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Utah Men’s, Women’s Basketball Earn Preseason All-Pac-12 Selections Ahead Of Media Day

Oct 24, 2022, 2:56 PM

Pac-12 Tournament Logo...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 10: A Pac-12 logo is shown on the court during a game between the Washington State Cougars and the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first round of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY-ย Both men’s and women’s basketball earned some preseason All-Pac-12 selections ahead of Media Day on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Branden Carlson was named Preseason First-team All-Pac-12 by the media, while Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson made the All-Conference team for the women as well as Kennady McQueen earning an honorable mention.

A Look At Utah Men’s Basketball With Branden Carlson

Last season, in head coach Craig Smith’s first year at the helm of the Runnin’ Utes, the men went 11-20 while finishing 11th in the Pac-12. Smith and his coaching staff set to work immediately after the season wrapped up to shore up their lineup in preparation for a better 2022-2023 season.

In particular, Smith and crew sought out more length and athleticism for the 2022-2023 team and appear to have improved that substantially. Center Branden Carlson is a big factor in what Utah hopes to do on the court this year, partially due to his size at 7′, but also because he’s one of the lone holdovers from teams past.

Carlson’s Pac-12 nod was the first for the Runnin’ Utes since Timmy Allen in 2020-2021. Last season Carlson averaged 13.6 points per game while also reeling in 6 rebounds per game. Coach Smith will need similar production and leadership from his big man heading into the upcoming season.

A Look At Utah Women’s Basketball With Gianna Kneepkens, Jenna Johnson, and Kennady McQueen

On the other hand, Utah’s women had a historically great year on the hardcourts in the 2021-2022 season under head coach Lynne Roberts. The women finished 21-12 with a magical run to the Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas against Stanford. While they came up short of the win, the team did earn their first NCAA Tournament bid in 11 years to play against Texas (unfortunately also a loss).

Roberts and her team are determined to continue building off of the success they had last season, and it seems like a pretty reasonable expectation giving the returners from last year’s team. Guard Gianna Kneepkens, forward Jenna Johnson, and guard Kennady McQueen all return from last year’s team and figure to factor into what many think will be another big season for the Utes.

Kneepkens was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year after appearing in 33 games and averaging 11.8 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Johnson earned Pac-12 Freshman of the week honors three times last season for Utah. She averaged 12 points per game and 4.1 rebounds. Johnson was a phenom putting points on the board, leading the Utes in scoring 11 times last season, while also posting 17 double-digit games.

McQueen earned Pac-12 Honorable Mentions last season while putting up 9.6 points per game, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists. McQueen ranked first in the Pac-12 and eighth nationally in three-point field goal percentage making 44.2% of her shots.

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Utah Men’s, Women’s Basketball Earn Preseason All-Pac-12 Selections Ahead Of Media Day