SPORTS

Craig Smith Enthusiastic About ’22-’23 Utah Basketball

Sep 26, 2022, 4:49 PM

Craig Smith - Utah Utes Practice...

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah basketball officially got back to work in preparation for their 2022-2023 campaign and head coach Craig Smith could not hide his enthusiasm for the group. Last year was rough for Smith’s group only going 11-20. However, Smith and the rest of his coaching staff went to work revamping the roster and trying to eliminate the weaknesses that plagued them in 2021-2022.

So far, Smith is pleased with the work his group has put in, noting they have done more team work over the summer than usual to try and get everyone ready to go. Smith was also quick to point out the work they have done in the gym in an attempt to be more physical in the coming year.

 

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Smith was very adamant that people will notice a difference in the Utah basketball roster from a physical standpoint. The coaching staff went to work finding guys with longer wing-spans, more quickness, and athleticism to compete better with the teams they face each week in the Pac-12.

“We are different,” Smith said. “We can maybe make a few more mistakes and recover just because we are little quicker, bigger- all of our new guys even though their height might not be crazy, we are very long. We’re a lot longer, we’re a lot more athletic, a lot more physical. A lot quicker to the ball and so those gaps that were a little bigger last year close down quicker with this year’s team. I think we will be a much better rebounding team, which we needed to be.”

Smith noted with so many new players on the team- there are eight, that vetting guys while recruiting them is crucial. Finding guys that live, breathe, and eat basketball was a must and Smith says it’s been showing up in practices in a way it wasn’t last year.

“I’d say in terms of just leadership, I think it’s our upper classmen,” Smith said. “When I say ‘upper classmen’, there are a lot of ways to view that because of the whole Covid year. There are a lot of guys who get five years of eligibility, so I look at it- technically, Marco Anthony is the only guy exhausting his college career this year. Marco has been a great leader, Branden Carlson has been outstanding. Jaxon Brenchly, upper classmen, veteran guy, fourth year has had a very good voice.”

“Of the new guys- they have all had their spots,” Smith continued. “The most vocal guy is Gavin Baxter who hasn’t been able to play. He’s been doing limited drill work, but he’s got a great voice and he’s a veteran guy and obviously an upper classmen. I love what all of these new guys are bringing to the table. I love what our returners have done. I’d say those are the guys who have stood out and they are the upper classmen.”

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Craig Smith Enthusiastic About ’22-’23 Utah Basketball