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Utah basketball: Lenz to be honored Saturday

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 8:54 p.m. MST

Utah Utes forward Renan Lenz (10) celebrates the Utes lead with Utah Utes forward Jordan Loveridge (21) during a media timeout during a game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — Prior to Saturday’s home finale against Colorado, the Utah Utes will honor departing senior Renan Lenz. The 6-foot-9, 218-pound forward-center from Santo Angelo, Brazil, has appeared in 56 games for the Utes over the past two seasons.

“It’s definitely emotional,” said Lenz, who will be joined on the Huntsman Center court for pregame ceremonies by his girlfriend, as well as his parents, Luis and Denise.

Lenz, a transfer from Arizona Western College, averaged 2.3 points as a junior and is averaging 5.3 points this season. In Sunday’s 86-63 win over Arizona State, Lenz made 6-of-7 shots from the field and scored 14 points.

“I felt like I wasn’t producing much, then on Sunday I got in the game and I started feeling well and all went good from there,” he said.

In addition to Lenz, Utah will also honor walk-on Xan Ricketts before his final scheduled home game. The former Brighton High standout has seen limited action over the past two seasons since transferring from Simon Fraser.

“Xan and Renan, two of the finest,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “It’s good. It’s one of those things that I’ll think a lot more about on Saturday when the time comes.”

STANDING STRONG: Krystkowiak stood by his post game comments Sunday about winning the Pac-12 Tournament and earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAAs.

Krystkowiak said the fact that the Utes plan on prevailing in Las Vegas has never changed.

“We don’t talk about it a whole lot. I was asked a question on Sunday if I still plan on going to the NCAA Tournament. It wasn’t a broad proclamation that I was standing up on my soapbox and pointing at the fence before I hit a home run or anything crazy like that,” he explained. “It’s just if I didn’t believe that then I’d be crazy. But nothing changes. We still plan on taking care of business when that time comes.”

Until then . . .

“We’re not thinking about the Bay Area (an upcoming trip to California and Stanford), we’re not thinking about Las Vegas, we’re thinking about the next game (Colorado),” said Krystkowiak, who added that the idea is simply to be playing your best basketball of the year at tournament time.

NATIONAL ATTENTION: Thanks to ESPN, the powerful blocked shot Princeton Onwas had on an offering by Arizona State’s Jahii Carson early in Sunday’s game is being seen by a lot of folks on the highlight reel.

“It was just cool seeing myself on TV,” Onwas said. “When I was a kid, I always watched ‘SportsCenter.’ So for me being on it was a blessing, really.”

Krystkowiak also acknowledged it’s been special to watch. He called it the “turning point” of the game — and more.

“We haven’t had that kind of athleticism and that kind of pursuit of basketballs around here,” Krystkowiak said. “So it’s something that’s in his arsenal. He’s an athletic, strong wing and it’s pretty neat that he’s getting some recognition for it.”

******

Colorado (20-8, 9-6) at Utah (18-9, 7-8)

Huntsman Center

Saturday, 12 p.m.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: 700AM

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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