We’ve all had come to grips with how far Utah basketball has fallen from Majerus days in the tenure of its last three former coaches. No high school kid coming into college remembers those days or the Runnin’ Utes. Utah is starting from zero, if not less than zero.
Utah needs to have a competitive package, viz-a-viz NIL, to entice better players to commit. Utah’s deep pocket boosters have spend a lot of money over the last six years in particular upgrading Utah’s facilities. They may be tapped out at the moment, but clearly Utah needs its boosters, particularly those owning businesses in Utah, to help the program out. I may be wrong here but that seems to be the new reality in college sports.
Battin just entered the transfer portal and I don’t think he will be the last Ute to do so. I can actually hear Smith and other coaches tell him that he cannot be promised more playing time for his last season in college basketball. So he is leaving. A friend of mine who occasionally posts here shared that most kids entering the transfer portal come from programs that lost their coach this season. And they are the better players on those teams. We witnessed exactly that at Utah last year, where the kids just wanted to play for a better team, and many if not most of them achieved that. Therein lies an opportunity and drawback for Craig Smith and Utah. All the Utes can go on is Smith’s demonstrated ability to resuscitate programs. Utah is going to face this challenge.
As far as last season is concerned, the team had few breaks and almost no luck. One needed if not crucial power forward was dismissed from the team. Carlson was a walking invalid, Covid, appendicitis, and leg injuries. One player experienced a season ending injury before the season got underway. Stefanovic has his injuries issues as well. And the team is composed of parts, a number of freshman.
Utah lost what 2-9 in games decided by less than five points. It was disappointing to witness the team find a way to lose in the last two or three minutes. If those games were 50/50, Utah would have won say three to five more games. But that did not happen.
My view is that next year will be better, but not by much. I hate to say that but I’m just trying to be pragmatic. On the other hand, maybe Craig Smith is as good as advertised, and the team finds a way to be competitive not only in the preseason but in conference play.
The Portal and NIL together are like the 250 mile line of tornados.
We see the ads with Cam Rising for Les Olson Company - that’s as legit as NIL could ever be.
But is there any requirement that NIL deal are profitable? Why couldn’t we have a Big Donor who is willing to sponsor a NIL - for coffee mugs and t-shirts, or whatever - to the tune of $50K minimum, and get them involved up front in the recruiting process?
Until we revive Ute basketball some of those NILs will have to be a loss-leader.
Some of those were bad. It didn’t appear that the players were well coached about what to do in those situations.
I agree. I expect more of the same next season. Maybe Smith will bring in some really talented transfers and the Utes will be a lot better. The HS players he’s going after don’t seem to be PAC level recruits. I’m not seeing any of them with high level offers, and he hasn’t gotten any of them to commit anyway.
I go to games with a friend who thinks Smith is a better “game day coach” than LK ever was. I had the opposite opinion, I think LK and Tommy Connor brought better plays and attention to detail. Usually when a coach is let go and the new guy comes in, the change is noticeable that the new guy brings in some toughness and attention to detail that the fired coach wasn’t providing. So far I haven’t seen either of those things from Smith.
I’m sure the guy in Western Washington will label me as an idiot for my concerns but I think my concerns are based in the product on the court.
This recruiting offseason will tell us a lot. I want Smith to succeed, I don’t want to go through this again in four years but I’m not super confident.
the jury is still out on how good a game coach Smith will be but you are forgetting the multitude of end game fiascos Utah had under Larry. I really liked Larry but even I can admit he had some massive troubles. Hell he was famous for us not getting the ball inbounded.
Meh. Midweek baseball games are famous for not being the most important. They usually save their best pitchers for the weekend series, which usually leads to less than desirable results in Tuesday games.
The title of this thread is really obnoxious and just plain dumb, after one season and what was in the cupboard. What if we had one that said, “So glad Larry Krystkowiak is fired.” Would that be cool? Be a credit to this place?
Agreed, but it was Operaman who started this thread, and he has been rather unhappy with Craig Smith. He’s been unhappy w/o reason IMO, because Smith got hired late, and didn’t have much to work with, in regard to recruiting, let alone the injuries this past season. My feeling is give Smith at least 1 more season before the fire him talk should fire up. Let’s see what he can do with a full recruiting season, and the portal.
edit I see someone changed the thread title, to a much more appropriate, NOT fire Smith.
Maybe Utah could get some of their players? Or even St. Peter’s? I heard a bunch of their players are transferring because their coach took the Seton Hall job. Almost like your coach leaving causes players to transfer or something.