I think one of the best things is we've got a lot of guys on this squad that haven't played in front of a crowd with the popcorn popping. —Larry Krystkowiak
SALT LAKE CITY — Folks who opted for a “Night with the Utes” saw a glimpse of things to come Tuesday night in the Huntsman Center. They got their fix of hoops in the annual preview event at the University of Utah.
For the record, the Red squad defeated the White, 72-63 in a scrimmage that included a shuffling of the rosters midway through it.
Kyle Kuzma led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Utah State transfer David Collette finished with 16 points, while fellow newcomers Sedrick Barefield (SMU) and Tyler Rawson (SLCC) scored 13 apiece. Barefield also had 10 assists.
“It’s the starting point for us,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “I think one of the best things is we’ve got a lot of guys on this squad that haven’t played in front of a crowd with the popcorn popping.”
Krystkowiak added that it was also “a heck of a conditioner” with seven guys on each team and players getting a lot of action. The coach is looking forward to watching the film as the Utes prepare for a season with plenty of new faces in the program.
Kuzma said that after a couple of months grinding in the offseason, it was nice to get out and finally show the fans their personnel and whom they’ll be rocking with this year.
“It was great,” he said.
In other festivities:
— Players from the men’s and women’s teams were introduced to the crowd after this season’s new projection video on the floor was shown.
— A slam dunk contest featuring Kuzma, Lorenzo Bonham, Gabe Bealer, Devon Daniels and Rawson took place. Rawson was declared the winner. Judges included Emily Potter from the women’s team, as well as former Runnin’ Utes Tim Drisdom, Britton Johnsen, Dakarai Tucker and Bryon Wilson.
— The women’s team ran some drills at halftime of the men’s scrimmage. Head coach Lynne Roberts spoke about the squad over the public address system. She said this year’s squad is more athletic and deeper than last season. Utah went 18-15 in 2015-16 and reached the third round of the WNIT.
— Several former Runnin’ Utes were honored at the break. They received backpacks from Krystkowiak. The honorees included Keith Van Horn, Jeff Judkins, Alex Jensen, Jeff Jonas and Danny Vranes.
— The events were broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.
Representatives from both programs are headed to Pac-12 Media Days later this week in San Francisco. Roberts and Potter are scheduled to be at the women’s gathering on Thursday. Krystkowiak and Kuzma are slated for the men’s meetings on Friday.
Seasons start with a doubleheader Nov. 12 in the Huntsman Center. The women play Montana State and the men face Northwest Nazarene.