Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak talks with reporters during media day in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. When not coaching the Utes, Krystkowiak likes watching sons Ben and Luc compete on the hardwoods for the Brighton Bengals.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said it’s awesome and fun to be a basketball parent. Krystkowiak’s enjoyment is two-fold. He has two sons — Ben and Luc — starting for the Brighton Bengals.

Krystkowiak acknowledged it’s a different experience to hang out with other parents of players. Watching the guys and their excitement, he continued, is kind of a flashback for him.

“I just feel really fortunate,” said Krystkowiak, who added that he definitely doesn’t want to be one of “those dads” up in the stands. “I try to enjoy it a heck of a lot more from a parent perspective.”

The key, Krystkowiak said, is giving feedback when they get home. He stressed the importance thereof, but has always kind of drawn a line with the boys.

“When they want to talk about their performance, or what it is they need to improve on, I usually preface it with do you want me to answer that question with my father perspective, or do you want to have that question answered from a coaching perspective?” Krystkowiak said. “Because it’s always dangerous. If you’ve got the coach face on all the time there’s always the risk that they don’t see the fact that you love them and that you are their parent. You want them to do well and be healthy.”

" At the end of the day it’s all about some tough love and it’s an awful lot of fun. It’s really a bonus. "
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, on watching his sons play basketball

That approach has simplified the process.

If the request comes from a coaching perspective, Krystkowiak said he can kind of be a little bit more rough and raw with what he sees.

Luc, a 6-foot-5 senior, is averaging 17.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. Ben, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, averages 7.5 points. Brighton entered the week with a 10-5 record.

Krystkowiak said the boys are handling things well when it comes to carrying the family name. He said student sections in high school are great, even if the Krystkowiaks hear such taunts as “your dad will never offer you (a scholarship) and “daddy’s boy.”

As the schedule goes, Krystkowiak is able to watch his sons play often. He’s able to make all the Tuesday games and half of the Friday contests. That sits up well, as does the situation in general.

“At the end of the day it’s all about some tough love and it’s an awful lot of fun,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s really a bonus.”

PAC-12 RACE: Utah heads to Stanford and California this week. The Utes do so with a two-game winning streak. They trail first-place Washington by two games and second-place Arizona by 1½ games.

Utah (3-2) is currently in a fourth-place logjam with Oregon State, UCLA and USC.

Krystkowiak, though, doesn’t consider this week’s trip to the Bay Area to be any sort of crossroads for the Utes.

“They are all big ones. But the big one is the next one,” he said. “Then when we’re done with 18 of them, that’s when you kind of do the math and you figure out who you play in Vegas.”

As for the conference race, things are developing,

“I think there’s a little bit of cream that’s rising toward the top,” Krystkowiak said. “But I don’t think anybody feels like they’re out of the race, either, that’s in the middle of the pack somewhere.”

NOT RIGHT: Krystkowiak was hoping the New Orleans Saints would make it to the Super Bowl. As such, he wasn’t happy about the no call on a pass play in the fourth quarter of what turned out to be a 26-23 overtime win by the Los Angeles Rams.

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“That was rough,” Krystkowiak said. “That’s tough stuff, man.”

Krystkowiak noted that you never want to see it come down to that.

“You would just think on that stage, at that level, that we wouldn’t be talking about that kind of mistake,” he said. “It seemed pretty obvious to me, although I’ve got a Rams fan, that’s a buddy, that claimed the ball was overthrown anyway.”

Utah (9-8, 3-2) at Stanford (9-9, 2-4)

  • Maples Pavilion — Stanford, Calif.
  • Thursday, 7 p.m. MST
  • TV:Pac-12 Networks
  • Radio: ESPN 700AM