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Utah Utes basketball: Larry Krystkowiak reinstates Josh Watkins, will play against BYU

Published: Thursday, Dec. 8 2011 2:59 p.m. MST

In this file photo taken Jan. 16, 2011, Utah guard Josh Watkins loses control of the ball against a pair of Wyoming defenders in the Utes' 68-51 road win. (Associated Press) In this file photo taken Jan. 16, 2011, Utah guard Josh Watkins loses control of the ball against a pair of Wyoming defenders in the Utes' 68-51 road win. (Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has its "Jiggy" back.

Senior guard Josh Watkins was reinstated by head coach Larry Krystkowiak Thursday after missing one game and a couple of practices for "conduct detrimental to the team."

Krystkowiak suspended Watkins, who leads the Utes with 17.7 points and 4.8 assists per game, earlier in the week for undisclosed reasons. He watched Wednesday's 81-50 loss to Cal State Fullerton from the Huntsman Center stands — arriving a bit late after taking a test on campus.

"We had some internal stuff that he was responsible for," Krystkowiak explained. "Five different issues that we'll kind of keep under our hat, things that we needed to have happen and all those conditions took place."

The Utes, he continued, are ready to move on and chalk it up to experience,

The University of Utah's Josh Watkins moves around San Diego Christian College's Tim Sanders during a mens basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) The University of Utah's Josh Watkins moves around San Diego Christian College's Tim Sanders during a mens basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

"We're having a hard enough time competing on the basketball court right now," Krystkowiak said before expressing hope it'll be a good eye-opener for everybody heading into Finals Week.

Watkins practiced with the Utes Thursday as they prepare for Saturday's home game against BYU.

"It feels real good to be back. I missed out on a game, missed playing with my family," Watkins said. "This is my family we built here and I'm just eager to get back, get back into the rotation."

Watkins acknowledged that he's learned a lot from Krystkowiak and understands the suspension was a "good message to send" — even though it was tough to be on the outside looking in.

"I'm grateful to be back on the team and be back with my guys," Watkins said. "It was real hard just sitting there watching."

Utah's Josh Watkins will rejoin the team in time for a matchup with BYU.     (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Utah's Josh Watkins will rejoin the team in time for a matchup with BYU. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Watkins is particularly upset about disappointing his teammates.

"I know they won't let me down and I let them down yesterday," he said before vowing to be more focused on team needs and what the coaches have to say.

Krystkowiak is pleased things worked out quickly and that Watkins, the lone senior on the active roster, will be able to play in the rivalry game against BYU.

Watkins is looking forward to facing the Cougars.

"There's always big excitement playing against BYU," he said. "They're coming in as a good team and we're looking to put up a fight. We're looking to put up a real good fight."

Utah (1-7) has lost seven straight games since a season-opening 58-55 win over San Diego Christian College on Nov. 14.

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