Craig Smith Addresses Roster, Coaching Staff For Utah Basketball

Apr 14, 2022, 11:15 AM
Craig Smith - Utah Utes vs. BYU...
Utah Utes head coach Craig Smith shouts in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah men’s basketball head coach Craig Smith has had a busy week that is paying off with big moves to his roster and coaching staff.

Craig Smith joined DJ & PK on The Zone Sports Network on Thursday morning to talk about the off-season and how he can improve the program entering his second season at the helm.

You can listen to the full interview, below.

Coaching Staff Changes For Craig Smith

After one season at Utah, Smith has already seen changes to his coaching staff. Eric Peterson was named the head coach at South Dakota and brought Utah’s director of scouting Brandon Ubel with him.

“Eric Peterson left to be the head coach at the University of South Dakota and we’re so excited for him and his family,” Smith said. “Eric and I have been together for eight years, all four years at University of South Dakota then all three years at Utah State and, of course, this past year at the University of Utah, and he’s gonna do a heck of a job. He’s a great coach, a great mentor of men, a fantastic recruiter.”

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Smith hired BYU assistant and former Runnin’ Utes player Chris Burgess to the same position. That news is not official, so Smith couldn’t confirm that.

“I can’t really comment on specifics until everything checks out,” said Smith. “So, we’re working diligently on those positions, and I really couldn’t be more excited about the direction things are going. I’ll leave it at that.”

Two Recruits Added To Utah Basketball Roster

Recruits were able to sign their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. Smith added Canadian guard Wilguens Exacte Jr. The Utah head coach expanded on the addition of the NBA Academy Latin America guard.

“Wil Exacte is signed and I know he committed during our game at Arizona, but Wil is a 6’6, 225-pound guard. He is just kind of a do it all guy. He’s a strong, physical, tough guy. He’s relentless on both ends of the floor, got to tighten up some things, specifically offensively, he’s an elite defender, and a very good athlete. He’s very versatile, he can play a lot of different positions on the floor. He’s the most humble guy you’ll ever meet. I think he’s gonna make a very good career for us.”

Smith received the paperwork from Keba Keita just before the interview and was allowed to talk about the addition from Wasatch Academy.

“Keba Keita from Wasatch Academy, he’ll be joining us as well,” Smith said. “6’9, 225-pounds and that dude is ferocious. He just plays the game with ferocity that you just don’t find very often. Wil has that as a guard and Keba has that. I mean, the dunks and the rebounds, the dude is a highlight reel. He started playing basketball late, like three or four years ago. So it’s been fun to see his progression. He is clearly a better player this year than he was his junior year in high school. He’s got work to do, but he is relentless in his effort. He’s passionate about basketball.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider forย KSLSports.com. Follow him on Twitter:ย @TrevorASports.

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Craig Smith Addresses Roster, Coaching Staff For Utah Basketball