Future For Utah Utes Basketball Is Bright

Mar 14, 2020, 11:38 AM

Utah men's basketball team takes the floor...

Mikael Jantunen #20, Branden Carlson #35, Both Gach #11, Jaxon Brenchley #5 and Timmy Allen #1 of the Utah Utes walk on the court after a timeout duringa first-round game of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament against the Oregon State Beavers at T-Mobile Arena on March 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Beavers defeated the Utes 71-69. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After finishing the 2019-20 season in ninth place in the Pac-12 standings, the Utah Utes basketball team has a bright future ahead of them.

Entering the season, Utah had the third youngest team in the entire country with 12 new faces including 11 freshmen.

The Utes still managed to win 16 games with 15 losses and went 7-11 in Pac-12 play. They nearly knocked off the Oregon State Beavers in the conference tournament but a late three by OSU with one second left put the Beavers into the quarterfinals.

The season had many highs along with many lows but it all came back to a young team that was learning as they went through the year.

They set an NCAA record with a 94-point win over Mississippi Valley State. Utah also had big wins over Minnesota at home along with a overtime-thrilling victory over rival BYU before knocking off No. 6 Kentucky at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Returning Talent

Barring any transfers this off-season, the Utes will return all of their players that received significant minutes this past season. Timmy Allen is at the top of the list. The All-Pac-12 second team selection averaged 17 points per game for the Utes.

Fellow sophomore Both Gach will be back next season as a junior and will look to have a more complete season compared to 2019-20. Gach had a great start to the season before getting injured and returned to a long shooting slump where he struggled mightily until the last three games of the season.

Another player to watch as he progresses is Mikael Jantunen who has shown his ability to be physical and do all of the necessary things to help his team win.

Freshmen Rylan Jones and Branden Carlson played a huge role for the team this past season as regular starters. Jones made some big shots in some key moments while Carlson showed how high his ceiling is with this program especially as a shot blocker.

Jaxon Brenchley made significant strides along with Alfonso Plummer who set the Pac-12 single game, single tournament and school record with 11 made three-pointers in the game against Oregon State. The incoming senior will have an increased role with the Utes in 2020-21.

Great Recruiting Class

Larry Krystkowiak and his staff signed one of the best recruiting classes in program history. According to 247 Sports, Utah signed the top class in the Pac-12 and the 27th best in the country.

Four-star prospect Ian Martinez will challenge for immediate minutes in the backcourt and is expected to have a positive impact on the team when he arrives on campus.

Three-star recruit from Wasatch Academy Caleb Lohner will provide needed depth at the wing position and give Timmy Allen some assistance at the forward postion.

Swedish combo-guard Pelle Larsson along with Sky View star guard Mason Falslev will create a competition for playing time in the backcourt for the upcoming season.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Future For Utah Utes Basketball Is Bright