Tom Smart, Deseret News
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak as the University of Utah plays Colorado in men's PAC 12 basketball Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012,in Salt Lake City Utah.

SAN FRANCISCO — While the rest of him was at Pac-12 Media Day, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak left his heart in Salt Lake City. Krystkowiak admitted he's eager for Friday night's exhibition game against Simon Fraser at the Huntsman Center.

"I'm really excited. I think our guys are tired of beating up on each other right now and guarding our own stuff and knowing tendencies," Krystkowiak said. "We need to get some new blood out there in another uniform. It'll be fun to get in front of a crowd and get it cranked up."

Although Krystkowiak noted that the timing of the media gathering at the Pac-12 Networks Studios was not great — the day before a game — he noted that the Utes were in good hands in his absence at Thursday's practice.

"That's the great thing about our coaching staff. I can be away and I don't have any hesitation at all to turn it over to those guys," Krystkowiak said. "We've had extensive meetings and we know what we're trying to accomplish."

ENJOYABLE TRIP: Senior center Jason Washburn had a good time representing the Utes at the meetings.

"You know me," he joked. "I always feel more at home in front of cameras and stuff."

All 12 head coaches and one player from each team attended the event. Washburn said it was a lot more than just giving quotes and having pictures taken.

"I'm actually really enjoying myself today. This is a lot of fun," he explained. "I got to see a lot of the other players and a lot of the other coaches. Everyone's been great."

CHINA INITIATIVE: Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed the conference's plans to continue a yearly relationship with China (visiting and hosting) after the UCLA's men's basketball team made a successful trip there last summer.

"We are mindful of the enormous popularity of basketball in China. There are 300 million basketball fans over there," Scott said. "We have admired what the NBA has done over there and we feel that as a conference being on the West Coast, the gateway to the Pacific Rim, we are best suited to take advantage of the natural relationship between the Asia-Pacific territory and our conference."

Next summer's interaction will include women's basketball, as well as some Olympic sports.


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