Utah Utes guard Marco Anthony drives against Washington Huskies guard Jamal Bey during a first-round Pac-12 tournament game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
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Utah men’s basketball coach Craig Smith is entering his second season at the helm and looking to improve on an 11-20 record in 2021-22.
Smith met with reporters recently to discuss the state of the program.
It’s been a busy offseason what with players entering the transfer portal and the Utes snagging talent out of the transfer portal. Among the newcomers are Cincinnati transfer guard Mike Saunders, Wisconsin transfer forward Ben Carlson and BYU transfer forward Gavin Baxter. And there are prep stars Keba Keita and Wilguens Exacte Jr.
They complement a group of returning players like All-Pac-12 performer Branden Carlson and Marco Anthony. Rollie Worster, Lazar Stefanovic, Gabe Madsen, Jaxon Brenchley and Eli Ballstaedt (a walk-on) have also said they are coming back.
“We have some continuity coming back, some guys who played a lot of minutes for us last year,” Smith said. “I still believe in my core, and in my heart, that we can build a program here, sustained for longevity, although that certainly is getting harder and harder in a lot of respects. So you just gotta adapt and adjust.”
How long will it take Utah to compete for a Pac-12 championship?
“Every year our expectation is to make the NCAA Tournament, and that’s our goal,” Smith said about a possible time frame for success. “That is what we strive to do, and then win when we get there.”
Meanwhile, check out Doug Robinson’s look at Utah football success in the NFL draft in the 2000s.
13.6: Average points per game for Utah’s leading scorer last season, Branden Carlson.
7.1: Average rebounds per game for Utah’s leading rebounder last season, Marco Anthony.
2.7: Average assists per game for transfer Mike Saunders Jr., last year at Cincinnati.
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