNLV announced the signing of former Ute forward Donnie Tillman.
Gaskins' departure leaves Utah with 11 scholarship players on the 2019-20 roster, including seven freshmen (Lahat Thioune is a redshirt freshman), three sophomores and a junior.
As a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., the 6-foot-3 Gaskin averaged 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. His only action in a Ute uniform was a two-minute appearance in an exhibition game vs. College of Idaho last November, enabling him to maintain his redshirt status. If he moves to another Division I program, however, Gaskin would have to sit out in 2019-20 and have three years of eligibility remaining, by NCAA rule.
Amid the program’s high volume of transfers since the start of last season, Utah remains deep at the two guard positions even without Gaskin. Scholarship players in the backcourt include freshmen Jaxon Brenchley, Rylan Jones and Brendan Wenzel and junior college transfer Alfonso Plummer. Both Gach, a sophomore who played extensively last season, is listed as a forward but can play both guard spots.
The Utes also have four walk-ons listed as guards: Elias Ballstaedt, Ben Bittner, Brandon Haddock and Brooks King. The Utes also have a commitment from Ian Martinez, a highly ranked guard in the class of 2020. Martinez’s father, Henry, will begin his job as a Ute assistant coach in August.
The loss of Gaskin, though, affects the image of a program that has experienced considerable turnover since last November. The transactions started with the departure of wing player Vante Hendrix, who ended up at New Mexico.
Christian Popoola left the program in December and later signed with Salt Lake Community College, seeking playing time.
In his end-of-season interview with The Salt Lake Tribune in April, Krystkowiak said, “I hope I don’t have to stand up and defend every single transfer.”
Between then and Gakin’s entering the portal Monday, center Jayce Johnson went to Marquette as a graduate transfer, guard Charles Jones Jr. moved to Portland State as a senior and Tillman signed with UNLV as a junior. In addition, former walk-on center Brandon Morley signed with Utah Valley University.