Utah’s Both Gach will transfer if he doesn’t stay in NBA draft

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes guard Both Gach (11) passes the ball as the University of Utah hosts Oregon State in January 2020. According to a report, Gach is planning to transfer if he does not stay in the NBA draft.

Even if Both Gach removes his name from the NBA draft, the University of Utah sophomore’s time in Salt Lake City appears to have come to an end.

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported Thursday evening that Gach will transfer if he removes his name from the draft. A source told The Salt Lake Tribune that Gach has not yet put his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Later Thursday evening, the school released a statement on the situation in which head coach Larry Krystkowiak didn’t sugarcoat it.

“We have been very supportive of Both entering the NBA draft to obtain valuable evaluations from team personnel these past two months so this comes as a surprise to myself and our staff after learning of Both’s intentions to transfer," Krystkowiak said. "Although the decision by Both to leave was not something we had planned or hoped for, our program continues to move forward with our players who are driven and excited to be a part of our Utah Basketball family.

"Sometimes one’s individual desires and goals don’t always align with the program they are a part of. However, our focus is and continues to be the players who are fully committed to our program, including our incoming recruiting class.”

Earlier this week, the NCAA extended its June 3 deadline for an underclassman to remove his name from the draft and retain eligibility to a later date. A decision on a new deadline date is fluid as the NCAA waits to see what the NBA does with the rest of its regular season, plus pre-draft events. The NBA previously postponed the draft lottery and draft combine, both of which were scheduled for this month.

Gach declared for the NBA draft on April 6 after an enigmatic sophomore season in which he averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 27 games. Gach had a handful of strong games, a handful of rough ones and missed four in the middle of the season with a knee issue.

With Gach, Utah is at the NCAA maximum of 13 scholarships for the 2020-21 season. It was reported by 247sports’ Evan Daniels earlier this week that Utah was among a handful of schools to contact Georgetown’s Mac McClung after the sophomore guard announced his intention to transfer.

McClung is widely considered the nation’s top available transfer. Utah reportedly kicking those tires is an indication that Krystkowiak and his staff were, at a minimum, working on a contingency plan if Gach were to leave. Sophomore guard Timmy Allen has also declared for the draft, but the Mesa, Ariz., native is expected back for his junior year this fall.

When healthy and engaged, Gach is Utah’s most-explosive, most-dangerous player. His departure would leave a hole in the lineup, but it should not be crippling.

Krystkowiak’s projected backcourt depth is solid, but also young. Utah’s highly-touted freshman class includes Swedish combo guard Pelle Larrson and explosive JSerra Catholic (Calif.) product Ian Martinez. Allen started all 31 games last season, while point guard Rylan Jones started all 28 games he played in.