The University of Utah's top basketball recruit for next season, JC forward Marcel Driver, won't be playing for the Utes next season following a freak shooting incident in Los Angeles recently.
Driver, a 6-8 1/2 forward, who led the California junior colleges in scoring and rebounding this past season while playing for Citrus JC, was shot in the upper leg while leaving a theater with some teammates last week. The shot apparently came from an apartment building across the street and the perpetrator was never caught.According to Utah assistant coach Larry Eustachy, Driver "almost lost his leg" and had to have an artery transplanted to save it. Apparently Driver will be able to play basketball again, but because he had to drop out of school, he won't be able to graduate from junior college in time to be eligible at Utah for next year.
Eustachy, who was the primary recruiter of Driver, called him a "major-league talent" who would likely have started for the Utes next year. Driver, a native of Detroit, was signed last November by Utah when Lynn Archibald was the coach.
Although the Utes signed five players last fall and Judge Memorial's Jimmy Soto this spring, new Ute Coach Rick Majerus is still out on the recruiting trail looking at several players. The Utes are still after a 6-10 player from Los Angeles, a 6-7 player from the Washington D.C. area and a couple of 6-4 players from Indiana. All are high school players.
Of the underclassmen on the Ute team only one has left the program since Majerus took over. Reserve guard Bill Perkins, decided to transfer and is currently enrolled at College of Idaho in Caldwell. Walter Watts and Mark Lenoir, who had been rumored to be leaving, are both enrolled for spring quarter at the U.
Majerus still hasn't named his assistant coaches. The other fulltime assistant besides Eustachy for the Utes last year, Trent Johnson, left earlier this month to become an assistant at the University of Washington under Lynn Nance.