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8 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: There’s a Whole Lotta Youth in Utah

Utah wants to be better than an NIT Runner-Up, but after massive roster changes, that’ll be hard.

NCAA Basketball: NIT Final-Penn State vs Utah Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

After falling short of making the NCAA Tournament last year, Utah is going to be a very different team this season. They’ve lost three full-time starters; Guard Justin Bibbins was the team’s leading scorer with 14.8 ppg, Center David Collette contributed 12.3 ppg, and Forward Tyler Rawson had 10.9 ppg. Collette and Rawson were also two of the team’s best rebounders, and Bibbins led the team in assists.

Guard Sedrick Barefield is the team’s most important returning player. As a full-time starter last year, Barefield managed 12.0 ppg. With his experience, he’ll be expected to be a team leader on the court.

The Utes also have a few other key returners who are expected to step up. Guard Parker Van Dyke, Forward Donnie Tillman, and Center Jayce Johnson will probably move into the starting line up full time. Tillman in particular became a key part of the Utes defense last season.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes have always recruited well, and this year is no exception. Forward Timmy Allen is a consensus 4 star recruit, and was the number one rated player in the state of Arizona. Getting him to come north to Utah is a coup for Coach Krystkowiak. Riley Battin is a highly graded Center out of Souther California, and Guard Naseem Gaskin from Oakland is tough, versatile player who fits the exact mold Utah likes to build around.

In addition to those new faces, Utah also grabbed 7’0” Center Novak Topalovic from Idaho State University. The Utes will not be lacking for size.

Player To Watch:

Timmy Allen (PF, Fr.)

Utah is going to go as far as it’s new players can take them, and no player has more of an ability to make an impact than Allen. At Red Mountain High School, Allen averaged 19.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He excelled at both ends of the court, and could find himself seeing a lot of time on the court right away.

3 Key Non-Conference Games

  • 12/1 vs Tulsa
  • 12/8 vs BYU
  • 12/15 @ #2 Kentucky