Marco Anthony Believes Utah Hoops Will Have A Winning Culture Under Craig Smith

Jun 30, 2021, 10:12 AM | Updated: Dec 8, 2022, 11:20 am
Marco Anthony - Utah State Aggies vs. San Jose State Spartans...
(Photo courtesy of Eli Lucero, Herald Journal)
(Photo courtesy of Eli Lucero, Herald Journal)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With a coaching change taking place for Utah basketball by hiring Craig Smith, Marco Anthony believes a winning culture is coming.

Marco Anthony played for Craig Smith at Utah State last season and came across the country from Virginia because of the former Aggie head coach. Now, he followed Coach Smith to Salt Lake City and will be a player to watch for with the Runnin’ Utes this season.

Anthony joined the Crimson Corner podcast to discuss his time at Virginia, Utah State and the last few months with Utah, as well as his relationship with Craig Smith.

You can listen to the full interview below.

Relationship With Craig Smith

Anthony won a national championship with Virginia in 2019. He entered the transfer portal after that season and committed to Utah State. He explained why he went across the country from Virginia to Logan, Utah.

“Coach (Craig) Smith,” Anthony told KSL Sports. “When I was coming out of high school, Coach Smith and Coach (Eric) Peterson, they recruited me really hard when I was on my AAU circuit and those guys just thought the world of me. I got the Virginia offer, I had to go there. But whenever I announced that I was transferring, they were one of the first ones to call. I have a relationship with a few guys that played under Coach Smith when he was at South Dakota and I went up to them and I just talked with them and asked them just how Coach Smith is. They told me nothing but great things. So, I really valued their word and I’m here.”

Anthony and Rollie Worster are the only two players who have previously played for Craig Smith on this roster. Marco gave a unique perspective of who Smith is as a person and a coach.

“Just a very energetic, very trustworthy guy,” Anthony stated. “I mean, if he tells you to jump off a bridge, he would somehow make it seem like a good idea to do so, if you do that, then it’ll probably end up good just from how he influences people and just the energy he always brings. He never goes back against this word.  He’s amazing person, amazing coach, but even a better person.”

How Easy Was It For Marco Anthony To Join The Runnin’ Utes?

It didn’t take long for Anthony to enter the transfer portal while at Utah State and quickly commit to Utah when Craig Smith left the Aggies to be the head coach of the Utes.

“Coach Smith just came calling directly and was like ‘Marco, you know I still think the world of you and if you want to come be a Ute, I got a spot for you. So that was enough for me,” Anthony said.

What stands out about Craig Smith is his consistent energy and positive attitude. Anthony said that what you see is what you get from Coach Smith.

“The same person that you see on the sidelines and interviews, that’s the same exact person you get behind the scenes and practice and just throughout anything,” Anthony stated. “He’s always an energetic guy, he always has his cup of coffee. He’s always 110 percent whatever he does, so that’s just great to have, great to be around.”

What To Expect From Utah Basketball This Season

With so many veteran players joining the team, it’s still a new group that needs to gain chemistry as a team. Anthony was asked what to expect from the Runnin’ Utes this season.

“Expect a lot of energy, expect a winning culture,” Anthony stated. “We don’t back down from anybody, we’re here to win. This is just a bunch of guys with one common goal. No individual statistics, individual plans, but we’re trying to make something happen over here and get Salt Lake City back on top.”

Anthony and the Runnin’ Utes will start their season in November.

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Marco Anthony Believes Utah Hoops Will Have A Winning Culture Under Craig Smith