Joining Utah Basketball Was ‘Best-Case Scenario’ For Gabe Madsen

Jul 18, 2021, 12:46 PM
Gabe Madsen - Utah Utes...
(Photo courtesy of Forrest Gmitro, Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Forrest Gmitro, Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The first commitment from the transfer portal in the Craig Smith era is Gabe Madsen, who felt Utah basketball was best-case scenario.

After one season at Cincinnati, Gabe Madsen decided to leave the Bearcats and was one of the first additions to the Utah basketball program under Craig Smith.

The Crimson Corner podcast caught up with Madsen to discuss his time at Cincinnati, why he joined the Runnin’ Utes and much more.

You can listen to the full interview below.

Who Is Gabe Madsen?

Not a lot of people know of Gabe Madsen in Salt Lake City or the state of Utah especially with his limited experience in college basketball. So KSL Sports asked him who he is on and off the court.

“That’s a loaded question,” Madsen told KSL Sports. “I do a lot of things, obviously, people probably know me more of like a scorer. I’m always trying to develop my game more and more defensively and keep getting better at that. I think I’m a good distributor of the ball, just make the right play. I just know how to play basketball. That’s something I always grew up doing. My dad was my coach for pretty much my whole life and he was pretty progressive with the way he thinks and the way he teaches basketball I think that kind of bled into who I am. So just growing up, a lot of emotion. I think I just know how to play basketball pretty well.

Madsen discussed his love for nature as something he does in his spare time when he is not playing basketball.

“Off the court, I love spending time in nature,” Madsen said. “I think that’s why I really like being out here is the endless amounts of nature and hiking. I’m always outside doing something usually hiking. I dabble a little bit of rock climbing here and there. I play the guitar pretty badly. I like to not be just a basketball player. I like to do other things. So I think that’s important in life. Someday basketball is gonna come to an end. I have to have other things that I like to do. So I think that’s good to have at this age.”

Decision To Sit Out Last Season

When Madsen was at Cincinnati as a freshman during the 2020-21 season, he played in two games before sitting out for the rest of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds. The Rochester, Minnesota native talked about his decision to sit out most of last season.

“It’s definitely not easy,” Madsen stated. “Basketball is something that I love and love playing it. It’s hard to step away from it. But you know, sometimes you got to do what’s best for you. It all all worked out great because I’m here and I love to here, I love my team and coaches and living here.”

Madsen went into why he left Cincinnati and joined the Utah basketball program.

“You can go into some other things but I got nothing respect for those coaches and staff,” Madsen said. “Obviously, we got Coach (Tim) Morris here, that’s my guy, love him. But, you know, I got nothing but respect for those coaches, and I never wanted that to happen, to Coach Brannen or anything, that was never the intention or anything like that. I just had to focus on myself. It wasn’t exactly what I thought I wanted. COVID obviously made everything a little bit more difficult. So I just had to step away from the program and do what was best for me because at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. It all ended up working out because now I’m back at it, I am loving it here. So this is best case scenario here.”

How Gabe Madsen Joined Utah Basketball

As the first player to transfer to Utah when Craig Smith took the head coaching job, Madsen took a more active and efficient approach to his recruitment when entering the portal.

“It was pretty hectic at first, a lot of coaches calling and whatnot,” Madsen mentioned. “But this time around, I kind of knew more of what I was looking for. I was telling coaches no early on, not wasting time because I knew what I was looking for already having gone through it. I think that’s something that’s beneficial too. That first time around, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking for. It’s like one of the few things in life where you have to make a decision that’s not permanent, but temporary for a long time where you don’t actually get experience and know what you want. It was nice this time around having to know more of what I was looking for, and what meant the most to me. So it was pretty quick. Once I found what I was looking for, there was no point really waiting.”

What was the reason why Madsen picked Utah? It was the relationship with the coaching staff and playing in the Pac-12 Conference.

“I really liked the talks I’ve had with the coaches,” Madsen said. I already had a pretty good relationship with Coach P. (Eric Peterson) From first time around, he recruited me a little bit at Utah State and they recruited me a little bit right out of the portal when they were at Utah State still, and then when they got the Utah job. So I already had a good relationship with them. The Pac-12 is more of my style, I’d say playing, their style as a team and it just fit me really well and I get to live out in Salt Lake City, so that’s a added bonus.”

Madsen and the Runnin’ Utes will begin 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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Joining Utah Basketball Was ‘Best-Case Scenario’ For Gabe Madsen