Coaches looking for point guard, wings, centerThe Utah basketball team may not sign any players Wednesday, the first day of the national letter-of-intent signing period, but look for the Utes to sign several players over the next few weeks.
Assistant coach Jeff Judkins said he expects the Utes to sign "three or four" players during the next few weeks, perhaps by the end of April. He said the Utes are looking to sign a point guard, one or two wing players and a center. At least two of the signees could be junior college players.Contrary to popular belief, the Utes' recent NCAA run has hurt, rather than helped, recruiting this year, according to Judkins. He said much of the Utes' recruiting time was taken up getting ready for the NCAA games and that the fruits of the Utes' success may be a year away.
"The TV exposure is good, but when it comes right down to it, parents want you in their home," he said. "(The NCAA success) doesn't help this year's class but should help next year."
Besides losing Michael Doleac and Drew Hansen to graduation, Judkins said the Utes expect to lose three top reserves to LDS missions - Trace Caton, Jon Carlisle and Britton Johnsen. Andre Miller is leaning toward returning but could change his mind if coach Rick Majerus takes a job elsewhere.
There have also been rumors that reserve guards David Jackson and Jordie McTavish are considering transferring, although Judkins says he isn't aware of such plans.
The Utes signed four players during the fall signing period - 6-10 Tyson Johnston of Steamboat Springs, Colo.; 6-10 Phil Cullen of Chelan, Wash.; 6-5 Brad Crockett of Viewmont High; and 6-2 Ben Huesser of Preston, Idaho.
With seven or eight new players next year, the only returning players could be forwards Hanno Mottola and Alex Jensen, center Nate Althoff, redshirt Adam Sharp, squadman Greg Barratt and perhaps Miller.
Majerus has promised an upgraded schedule next year that will include appearances in the Maui Classic and Great Eight tournament, and games against Wake Forest, Texas and another top school, such as Michigan or North Carolina.