Night With the Runnin’ Utes Slated for Oct. 19

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Fans will get their first chance to get an impression of the morphing of the U men’s basketball team Oct. 19, as the Utes will host their annual Night With the Runnin’ Utes at 6:00 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

The night coincides with the U football game versus Colorado State, which starts at 1:00 p.m.

The night will involve drills, three-point shooting and dunk contests and an intrasquad scrimmage.

There will be plenty of new faces, as the Utes?coming off a 21-9 season, a second place showing in the Mountain West Conference regular season and an NCAA Tournament appearance?will hit the floor with only four players that saw time on the court a year ago.

It was a busy offseason, as Utes Martin Osimani, Eric Osmundson, Lance Allred, Cameron Goettsche and walk-on Chris Huber opted to transfer out of the program for various reasons. Couple that with top assistant Dick Hunsaker taking the head coaching vacancy at Utah Valley State College and the graduation of Phil Cullen, Chris Burgess, Travis Spivey and Jeff Johnsen, and it becomes apparent that Ute fans will be scrambling for programs to identify players.

Yet, the four returning did put in significant time last season.

Senior guard/forward Britton Johnsen is the reigning MWC Player of the Year. He led the team in rebounding (6.3 rebounds per) and was second in scoring (12.6 points per game).

Junior Nick Jacobson led the team in points (13.0 ppg), earning MWC third-team honors in the process. Senior defensive stickler Trace Caton played in all 30 games last season, starting four. Finally, 7-foot center Cameron Koford started 13 of Utah’s final 15 games a year ago following an injury to starter Chris Burgess.

Two members of the Utes that did not see any time last year, transfer Tim Frost and redshirt Chris Jackson, will see significant time this year.

“Last year’s team did not have an inside presence,” coach Rick Majerus said. “This year’s team, with Tim Frost coming on board, certainly will.”

Jackson is one of four freshman of the 10 scholarship players.

The others include heralded southern California recruiting trio Richard Chaney, Bryant Markson and Tim Drisdom.

Rounding out the roster is point guard returnee Marc Jackson and Australian Andrew Bogut.

In addition to the different look of personnel, the floor of the Jon M. Huntsman Center also got a facelift. The original floor of the basketball facility has been replaced and floor graphics were completed this week.

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