Utah Week: Running Down The ReturneesPosted by AMurawa on August 29th, 2012
Just three players return who have spent time in a Utah uniform before, but between the three of them Larry Krystkowiak will welcome back three seniors, hopefully destined for leadership roles. We’ll break down those three guys below in order of their most recent scoring averages.
Jason Washburn, Senior, Power Forward (11.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.4 BPG) – There is likely little argument that Washburn was the Utes’ best player last season. Their lone player who could be classified as an efficient offensive talent, his shooting percentages dipped a bit as he got more shots and saw more possessions run through him. Still, he nearly doubled his previous career high in points and bumped up his rebounding average by more than two per night. Physically, he’s certainly not the most dominant force ever, but at 6’11” he couples a nice touch on his mid-range jumper with decent post moves and an ability to disrupt opponents on the defensive end. With 7’3” David Foster expected back from a foot injury this year, the Utes should be not only the tallest Pac-12 team in the middle, but the most experienced one. Problem is, they’ll also be one of the least athletic ones.
Cedric Martin, Senior, Shooting Guard (7.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.9 APG) – Last year was Martin’s first in Salt Lake City after using his first couple of seasons of eligibility at Lee College in Texas. He jumped right into the fray immediately and wound up averaging more than 30 minutes per game and turned into one of the team’s better offensive players. He knocked down 49 three-pointers (at a 37% clip), filled the stat sheet in other areas and, by the end of the year, was the team’s best perimeter defender. With three newly eligible Division I transfers coming in around the perimeter, not to mention a couple freshmen guards, Martin will have more competition for minutes, but with his experience he should be able to earn minutes at the wing.
David Foster, Senior, Center (2.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.2 BPG in 2010-11) – Foster’s career at Utah has been long and distinguished. Well, mostly long. His freshman season kicked off six years ago when he played in 20 games, averaged just under five minutes per night and blocked five shots on the season. After a two-year LDS mission, Foster returned for his sophomore campaign in 2009-10, and blocked four shots per game (in just over 20 minutes per night) on his way to earning the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Year and setting Utah’s single season record for blocks. But, a career-long pattern emerged that season as he missed a couple games due to injury. In his junior campaign, his minutes dipped slightly as did his production – especially on the offensive end – and then last season he was forced to take a medical redshirt after sitting out the entire year with a broken foot. Now, heading into his delayed senior year, questions remain as to how effective Foster will be. In Utah’s recent international trip to Brazil, Foster played in two of the team’s four games. If he can average 20 minutes a game and play in a healthy majority of his team’s contests, he’ll likely lead the league in blocked shots, but at this time those remain big ifs.