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Casey Jacobsen: Utah Needs To Improve Their Point Guard Production

Casey Jacobsen #23 of the Phoenix Suns shoots a free throw against the Washington Wizards during the game at MCI Center on January 30, 2004 in Washington, D.C. The Wizards won 105-100. (Photo by: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Pac-12 and FOX Sports college basketball analyst Casey Jacobsen wants to see better point guard play from Utah.

It’s the position that has had the most turnover since Craig Smith became the head coach but Casey Jacobsen believes that’s what Utah needs in order to contend in the Pac-12.

The former Stanford All-American, NBA guard and Pac-12 Hall of Famer joined the Crimson Corner podcast via live stream to discuss the Runnin’ Utes.

“If there’s one area that I would really like to see some improvement, the most besides replacing what Timmy Allen, you know, his stats that are walking out the door, I would really like to see them improve their point guard production,” Jacobsen told KSL Sports. “To me, I always start with the point guards, the reason why Oregon has been really good, the best team in the Pac-12 over the last 10 years is because they have a really good guard play. Payton Pritchard was awesome. The reason Washington had that one good year in Mike Hopkins’ first year is because Matisse Thybulle was basically the point guard on defense. He wasn’t the point guard on offense, but on defense. They were one of the best defensive teams in the country because of that.

“That point guard, that lead either defender or offensive player is just massive,” Jacobsen added. “UCLA has Tyger Campbell, who isn’t an NBA stud to me. But he is a fantastic college point guard. He’s steady, consistent and that’s why UCLA was relatively consistent. I know they lost the last five regular season games and were limping into to the NCAA tournament and just flipped the switch and turned it around. But when you watch them in the tournament, Tyger Campbell had complete command of that offense, he controlled the tempo of games. When I watched Utah over the last couple of years, they struggle with defending really good, athletic and strong point guards, and they don’t really control the tempo. That makes it difficult. If you want to play a certain style, you have to have a point guard that knows everything and can calm a game down or speed a game up. I’d like to see better point guard play from the Utes.”

Casey Jacobsen Believes Utah C Branden Carlson Could Be Pac-12 Most Improved Player

Even though seven players from last year’s team has left the program, one of the very few coming back to Salt Lake City is center Branden Carlson. Jacobsen is a big fan of his game and believes he could have a breakout season in 2021-22.

“Branden Carlson is one of my – we always call breakout stars – like who do we think is going to take that next big step?” Jacobsen stated. “To me Branden Carlson is really on that list. He played less than 25 minutes a game and averaged almost double digit points per game, but I think he has so much potential to be an inside/outside threat on the offensive end. He also has really nice instincts as a defensive rim protector and a smart defender, certainly as a skinny guy, but you know bigs take a little bit longer to develop unless they’re total freaks does like Deandre Ayton, but most big guys take a year or two or three to finally pop. I think that Branden Carlson is in line to be that guy to really pop kind of like a most improved award candidate. I could totally see it going to Branden Carlson next year.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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