SALT LAKE CITY — Utah basketball’s scholarship roster for 2013-14 will be a 50/50 split with six returning players and a half-dozen newcomers.
The Utes, thus, will be a blend of old and new in their third season under head coach Larry Krystkowiak.
“That part is exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be challenging again, but I like where we are.”
After two years of massive overhauls, Utah’s roster is stabilizing.
Dallin Bachynski, Renan Lenz, Jordan Loveridge, Jeremy Olsen, Brandon Taylor and Dakarai Tucker will be back next season. They’ll be joined by signees Ahmad Fields, Marko Kovacevic, Kenneth Ogbe, Princeton Onwas, Parker Van Dyke and Delon Wright.
Openings were created by the graduation of Jarred DuBois, Cedric Martin and Jason Washburn, as well as the departures of Aaron Dotson, Glen Dean and Justin Seymour.
Krystkowiak said that all three players are leaving the program. Dean and Dotson, however, will stay at Utah to earn their degrees this summer. Dean will then head to Idaho and play his final season with his younger brother. Dotson is focusing on graduation and rehabbing his injured knee. Krystkowiak was uncertain about Seymour’s future plans.
The Utes, who went 15-18 and reached the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals last season, are moving forward with a roster featuring only one senior (Lenz). Krystkowiak said that the new recruiting class gives the Utes more size out on the perimeter and players with unique skill sets.
“I think we’ll be able to be more athletic and longer and try to keep up with the rest of the people in the league,” Krystkowiak said.
The program, he added, has made gains in other areas as well. There are no longer terminology issues, and players have a solid understanding of how Krystkowiak and his staff want to get things done.
Utah had a four-game winning streak late last season.
“I feel like we’ve made some pretty good strides. I feel a little bit of momentum,” Krystkowiak said. “I think we started playing pretty good basketball at the end of the year. Part of me wanted to not have it be over.”
The Utes, he said, are just trying to keep getting better. They won nine more games in 2012-13 than in the previous season.
“There’s going to be those peaks and valleys along the way, but I think the graph line is still moving upward,” Krystkowiak said. “And I feel pretty positive about it.”
EXTRA STUFF: Washburn has been invited to pre-draft workouts with the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. Former Brighton High star Brandon Miller, who signed with the Utes in November, is serving an LDS Church mission before beginning his college career. Sophomore center Harry Whitt, a walk-on transfer from Southern Illinois who sat out last season, has decided to retire because of a knee injury. Niagara (19-14) will be one of Utah’s non-conference home games in 2013-14. The Utes are also interested in hosting a Thanksgiving tournament for the second consecutive year.
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