SALT LAKE CITY — Justin Bibbins, a graduate transfer from Long Beach State, is fitting right in at Utah. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound guard joined teammate David Collette at Pac-12 Media Day earlier this month in San Francisco. Bibbins had the unique position of representing a team he has yet to officially play for.
“It was super cool. I didn’t think that I would be chosen. But I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Bibbins said after practice Thursday. “I’m happy to represent this team in the way that they appreciate it as well.”
Bibbins, who averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 assists last season for the 49ers, really likes where he has landed.
“I love the position I’m in. I feel comfortable,” Bibbins said. “I know the system way better than I did before.”
The Utes have a lot of great ballhandlers, he added, and can get the rebound and initiate the offense. Bibbins said it doesn’t matter who is playing.
“We just try to get it and go,” he continued.
Although Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said that roles are being defined and clarified as Wednesday’s exhibition game with Montana Tech approaches, the Utes have never really had a point guard where one guy is responsible. He noted how Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor worked together, explaining that the backcourt can be a combination kind of thing — depending on what kind of defense they face.
Krystkowiak, however, said that Bibbins is “definitely in that category where he’s a decision-maker and ball-in-hand guard.” The coach also said that Parker Van Dyke and Sedrick Barefield are doing a nice job as well.
Bibbins, though, has assimilated quickly with the returnees at guard.
“We kind of knew what we were getting. There’s enough body of work, I think, from his time at Long Beach,” Krystkowiak said. “You’re not going to change your stripes a whole lot.”
HURRICANE FUNDRAISER: Krystkowiak said the program is in discussions to join other teams across the nation in playing a special exhibition game to benefit hurricane victims from places like Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The NCAA is granting waivers for such contests.
“We’re actually talking about it right now,” Krystkowiak said. “Going to make a phone call when we’re done. But nothing to report.”
Krystkowiak declined additional comment.
Stay tuned, however. There will likely be a hurricane relief game scheduled (opponent to be announced) for the Huntsman Center between Utah’s exhibition game with Montana Tech on Nov. 1 and the Nov. 10 season-opener against Prairie View A&M.
EXTRA STUFF: Krystkowiak said last weekend’s closed scrimmage went well. NCAA rules prohibit media coverage, promotion of the game and the release of any sort of statistics. As such, final results of the gathering with Saint Mary’s are unknown. The Utes are healthy, with everyone participating in practice, Krystkowiak noted. Daily practices this week, by design, are challenging the team’s conditioning and toughness. If all goes according to plan on Friday, Krystkowiak will give everyone the weekend off.