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Utah Utes basketball: Utes find a way to give back

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 9:06 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Perhaps they'll no longer be known as the Runnin' Utes.

How does the Servin' Utes sound?

For the past couple of months, Utah guard Jarred DuBois and several other student-athletes have been handing out sandwiches and bottled water to homeless folks in Salt Lake City parks. Although some of the items are donated, much of the cost is covered by the athletes.

The Sunday tradition began after DuBois attended a concert downtown in July and took note of the homeless population nearby. DuBois told The Daily Utah Chronicle (www.dailyutahchronicle) that while growing up in Inglewood, Calif., he would occasionally assist a group to feed the homeless on Saturday mornings. DuBois told the student newspaper that the volunteer work took a personal turn when his father lived in a car while assisting other family members financially.

DuBois, a graduate student who transferred to Utah from Loyola Marymount, thought something could be done in Salt Lake City as well. The Chrony noted that he enlisted teammates Brandon Taylor, Justin Seymour and Dakarai Tucker to help and things have taken off. Players from other Utah sports teams have joined the growing crew of volunteers.

"If we're not careful it could get carried away to a big athletic thing on Sunday," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak told the Deseret News. "It's pretty neat. I'm really proud of them all."

Krystkowiak's son Cameron is among those who have assisted in the effort.

BRAZIL TRIP: Although Utah's roster has undergone a massive overhaul once again, the Runnin' Utes picked up some valuable time together — thanks to a summer trip to Brazil.

"It was great from a basketball point of view in that we had all those days to practice leading up to it," Krystkowiak said. "We got a lot of things in and the kids are quite a bit further ahead on the learning curve, obviously, than if we didn't have that opportunity."

Krystkowiak noted that the team made a lot of strides in the practices and four games on the trip. The Utes went 2-2 and missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer in one of the setbacks.

"It gave us a real good sense of some of the players' strengths and weaknesses," Krystkowiak said. "We're down the road now where we got a lot of defensive stuff in, we put some plays in and when that second Saturday of October hits (the first day of practice) this just moves us more down the tracks and makes us a little more advanced."

True freshman Jordan Loveridge, of West Jordan, was Utah's leading scorer and rebounder on the trip.

FOSTER'S BACK: After missing all of last season with a broken foot, 7-foot-3 senior center David Foster is cleared for a return in 2012-13. Krystkowiak said Utah's career blocked shots leader (219) has a ways to go with his conditioning, however. He added that the Utes have the luxury of playing him in spurts because of the number of big men now in the program. Besides Foster, Dallin Bachynski (7-0), Jason Washburn (6-10),Renan Lenz (6-9) and Jeremy Olsen (6-10) are players on the active roster that are at least as tall as the 6-foot-9 Krystkowiak.

Email: dirk@desnews.comTwitter: @DirkFacer

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