Utah Utes basketball: Utah just another opponent for Carlon Brown
"We kind of struggled my junior year because we were a brand new team and we didn't have great chemistry," Brown said. "Pretty much, we didn't have camaraderie about us. So we were unable to win games on the road, at the Huntsman Center. It was just a mess."
As such, Brown notes that new Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has a lot of work ahead of him.
"I'm sure he and his staff are doing everything they can to turn the fortune of that program around," Brown said. "It's just an unfortunate situation to go from conference champs to a below .500 season, but that's the way the game goes in college basketball. Sometimes your program is hot, sometimes it's not."
Programs that maintain success like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, he added, are in college basketball's upper echelon for a reason. It's all about recruiting and who you get in there to fill certain voids.
Brown expects Utah's historic move to the Pac-12 to pay dividends with all of the school's sports programs. They'll get better, he explained, because of people like athletic department administrators Dr. Chris Hill and Mary Bowman.
"They do a great job," Brown said. "So I expect to see them turn everything around."
Even though he's all about Colorado now, Brown wishes the folks up on the hill well.
"I don't have any ill feelings towards the University of Utah. They provided me with an education for three years," Brown said. "… I had some very good professors while I was there and some very good people in the athletics department that I would love to see this weekend and thank. I really enjoyed my time there."
Brown may see some other familiar faces as well. It's "Alumni Weekend" for the Utah basketball program.
"I didn't hear that," Brown said. "But hopefully I get to see some of my teammates."
It's a certainty with Chris Hines, Jason Washburn and David Foster still on the Utah roster. Brown has maintained a friendship with Hines. They talk to each other about every two weeks.
"I wish him the best and the rest of their team as well," Brown said.
Hines acknowledged it'll be kind of strange to play against his former teammate in the Huntsman Center. But at the same time, he continued, it's going to be exciting.
"It is weird. I thought when he left I was going to watch him on TV or something — not to be here with him and playing against him," Hines said before joking about a possible matchup Saturday. "He's 6-5. He's got a fat head. I don't know if I can hang with him in the post, but probably out on the perimeter."
In seriousness, though, Hines had kind things to say about Brown.
"When he was here he loved the University of Utah," Hines said. "He played hard every game."
Aside from "just a couple of situations with maybe the staff" that weren't "so cool," Hines thought Brown enjoyed his time at Utah.
Krystkowiak, thus, doesn't expect Brown's homecoming, of sorts, to be a big distraction Saturday.
"We're not talking about it much. We didn't have a whole lot to do with it," Krystkowiak said. "That's kind of water under the bridge. It's more about right now for us. It probably is the same for him."
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Colorado (17-8, 9-4) at Utah (5-20, 2-11)
Saturday, 3 p.m. (MT)
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