Utah Utes basketball notebook: Coach Krystkowiak liked breaking up road trip to Washington
Elaine Thompson, AP
SEATTLE — Utah’s second Pac-12 road trip of the season actually turned out to be the third as well. The Utes opted to break their northwest swing into two segments. They returned to Salt Lake City on a charter flight following Wednesday’s game at Washington State — arriving home shortly after midnight, allowing the team to sleep in their own beds and attend classes Thursday and Friday.
On the afternoon of the latter day, they headed for Saturday’s game at Washington.
Before leaving town, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak noted that he liked having the trip separated into two single road games: especially, he added, because of the challenges involved with getting in and out of Pullman.
“I don’t see how it can hurt us to have two days here in our own beds, practicing in our facilities and things are a little bit normal,” Krystkowiak said. “It feels like less of a road trip. So we’ll take our chances as opposed to being in a hotel for three or four nights, practicing in a foreign place and going through all that.”
The Pac-12’s new television arrangement has made traditional Thursday-Saturday games a bit of a rarity. Utah’s remaining two-game trips involve a Wednesday-Saturday situation at Oregon State and Oregon, and a Thursday-Sunday setup at California and Stanford.
Krystkowiak said they’re still crunching the numbers before deciding whether it makes sense to come home between games on those trips.
HOMECOMING GAME: Saturday was a homecoming of sorts for starting guards Glen Dean and Aaron Dotson, who are from Seattle.
Even so, Krystkowiak noted there was no pressure for the Utes to put on an extra-special performance in what has been a successful recruiting area for them.
“You want to show well everywhere. It’s one of those things after — if it goes well — then you go, 'Hey, that was kind of a bonus,’” Krystkowiak said. “But it’s certainly not anything you’re thinking about going in.”
Krystkowiak explained that the Utes are simply trying to forge their way through the Pac-12 season, and wherever the wins come, they’ll jump all over them.
“Really, the footprint of our whole league is a recruiting area,” Krystkowiak said. “So it’s all the same to us.”
Although Dotson will be sidelined for at least one month following a “procedure” on his left knee Friday, he accompanied the team to Seattle.
SONIC DAWGS: Washington junior forward Shawn Kemp Jr. is the fifth son of a former member of the Seattle SuperSonics to play for the Huskies. The others include Bryan (Freddie) Brown, Marlon (Lonnie) Shelton, Donald (Slick) Watts and Mike (Paul) Westphal.
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