SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly all the members of the University of Utah’s 1998 national runners-up squad were present at the Utes’ contest against Cal. The former players signed autographs and took photos with fans before the game and were introduced at halftime where they received a commemorative customized sneaker.
Considered to be a Cinderella story during the tournament run, former Ute Britton Johnsen feels that the program has since made “enormous strides.”
“Chris Hill is enormously responsible,” said Johnsen, who was a freshman on the team. “(Larry) Krystkowiak has been just amazing at finding the right players. You’re seeing it now; you’re getting top-tier players.”
“I think that we’re not a little Cinderella school anymore. I think that people know about Utah now.”
Members of the 1998 team who were in attendance included Johnsen, David Jackson, Jordie McTavish, Hanno Mottola, Trace Caton, Ryan Hackett, Andre Miller, Drew Hanson, Greg Barratt, Alex Jensen, Michael Doleac, Jacob Noel, Nate Althoff, Zac Dalton, Bradon Sluga, Brian Bolinder and Gerald Fisher.
SPIRIT OF HUNTSMAN: Funeral services were held for Jon M. Huntsman Sr. Saturday morning at the Huntsman Center.
It was an "emotional day", according to Krystkowiak, who called the service "one of the coolest services, funerals that I've ever been involved with."
Krystkowiak continued to say that he felt that Huntsman's legacy of sharing rubbed off on the Utes, who registered 24 assists on 28 made baskets.
"There are not many people on this planet, certainly no one that I've ever met that have done more for other people and I think that theme needed to carry through to the basketball game tonight. We were looking out for each other and Jon was looking down, and we got a couple bounces and good things happened."
Huntsman’s courtside seat will be memorialized with a red ribbon for the remainder of the season. In addition, the Utes’ uniform will bear a memorial patch.
EXTRA STUFF: With the victory over the Golden Bears Saturday night, the Utes have tied the all-time series record against Cal at 15-15. Utah has won four of the last six matchups and seven of the last 10 Cal's 43 points was the fewest total scored by a Utah opponent this season It was the 10th time this season that the Utes held an opponent under 65 points.