The guys just had 2 weeks off to head home and fill up the tank. They are back this week to start the grind of the season. Here are my predictions based on what I heard about the summer workouts. One man’s opinion in Aug. a lot can change by Nov.
I think we go 7-2 in the pre-season. We lose one we aren’t supposed to and one close one to a P5 school.
I think we go 13-7 in conference play. That puts us 4th or 5th with a 20-9 record. After the run the Pac 12 had in the tournament last year I think we get a few more teams in the big dance including the Utes. Obviously, we then make a cinderella run to the Final 4 and the rest is history.
C Branden Carlson 7’0-----Dusan Machorvic 6’10 SR - JR Lahat Thioune 6-10 JR
F Riley Battin 6’9 SR -------Bostyn Holt 6-7 JR
G Both Gach 6’6 SR -------Gabe Madsen 6-5 SO --Jaxon Brenchley 6-5 JR
G Marco Anthony 6’5 SR - David Jenkins 6’2 SR
G Rollie Worster 6’3 SO --Lazar Stefanovic 6-6 FR
If history repeats itself with Coach Smith run teams, we will be one of the top teams in the conference defensively. This team has the makings of a great defensive team. That keeps us in a lot of games. We have a bunch of upper-classmen. Although most are new to the system, it should make the transition easier.
Scoring night in and night out is my biggest question mark. Who is going to be the go-to guy/closer. Who will the offense be run through. Will it be inside out with our bigs or more perimeter-oriented. FWIW last year Smith ran everything through Queta.
I’ve heard Carlson has improved his game in the post and is our best pick and roll pick and pop option. I have a feeling we will see a lot of that this year. He has made big strides from last season. Dusan has been getting most of his minutes at the 5 spot. He is a force.
Riley will be what he has been a steady vet that gives you a little of everything.
With Both and Marco we get the slasher shooter combo (Marco’s form is … something). Both of them are not great passers but have flashes of potential on that front. They are catch and go guys.
Both will be the get majority of the backup pg min with Marco filling in at times. Which is does not say much for our pg position. That is a lot of pressure on Rollie. The staff seems to think he’s up for the job. I think he could he will be a big surprise to the conference.
Jenkins is not a primary ball-handler. Great at scoring not at getting others involved. Him coming off the bench could be a perfect change of pace to Marco/Rollie. Like 6th man of the year good if he buys in. If Lazar steps up having shooters like Gabe and Jaxon with an athlete like Bostyn would be really fun to see coming off the bench.
Lazar missing the summer puts him behind on a lot of the defensive concepts. Which typically euros struggle with out of the gate. If he picks those up quick he might fight for more PT.
We are super thin at the athletic 3 and 4 spot. A young 3/4 type player to develop would be nice. Bolt and Thioune will get some run. Defense is going to need to be a priority for them.
What are your thoughts and predictions? 78 days till college basketball starts, I can’t wait! Go Utes!!