Prized Utah men’s basketball freshman Pelle Larsson to enter NCAA Transfer Portal

If he departs, the Swedish guard would be the fourth Ute to leave the program since Craig Smith was hired to replace Larry Krystkowiak

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes guard Pelle Larsson (3) is guarded by California Golden Bears guard Ryan Betley (00), in PAC12 Basketball action between the the Utah Utes and the California Golden Bears, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2021.

Pelle Larsson is going to explore his options.

The University of Utah freshman guard will enter the NCAA Transfer Portal, multiple sources confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday.

One source noted Thursday that the 6-foot-5 Swede’s name was not yet in the portal database, but his addition is imminent after he filled out the portal paperwork on Wednesday.

The same source indicated that while Larsson wants to explore his options, he will “only take calls from select schools, but is leaving open the possibility of returning to Utah, unless the alternative ticks all the boxes.”

What qualifies as “select schools” is up for debate, but Larsson is likely to be courted by any number of high-major programs once he is officially available in the transfer portal.

Larsson makes seven scholarship players to have hit the transfer portal since March 15, the day before Larry Krystkowiak was fired after 10 seasons as head coach. Riley Battin and Lahat Thioune have since opted to return to play for new head coach Craig Smith, while Timmy Allen (Texas), Alfonso Plummer (Illinois) and Ian Martinez (Maryland) have found new homes. An eighth player, sophomore Mikael Jantunen, has opted to return to Europe to begin a professional career.

Allen, Plummer, Martinez, Jantunen and Larsson accounted for over 71% of the points scored by the Utes in 2020-21, not to mention better than 63% of the minutes played. Whether or not Smith and his coaching staff can overcome that level of attrition remains to be seen, but just as they have lost players to the portal, they have gained players from the portal, too.

Gabe Madsen (Cincinnati), David Jenkins Jr. (UNLV), Rollie Worster (Utah State) and Marco Anthony (Utah State) have all committed to Smith since April 2. Madsen and Worster are eligible immediately thanks to the NCAA’s new one-time transfer exemption, but Jenkins Jr. and Anthony will need waivers in order to be eligible in 2021-22 as they are both transferring for the second time. Jenkins Jr. began his career at South Dakota State, Anthony at Virginia.

With a year of professional basketball already under his belt in his native Sweden, Larsson arrived in Salt Lake City last season to great fanfare. He played in all 25 games as a freshman, starting 18 of them, while taking over primary point guard duties late in the year with Rylan Jones nursing a shoulder injury.

Larsson averaged 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, solidifying himself as a large piece of the future, no matter who the head coach was.