Center Branden Carlson Recognized As Pac-12 Player Of The Week

Jan 23, 2023, 3:49 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – There is no questioning the importance of center Branden Carlson in Craig Smith’s rebuild of the Runnin’ Utes so the Pac-12 recognized him as their POTW after a career weekend.

Carlson averaged 26.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals to go with a .724 (21-of-29) shooting against Washington State on Thursday and Washington on Saturday while helping the Utes gain ground to second place halfway through Pac-12 play.

The talented big man from South Jordan, Utah started his week with a career-high 28 points against the Cougars which was the third time this season Carlson has bested his previous career-high. Carlson was near perfect Thursday night going 11-of-12 from the floor.

Carlson followed up that performance scoring a game-high 25 points against the Huskies on 10-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds, three blocks and a new career-high three steals. Carlson’s efforts made him the first Runnin’ Ute to score 25 or more points in consecutive games since Andrew Bogut did in 2004-05. He also became the first Ute to score 20-plus points in three-straight games since Timmy Allen in 2019-20.

Carlson Reflects On Choosing To Stay At Utah

Carlson’s recent successes and the team’s at large can all be attributed to “trusting the process” as Utah football often likes to talk about.

Carlson came to the Utes with the intention of playing for former head coach Larry Krystkowiak which he did for his first two seasons in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Krystkowiak was not retained heading into Carlson’s junior year last season which brought about natural questions as to whether he would stay or possibly go somewhere else.

Carlson talked a little about making the transition from Krystkowiak to Smith after Utah’s big win over Washington on Saturday. The big reflected on the conversation he and Smith had about his future with the Utes moving forward and how glad he is that things have been working out well in year two under coach Smith.

“When he first came in- the way he talked to me and told me how he saw things going with this program and with me- his expectations with me and my expectations for staying here at Utah and playing for him- we just saw eye-to-eye,” Carlson said of his decision to stay. “Things are turning out great and I’m glad I’m here. I love this program.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Center Branden Carlson Recognized As Pac-12 Player Of The Week