#31 Utah Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Utah Utes

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12

Utah Team Page#31 Utah Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Utah Basketball Tickets

Since losing Andrew Bogut to the NBA following the 2004-05 season, success has been limited for Utah. The Utes have appeared in the postseason just three times over the past nine seasons, the only three seasons in which Utah had a winning record. Those things are changing under Larry Krystkowiak. After a rough first season in charge in 2011-12, where the Utes won just six games, Utah has improved dramatically, winning 15 games the following year and then 21 and a NIT appearance last season. This year, Utah will look to improve even more and make it back to the NCAA Tournament that was so familiar to the Utah program under the late Rick Majerus from the mid 1990’s to the mid 2000’s.

2013-14 Record: 21-12, 9-9
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak
Coach Record: 42-55 at Utah, 84-75 overall

Who’s Out:
Utah graduated one senior off last season’s team, Renan Lenz, who started 14 games and averaged 4.6 points per game last season. But that wasn’t the end of the departures for the Utes. Utah was riddled by departures, losing three players to transfers and one to a mission. Princeton Onwas, who transferred to San Jose State, saw the most time out of the departing players, scoring 4.8 points per game while playing just under 18 minutes. Guard Ahmad Fields, who tallied 3.3 points per game as a freshman, and forward Marko Kovacevic, 1.7 points per game, both joined Onwas in transferring, while guard Parker Van Dyke heads on his mission after averaging 2.5 points per game last year.

Who’s In:
Forward Brekkott Chapman was a big get for the Utes. The 6-foot-8 Utah native was a consensus four-star recruit and a top 100 player nationally and he should see some immediate playing time for Utah this season. With just two returning players standing taller than 6-foot-6, Chapman has an opportunity to slide into the starting lineup at the power forward slot. Joining Chapman in the frontcourt will be forward Kyle Kuzma and center Jakob Poeltl. A product of Flint, Michigan, Kuzma drew four-stars from ESPN after averaging 22 points and seven rebounds at Rise Academy last year, while Poeltl, a seven-footer, captained Austria’s U-18 National Team at the European Championships. Isaiah Wright, last year’s Gatorade Player of the Year and 5A Player of the Year in the state of the Idaho, will be in the mix in the backcourt, and Chris Reyes, a sophomore transfer from Citrus College in California, could see time on the wing. Utah also brought in Eris Winder, a 6-foot-1 guard that spent last year as a post-graduate at Elev8 Sports Institute, and Jake Connor, the son of assistant coach Tommy Connor.

Who to Watch:
Utah has a trio of starters back in point guard Brandon Taylor, off-guard Delon Wright and small forward Jordan Loveridge. All three averaged double figures scoring while starting all 33 games last year. Taylor hit a team-high 64 three pointers last season and made over 40 percent of his long-range attempts in conference play. Wright was Utah’s best player last season after transferring in from junior college, earning First Team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors. Wright led the Utes in scoring, assists, steals, blocks and minutes played. Loveridge rounds out the group and he has the potential to be a star for the Utes. A former ESPN Top 100 recruit and the 2012 Utah 5A Player of the Year, Loveridge averaged was second on the team in scoring, 14.7 points per game, and led the Utes in rebounding, averaging seven per game. Krystkowiak also has the luxury of a pair of veterans returning to his bench behind the trio. Dakari Tucker, a 6-foot-5 wing, is back for his junior season after averaging 6.8 points per game while starting 22 games last year. Tucker was the top long-range threat alongside Taylor, shooting just under 40 percent from three-point range on the season. Kenneth Ogbe rounds out the backcourt returnees. A native of Germany, Ogbe spent this summer playing for Germany’s U-20 National team, building on a freshman season where he averaged 2.9 points per game.

Final Projection:
Utah will need some improvement out of their frontcourt if they are to break into the NCAA Tournament. Improving the production starts with the two big man returnees, Dallun Bachynski and Jeremy Olsen. Bachynski averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last year after transferring in from Southern Utah, while Olsen averaged 5.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in his first season back from his LDS church mission. If one of the two can take control of the center spot in their second season on campus, Utah should see improved results. Utah already has an established backcourt, and an established frontcourt to go along with it could make Utah a well-rounded team that should find themselves in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Taylor, Junior, Guard, 10.6 points per game
Delon Wright, Senior, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Jordan Loveridge, Junior, Forward, 14.7 points per game
Brekkott Chapman, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Dallin Bachynski, Senior, Center, 6.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.1 (64th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.3 (44, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.8 (14, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (62, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (167, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (134, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (30, 4)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (57, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (29, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (140, 9)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#34 Delon Wright

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#57 Brekkott Chapman


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