Rollie Worster: New Utah Players Will Continue Working To Build Team Chemistry

Jul 14, 2021, 11:20 AM
Rollie Worster - Utah Utes...
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah men’s basketball team has a lot of new faces coming into the program including guard Rollie Worster.

Just like in any team sport, building chemistry is one of the most important things to a team’s success, and Rollie Worster and the Utah basketball team understands that.

The former Utah State guard joined the Crimson Corner podcast to discuss his transition from Logan to Salt Lake City, playing for Craig Smith and what to expect this season.

You can listen to the full interview below.

Joining Utah Was A Quick Process For Rollie Worster

When Craig Smith took the Utah job and left Utah State, Worster entered the transfer portal. While in the portal, Worster knew he wanted to join Utah.

“Right away,” Worster told KSL Sports. “I knew entering into the portal, that that’s where I’d want to go and follow Coach Smith and some of our staff that came down here as well if they wanted me. I honestly was hoping and thought they would. So as soon as they contacted me, I was all in and ready to be a Ute.”

Worster didn’t know much about the Runnin’ Utes program before joining the team from Utah State. But he learned about the tradition quickly.

“Not too much,” Worster said. “My uncle played at Weber State back in the day. So I kinda knew, he talked about some rivalries, how they used to play all the in-state games and stuff. But I didn’t know a ton. The first thing I found out was I couldn’t wear No. 24 anymore, because that’s retired. But besides that I didn’t know a ton, but coming in through the practice facility though reading all the names and the history behind the program. It’s a storied program. I’m just super glad to be part of it.”

Why Worster Went To Utah State

As we talk to these new players for the Utes about their journey to their last school and why they joined Utah, it is becoming pretty clear that Craig Smith builds strong relationships with all of his players. That’s why Worster joined Utah State out of high school.

“Definitely the coaching staff and the environment they built there in the basketball program,” Worster said. “You know, I love Utah State and fell in love with that community and the school while I was there. But growing up, I didn’t know much about it or anything like that. It wasn’t like I was a die hard fan, they recruited me, and the way they run things, and how professional they are and how they treat their players was a big reason why I committed there.”

Worster averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his freshman season at Utah State in 2020-21. He has to transition from playing in the Mountain West to the Pac-12 and understands the challenge ahead of him.

“Just like in any transition, you just got to step your game up,” Worster mentioned. That’s what all the work in offseason is for. I know I’ve been working, my teammates, coaches, everyone’s been putting a lot of work into this and we will continue to do so for the season. But you kind of just know, you see the talent and watch TV and see the games so at least I know what I’m stepping into. I just got to elevate my game this year.”

Playing With So Many New Faces

It’s no secret that Craig Smith has basically built the Runnin’ Utes program from scratch with so many players leaving that were on the roster last season. Riley Battin, Lahat Thioune, Jaxon Brenchley, Eli Balstaedt, Jack Jamele, Harrison Creer and Branden Carlson are the only players back that were on the roster last year.

Smith had to bring in David Jenkins Jr. (UNLV), Both Gach (Minnesota), Bostyn Holt (Coffeyville CC), Marco Anthony (Utah State), Lazar Stefanovic (2021 signee), Dusan Mahorcic (Illinois State), Gabe Madsen (Cincinnati) and Rollie Worster to fill out his roster.

With so many new faces, it could be a challenge to get that team chemistry quickly and have it locked in before the season. Worster said it has been pretty easy playing with these guys in summer workouts.

“It’s been really easy for us,” Worster stated. “I think we all get along really well as a team on and off the floor, which is really great to start out with. I think now it’s just about building chemistry and learning where and how people like to play on the court and who works well together. But you know, just to bring all the these new guys in with the current roster that was left here, the guys that stayed stuck around. I think we have a lot of really good pieces and I think we should be pretty good. We just got to keep working hard to build that team chemistry.”

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

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

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