New era of Utah basketball


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    • #141331
      15

      MDUte
      Ute Fan
      @mdute

      I really didn’t know anything about Craig Smith prior to his hiring. But I’ve been trying to get caught up reading up on him and watching recent Utah State games. I have to say, this hire looks very encouraging to me. Like most people, I was really pulling for Alex Jensen to take the job but maybe this will end up being a better situation for Utah basketball and for Alex as well, assuming Alex gets an NBA HC gig soon.

      But Smith checks all the boxes for me: 1) Proven winner….check; 2) Good recruiter/relationship builder….check; 3) Solid style of basketball played both offensively and defensively….check; 4) Player’s coach….check. His guys seem to really like him and like playing for him.

      After watching the Aggies play, I would think Allen and Plummer would rethink transferring out of the program. I have always felt LK’s rigid style held players back from playing their game. But Smith appears to be the opposite. His guys seem to have the freedom to play loose and aggressive while still maintaining great spacing, discipline, and sharing the ball. From what I was seeing, Allen and Plummer should thrive in Smith’s system. And I’m also optimistic that other guys will emerge to take on bigger roles under Smith than previously under LK. One that comes to mind is Pelle Larsson. IMO, he should be our starting PG for the next 3 years, not Rylan Jones. Larsson is a way better player than Jones. He has better size, way better athleticism, and is a much better shooter. He just needs a coach (hopefully like Smith) that taps into his potential and gives him the green light. And I’m sure there’s other players on the roster (Martinez for example) that a coach like Smith should get better production from given his coaching style. 

      Anyway, I’m really excited about the future of Ute Basketball under Smith. If he’s truly able to recruit and bring in a couple of highly talented dudes each year, his coaching style seems to be a home run for players to develop, excel, and put our program back where it belongs. Go Utes!

    • #141337
      5

      UteBacker
      Ute Fan
      @utebacker

      Thanks for this, MD. Great post (as usual). I’ve been away from hoop so long that I’m trying to catch up on where this team is at.

      • #141339
        3

        MDUte
        Ute Fan
        @mdute

        Thanks Backer! With our program in decline the past 5 years, I’ve completely fallen off the college basketball grid. I barely knew who our own players were let alone other coaches like Craig Smith. But I’m super excited to be getting back into Utah hoops again…it’s been too long!

    • #141342
      2

      Dresden_Stormblessed
      Ute Fan
      @dresden

      The way I see it is this…Looking at his career, there is no way he stays here longer than 5 years.

      I’ve got my fingers crossed that Craig is the Urban for Utah basketball. He’ll turn the program around, get a call from a big shot program, take it without question (mostly because he has no reason to stay loyal) and then we go knocking on Alex Jensen’s door in 3-5 years when he’s done what he’s wanted to do in NBA.

      Unless, of course, he gets poached by another NBA team.

      • #141343
        3

        UteBacker
        Ute Fan
        @utebacker

        Whoa, Dresden, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Smith may have a little more rebuilding to do than Urban and he doesn’t get to do it in the MWC.

      • #141347

        MDUte
        Ute Fan
        @mdute

        Great post. I didn’t even think about 5 years down the road because I’m so focused on whether Smith can really put the program back on top. But you’re right, he’s been a turn-around artist for his college coaching career with no allegiance to anyone. Each stop so far has been a stepping stone to somewhere better. And if successful at Utah, he’ll be highly sought after by every blue blood program that is down at the time. I would say, though, that we’ve shown to pay at the highest of levels of college basketball coaching. So maybe Harlan would pony up the cash to keep him at Utah.

        But if not, or if he chooses to leave for a new challenge at a bigger school, these are GREAT problems to have. It would mean that he’s put Utah basketball back on the map as a Top program. And if we were then able to get Alex Jensen it really would be like an Urban Meyer to K Whitt dream scenario.

        Admittedly, I’m getting way ahead of myself here. But first things first…let’s get our program rebuilt! Go Utes!

        • #141376

          PlainsUte
          Ute Fan
          @plainsute

          Utah was once a “blue blood” basketball school.   Well maybe not like Kentucky, but otherwise…

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