Utah Week: Players Not ReturningPosted by AMurawa on August 29th, 2012
For the third straight year, Utah underwent rampant roster turnover in the offseason, with six transfers joining one senior (who had been dismissed from the team in the middle of last season) on their way out the door. There is a subtle difference this year, however, as the changes to the roster should benefit the program next season, allowing the new coaching staff to begin building with their own players rather than with the scraps they were able to assemble late in the recruiting period last offseason. In essence, last year was an audition period for all of the players on the roster, determining not only whether the coaching staff wanted each player back, but whether those players were interested in returning to the rebuilding job that is Utah basketball. Below, we’ll take a brief look at all seven players (not including Blake Wilkinson, a freshman last season who departed for an two-year LDS mission in May) from last year who will not return to the Utes.
Josh Watkins – Watkins was dismissed by Larry Ktystkowiak on January 18 last season for an undisclosed team violation which was just another in a long line of issues that brought Watkins to that point. The lone active senior on the roster last season, Watkins was supposed to be an example for his younger teammates, doing all the right things on a team where everything else was going wrong. Still, Watkins played a valuable role for Krystkowiak last year; the dismissal of the team’s most viable offensive threat in the middle of the season showed everybody else that nobody was above the team. Watkins, to his credit, completed his degree in May and acknowledged that despite his dismissal he still regards Krystkowiak as a “great coach.”
Chris Hines – Following his graduation in May, Hines took advantage of the NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer without having to sit out a year. As a result, the team’s most prolific three-point shooter from 2011-12 will be matriculating at Drake this season. While an experienced veteran like Hines could always be valuable, the fact that the Utes have transfers Aaron Dotson, Glen Dean and Jared DuBois ready to step in this season lessens the blow considerably.
Dijon Farr – Like Hines, Farr won’t have to sit out the 2012-13 season after transferring out of Utah. Unlike Hines, it isn’t because he has already graduated, but rather as a result of where he is transferring to. By downgrading to Division II Arkansas-Fort Smith, Farr will be eligible immediately. And, perhaps more importantly, he’ll be up against a more reasonable level of competition. After averaging about 10 points and five rebounds per game in his sophomore season at Indian Hills Community College, last year Farr earned almost 26 minutes a game for the Utes and chipped in about seven points and five rebounds per game. But, as a power forward listed at 6’6” (read: nowhere near 6’6”), he’ll have a real chance to make a significant impact on the basketball court as he pursues his undergraduate degree. The Utes will miss his toughness and hustle, but with four players 6’6” or taller coming in this season and 7’3” David Foster due to return from injury, they’ll become a much bigger basketball club.
Kareem Storey – Storey is another former Ute who will downgrade to Division II, heading to the College of Southern Idaho. Storey helped pick up the slack for the departed Watkins down the stretch, averaging nearly 30 minutes per game in the 14 games after his dismissal. Still, the 6’0” point guard had neither the size, the strength, nor the shooting ability to be a consistent contributor at the Pac-12 level. He’ll have three year of remaining eligibility at CSI.
Javon Dawson – Dawson, unlike the last two guys, will remain at the Division I level, as he signed on with Jacksonville of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Dawson spent one year at Utah after using a year of eligibility at Gulf Coast Community College, where he tore an ACL in his final year there. At 6’7” and 260 pounds, he was an imposing presence up front, but only averaged 14.7 minutes per game with the Utes.
George Matthews – Of the relatively weak 2011 Utah recruiting class, Matthews was generally the most highly regarded player. An undersized forward at 6’5”, however, Matthews broke his left foot in the spring of 2011 and struggled to get back into basketball shape, eventually tearing a ligament in the same foot in the middle of last year. All told, Matthews played just 80 minutes and scored a grand total of nine points in his Ute career.
Anthony Odunsi – Odunsi’s lone season at Utah yielded about 15 minutes and three points per game, with much of that coming post-Watkins, but his personal highlight came just two games into his college career when he popped for 14 points in 26 minutes in a 21-point loss to Boise State. A 6’4” athlete destined to be a combo guard, Odunsi announced his decision to transfer, but so far no landing spot is apparent.