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Until the NCAA decides it is going to make injury reports in college football and basketball mandatory, the majority of those head coaches are not going to offer transparency.
In fairness, voluntarily offering injury updates yields nothing positive in terms of competitive advantage in the cutthroat world of major college athletics, so why do it if you’re a coach?
Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak does not offer injury updates. When the topic comes up in postgame or midweek press conferences, he often dismisses it entirely without even a hint of what is happening inside the Huntsman Basketball Facility.
I bring this up now because one of Krystkowiak’s most-important players, sophomore guard Both Gach, is injured. Krystkowiak let it go last Thursday night at USC that the injury is to Gach’s knee, but the severity is unknown. With injury transparency not a mandate, here comes a little semi-educated guesswork by your friendly, neighborhood beat writer.
Gach dressed and went through warmups at USC. He was in uniform for the game, but never played, Krystkowiak saying postgame that Gach was a gametime decision. There were off-day rumblings that Gach did not practice on Saturday, something no one at Utah would confirm, nor deny. On Sunday at UCLA, Gach again warmed up, but this time was in street clothes for the game.
When Gach and his status were brought up to Krystkowiak postgame, he issued a reminder that he does not talk about injuries before saying, “I’m not inside his knee.”
If Gach was truly a gametime decision at USC, that would indicate whatever is wrong with his knee is not serious. Not practicing Saturday, then not playing Sunday offered some pause, but still, no bells went off as to the severity.
Krystkowiak’s comment about not being inside Gach’s knee and the way he delivered it gave off a slight vibe that maybe this is more than something minor, but is it? Is Krystkowiak sandbagging? Is he trying to throw opponents off the scent by trotting Gach out there for warmups?
Your semi-educated guess is probably as good as mine as Utah readies to host Stanford on Thursday night (8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
The Terrell Perriman situation is sad, not to mention out of character for the Utes
I got off a flight at LAX last Thursday to the news that Utes redshirt freshman wide receiver Terrell Perriman had been arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping, enticing a minor by internet or text and dealing in material harmful to a minor.
After the initial shock of those charges wore off, I played a small part from my hotel room in helping colleague Courtney Tanner produce our initial news story. I then started asking around about Perriman and Utah football in general. I reached out to people who have been around the program for years. Remember, I’ve been here all of two months, and have covered all of one football game.
My conclusion is that a seedy crime like this is so wildly out of character for this program, that people were pretty stunned. Nobody I spoke with could remember an arrest of this magnitude involving a Utah football player.
Multiple people pointed to Dominique Hatfield’s July 2015 arrest for robbery and theft as the last piece of serious police trouble involving Whittingham’s program. Hatfield was charged with assault in a separate incident that same summer. He was suspended indefinitely, removed from the team, and eventually reinstated early in the 2015 season.
The Perriman situation is sad. Sad for the teenage girl involved, sad for that girl’s family, and on some level, one might argue, sad for Perriman. The Miami native remains jailed on $750,000 bail and is scheduled to stand before a judge for the first time Thursday morning.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Perriman remained on Utah’s roster, but I imagine that changes sooner than later. When asked about Perriman on Wednesday during his National Signing Day press conference, Whittingham unsurprisingly balked as the wheels of our justice system are only starting to spin here.
Other hoops thoughts at the moment
• I did not see 2020 commit Ian Martinez play last weekend while in Southern California, but I had a good 10-minute conversation with him and came away impressed. Affable kid, smiling, loves basketball, sounds ready to take on some expectations. I think Ute fans will be in on Martinez once he gets here. Be on the lookout Friday morning for my story on the JSerra Catholic (Calif.) guard.
• I used some of this space last week to talk about Branden Carlson and how the 7-foot freshman is playing well lately. As you watch the rest of this season, keep in mind that Carlson has really not played a ton of basketball. He sat behind Yoeli Childs for a couple of seasons at Bingham High School and after breaking out as a senior, went on a two-year LDS mission. His ceiling, in my opinion, is quite high.
• Where would this team be with Donnie Tillman and Jayce Johnson? At a minimum, Tillman would take some scoring pressure off Timmy Allen, and Krystkowiak could probably bring Carlson along a little slower if he had Johnson. Tillman is getting big rotation minutes at UNLV, while Johnson hasn’t made a big dent for a Marquette team comfortably headed for the NCAA Tournament.
• This weekend feels like last-stand time for the Utes, who are home to Stanford on Thursday and Cal on Saturday. Coughing up the game at USC felt like a crusher, and following it up with a double-digit loss at UCLA is the very definition of a lost weekend. The Utes got swept at Arizona last month, then responded by sweeping the Washington schools at home. A similar showing now would be impressive, given Stanford is coming off a win at Oregon and is building towards a single-digit NCAA Tournament seed. Additionally, Cal, at 4-4 vs. the Pac-12, has played much better lately, certainly better than anyone would have projected even a month ago.
Other things on my mind, Utah sports or otherwise
• Red Iguana never disappoints for Mexican food. Never. I would tell anyone visiting Salt Lake City that Red Iguana is a must.
• I usually don’t care for spring practice, but this time around is different. New beat, new job, new surroundings, there’s a quarterback competition as part of a handful of intriguing position battles. I’m looking forward to March 2.
• A sunset at Santa Monica Pier is really hard to beat. Glad I decided to use the Saturday off-day in Los Angeles to do that.
• I’ve decided after three trips there that The Bagel Project is more than sufficient for this New York bagel snob. Had an everything bagel with lox spread the other day, and it was excellent.
• Utah is one of just three Division I lacrosse teams outside the Eastern time zone (Air Force, University of Denver), and the Utes are 1-0 after a 16-10 win over Division II Bellarmine. The Utes are playing an ambitious independent schedule, which takes them to ranked Lehigh next. Perennial national-title contender Virginia is on the schedule later this season, so there’s that.
The Athletic’s Chris Kamrani profiled 2020 quarterback commit Cooper Justice, who wound up at Britain Covey’s wedding reception during his official visit. Nice.
Oh, hey, it’s another story about financial troubles at Cal, this time by USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz.
The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner on the Pac-12 revenue gap, which is laughably large right now.
The Oregonian’s John Canzano on the Oregon women’s basketball team, which did what pretty much no one does, beat UConn in Storrs. The Ducks are the class of the Pac-12, and among a small handful of legit national-title contenders.
Big-time opportunity for USC on Thursday night at Arizona. Adam Grosbard of the Los Angeles Daily News checks in. The Trojans were looking like a viable Pac-12 contender, then got trucked at home last weekend by another contender, Colorado.