Utah Utes basketball notebook: USC may not be such a tall task, but team remains focused
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
LAS VEGAS — Utah’s Pac-12 Tournament opener against USC may not be such a tall task anymore.
The 10th-seeded Utes face a seventh-seeded Trojans squad that will likely be without 7-footers Dewayne Dedmon and James Blasczyk Wednesday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Both players have been suspended indefinitely while police investigate their alleged involvement in a brawl early Sunday morning in Spokane, hours after USC’s 76-51 loss at Washington State. The incident led to four people being sent to the hospital. The victims reportedly include two women who were punched.
After announcing that Dedmon and Blasczyk were suspended from all team activities indefinitely for violating a team rule, USC coach Bob Cantu issued a statement on the situation.
“Separately, we are aware of the Spokane investigation into an alleged incident involving those players and we are cooperating with the authorities to determine the facts,” Cantu said. “Until we learn all the facts, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Dedmon has 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in the Trojans’ 76-59 win over the Utes in the Huntsman Center on Jan. 12. Blasczyk did not play.
Before USC officially suspended Demon and Blasczyk, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak was asked about the possibility of the Trojans being shorthanded in Las Vegas.
“I’m just worried about our guys. I hadn’t heard that. So I’m not sure what the impact of something like that is,” Krystkowiak said. “I’m just trying to concentrate on the guys I’m in control of and making sure we don’t make any mistakes heading into a really important time.”
USC, he added, will field a good basketball team regardless of who’s involved and who’s not.
“I think it’s important that the focus remains on us right now,” Krystkowiak said.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: The Utes are scheduled to practice at Durango High School Tuesday afternoon. All Pac-12 coaches will meet with the media at the MGM Grand Garden Arena later in the day.
EXTRA STUFF: Senior center Jason Washburn earned honorable mention recognition on the Pac-12’s all-conference team . . . The Utes have won three conference tournament titles in Las Vegas, winning the WAC crown in 1997 and Mountain West championships in 1999 and 2009 . . . Utah leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense. The Utes are holding opponents to an average of 62.9 points per outing . . . Hall of Famer Bill Walton will be the analyst for the Pac-12’s broadcast of the game.
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