Utah Week: Ten Newcomers Breathe Life Into The ProgramPosted by AMurawa on August 30th, 2012
As head coach Larry Krystkowiak begins to remake the Utah roster more to his liking, he welcomes in 10 new players next season, including three newly eligible Division I transfers, a couple of student-athletes returning from two-year LDS missions, four freshmen, and a junior college transfer. Coupled with three returning seniors, Utah will have a significantly more experienced team. Likewise, the talent level takes a big bump up from last year’s hastily assembled roster. Below, we’ll run down each of the newcomers in our guess as to the order of their importance to the 2012-13 squad.
Jordan Loveridge, Freshman, Combo Forward, 6’6” 225 lbs, West Jordan High School, West Jordan, Utah – The 2012 Player of the Year in Utah was a huge get for Krystkowiak, the first step in proving that the new head coach can protect his back yard. As a senior, Loveridge led the state in both scoring and rebounding, notching 18 double-doubles along the way. In the Utes’ summer trip to Brazil, he scored in double figures in three of the four games and averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game in limited minutes during that stretch, prompting even further hope for UU fans that Loveridge will be a special player. Still, Loveridge is a guy most suited to play the four, and at 6’6” that could prove to be something of a problem in the Pac-12. He’s got long arms, a great basketball IQ and the ability to extend his game out beyond the three-point line, but he still needs to prove his effectiveness against Pac-12-caliber competition. Eventually if he polishes his perimeter handles, he could shift to the three spot full-time and turn into a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.
Jarred DuBois, Senior, Combo Guard, 6’3” 180 lbs, Loyola Marymount University – A graduate student transfer from LMU, DuBois is a playmaker. Unfortunately, there have been times in his career when the number of plays he makes for the opposition are greater than the number of plays he makes for his own team. Still, if he can tighten up his handle, take better care of the ball and – this might be the toughest of his assignments – shoot a decent percentage from the field, DuBois has the athleticism and toughness to be a major asset for the Utes. His best season at LMU was his sophomore campaign where he hit 59 threes at a 40% clip while handing out a couple assists per night and keeping his turnover rate low. If he can replicate that type of line, he’ll be an upgrade in the backcourt.
Aaron Dotson, Junior, Shooting Guard, 6’4” 204 lbs, Louisiana State University –Dotson, a native of Seattle, committed to LSU as a highly regarded member of the 2009 recruiting class, ranked #45 overall by ESPNU. In two years at LSU, Dotson earned 38 starts (out of 63 games), averaging 6.8 points per game in his sophomore year, by far his most effective season. He struggled mightily as a freshman, turning the ball over regularly and shooting just a 32.6% eFG. While his turnovers remained steady as a freshman, Dotson improved his shot as a sophomore, leading the Tigers with 37.5% from deep, but with his mother fighting breast cancer, Dotson decided it was time to head back across country and play closer to home. His size and athleticism coupled with a sweet stroke from three mean that there is plenty of upside here. If Dotson is able to harness his talents, he could be a revelation in the Pac-12.
Glen Dean, Junior, Point Guard, 5’10” 175lbs, Eastern Washington University – Dean played two seasons for EWU and they were both unqualified personal successes. In both years he led the Eagles in points and assists and shot better than 40% from three, earning Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors in 2009-10 and Big Sky Second Team honors in 2010-11, even while playing much of the year with a stress fracture in his foot. But, despite Dean’s big numbers, the team struggled, leading to a coaching change which in turn led to a search for a new place to finish out his college career. Enter Utah, who offered Dean a better chance at a post-graduate medical program. Ironically, Dean had a medical emergency once on the Utah campus, suffering a ruptured blood vessel in his brain that led to brain surgery during the middle of his transfer year. Dean has now fully recovered, however, and Krystkowiak expects him to step in and man the point right away for the Utes. Coupled with the other two veteran backcourt transfers, Utah has a complete change of blood working in its favor in the backcourt.
Dallin Bachynski, Sophomore, Center, 7’0” 255 lbs, Southern Utah University – The “little” brother of Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski, Dallin comes to Utah following a two-year LDS mission in Croatia which succeeded a single year at Southern Utah. Despite having much the same size as his brother (ASU’s Bachynski is listed at 7’2”), Dallin’s game is a bit different than his brother, with the ability to step away from the hoop and knock down some face-up jumpers with range out to three. He runs the floor pretty well and does sport a variety of post moves and the ability to use his size to disrupt opponents defensively and to get on the glass. In Brazil, Bachynski notched one double-figure scoring game, so it is possible he could be slotted in right behind David Foster and Jason Washburn in the middle. With three years of remaining eligibility, Bachynski could develop into a difference-maker in the conference.
Renan Lenz, Junior, Power Forward, 6’9” 240 lbs, Arizona Western College – Lenz, a native of Brazil by way of a junior college in Yuma, was a late recruiting coup for Krystkowiak. He averaged 13 points and nine boards last season at the JuCo, then signed with the Utes in late April. The big man is known as a good athlete who can bang down low or step outside and hit jumpers and will contribute to a newfound batch of quality big men in the program. Lenz had one of the best individual games for the Utes on their recent trip to Brazil, scoring 18 points and grabbing six boards in their opener in South America. Just how much of an impact he can have remains to be seen, but at the very least, Lenz is an upside pick-up for Krystkowiak.
Jeremy Olsen, Redshirt Freshman, Power Forward, 6’10” 235 lbs, Collins Hill, Lawrenceville, GA – Olsen was originally a member of the Utes’ 2009 recruiting class, but he never played a minute during a redshirt season and left on a two-year mission immediately afterward. Thus, he will now be a 22-year-old freshman when the season tips off. An All-Metro-Atlanta pick in his senior year of high school, Olsen is a pure back-to-the-basket post player who can be a factor defensively and on the glass, but whose best offensive days are yet to come.
Dakarai Tucker, Freshman, Small Forward, 6’5”, 185 lbs, Serra High School, Gardena, CA – A CIF Southern Section Player of the Year in the Division 4AA level last season (over such highly regarded recruits as Arizona’s Grant Jerrett, San Diego State’s Skylar Spencer and Zena Edosomwan, who may wind up at Harvard), Tucker is a guy with major upside. Long and athletic with a serious motor on the defensive end, a still-in-progress jumper keeps him from being a more highly-regarded prospect. However, if he can tighten up his perimeter skills, he’s got the body and athleticism to become a legitimate Pac-12 wing. His defensive ability and desire alone may earn him minutes as a freshman.
Justin Seymour, Freshman, Shooting Guard, 6’3” 195 lbs, Wheeler High School, Marietta, GA – Seymour was ranked among the top 50 shooting guards in the 2012 class by ESPNU, and he’s got the reputation of a guy who can put the ball in the hoop in a variety of ways. He’s not an elite athlete and lacks a great handle, but his ability to stroke the ball from deep will eventually earn him minutes for the Utes. However, with Dubois, Dean, Dotson and Cedric Martin already in line for the majority of minutes at the guard spots, Seymour may be a year away from making a major contribution.
Brandon Taylor, Freshman, Point Guard, 5’10” 150 lbs, Pacific Hills High School, West Hollywood, CA – Anytime you’ve got a roster rebuilding project on your hands which requires the services of 10 newcomers in a single season, you may wind up taking a chance on a guy or two who is not the prototypical player for your conference level. Give Krystkowiak credit for the fact that Taylor is the only real reach in this group of newcomers. And, to say that Taylor – a guy who averaged 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds per game on his way to CIF Division 4 Player of the Year honors last season – is a reach is not a shot at him. He may in fact pan out at the Pac-12 level, but weighing in at 150 pounds and somewhere south of 5’10”, the deck is somewhat stacked against him. Still, the mighty-mite possesses great speed and quickness along with a strong basketball IQ. While he’s probably got a logjam ahead of him this year in the backcourt, if he can prove himself in practice, he could get a crack at playing time somewhere in the future.