University of Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak was scheduled to have most of his roster back in Salt Lake City by Monday for required summer activities, but not everyone will be there.
Such is life when an international player is attempting to travel in the middle of the pandemic.
Pelle Larsson, a 6-foot-5 Swedish-born combo guard, who is expected to make an immediate impact as a freshman, is in limbo. With the United States Embassy in Stockholm only having recently reopened the Visa process, Larsson’s father, Christian, told The Salt Lake Tribune his son’s Visa interview will not take place until Sept. 2.
The fall semester at Utah is scheduled to begin Aug. 24. Larsson’s father indicated they have been in contact with the school and that “they will support Pelle virtually until he arrives.”
If college basketball remains in line for an on-time start to the season in the face of COVID-19, the Utes will be able to begin official practice on Sept. 29, 42 days before their Nov. 10 opener vs. Utah Valley at the Huntsman Center.
In addition to Larsson, Finnish sophomore forward Mikael Jantuen is not expected back in town until later this week, but that situation is not thought to involve a Visa issue. Both Larsson and Jantunen have been working out with their respective national team programs during the pandemic.
On June 17, the NCAA Division I Council approved a plan that allowed required summer athletic activities to begin for men’s and women’s basketball starting July 20. On July 13, The Tribune reported that Krystkowiak was offering his roster more flexibility, setting Aug. 10 as when he hoped to have his roster back together.
At the time, senior shooting guard Alfonso Plummer was home in Puerto Rico, Senagalese-born redshirt sophomore forward Lahat Thioune remained with the host family he lived with while attending Florida Prep in Central Florida, junior forward Riley Battin was home in Southern California, and junior wing Timmy Allen, Utah’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, was home in Arizona.
Krystkowiak told The Tribune that Allen, Plummer and Thioune arrived Friday night, and that Battin was also back in town. Locals on the roster like Rylan Jones, Jaxon Brenchley and Branden Carlson have been working on campus since the athletic department began allowing voluntary workouts to commence in mid-June.