Utah Utes basketball: Teammates? Jason Washburn's had quite a few
Ben Brewer, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Jason Washburn has seen a lot of changes in his basketball career at the University of Utah. Since joining the program in 2008, he's played for two head coaches (Jim Boylen, Larry Krystkowiak) and in a pair of conferences (Mountain West, Pac-12).
Big deal? Yes and no.
However, when it comes to the number of teammates Washburn has had, the numbers are staggering. According to research by Kyle Harris, associate director of communications for Utah athletics, Washburn has been joined by 55 others on Runnin' Ute rosters.
"This is astonishing. This is absolutely amazing," Washburn said while looking over the lengthy list. "This is a page-and-a-half worth of teammates that I've had, some for only a year and some for a couple of years."
Washburn reminisced about his redshirt year in 2008-09 and the seasons that followed.
"I miss so many of these guys. I played with so many good basketball players, so many good teammates. It's actually kind of sad in a way that I didn't get to spend more time with some of them," Washburn said. "That's just the way my career has played out, I suppose. But this is mind-blowing right here."
The list of Washburn's teammates includes walk-ons, redshirts, injured players and some who didn't earn a varsity letter. All, however, were on rosters concurrently with Washburn.
"This has to got to be some sort of NCAA record or something. This has to be something like that," Washburn said while examining the names. "I mean, I don't even know what to say. I'm struggling for words here because I'm just trying to remember all these guys."
Washburn, though, is confident he would recognize all of them if passing them on the street.
"You know I think I would. Some of them it might take a second or third glance at, just because it was only one year or something or other," he said. "But I don't think there's too many of these guys, if any, that I would see on the street and turn and walk away from."
After playing with so many different teammates and in various styles, Washburn has a variety of memories to reflect upon.
"I could probably give you a funny story about each one of these teammates, but judging by the list that might take a couple hours," he said.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledged that Washburn's lengthy list of teammates is "amazing" and completely abnormal in the college ranks.
"It's not the perfect blueprint. I would like a guy to have far fewer than that. But I think it's exposed him to a lot of different people and hopefully gives him an appreciation for solid guys," Krystkowiak said. "I would like to think that he's enjoying the experience with these teammates right now. Being a senior, I'm pulling for him to finish this thing off right and head out on a good note."
Krystkowiak added that one of the things he's always enjoyed about sports is how teammates become an extended family and you learn a lot from different guys with different personalities.
"My teammates were like brothers to me. I came from a small family where I only had one brother and growing up wasn't the perfect environment," Krystkowiak said. "So for me, a basketball team in every sense of the word was like my extended family."
One of Krystkowiak's favorite seasons was 1995-96 when he played in France. It's a time the former University of Montana star and veteran of nine NBA campaigns probably cherishes the most.
"I've stayed in touch with a lot of those guys even to this day," Krystkowiak said before reflecting on the large number of teammates he had as a professional. "It's pretty neat to have been involved with that many guys and now it's fun because of the guys I played with are into coaching and it creates a lot of camaraderie, I think, within the business."
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