Runnin’ Utes win, now ready for season

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

In his third season at the helm of Utah men’s basketball, head coach Ray Giacoletti is finding out that he doesn’t have a star player or a showstopper. What he has is a roster full of athletes who could all score 20 points on any given night.The Utes spread out their offense and proved their valor in yet another preseason game Monday night, walloping an extremely undersized Montana Tech 76-50. “This was good for us to play against a good perimeter-oriented offense,” Giacoletti said. “They kind of look like Air Force, so in the long run, this will help us. It was a good experience for what we needed to do.”Despite the similarities to Air Force, the Orediggers won’t be too similar to anyone the Utes will play this year. After all, their starting lineup included a 6-foot-5 forward and four guards. “We’ve got our big guys running around trying to guard 6-(foot)-6 guys, which is a little bit unorthodox, but I feel like it will help us out in the long run,” Giacoletti said.The Orediggers’ unique lineup kept centers Luke Nevill and Misha Radojevic on the bench for the majority of the game, but Nevill was still able to rack up 12 points and five rebounds. The sophomore from Perth, Australia, was one of four Utes in double digits for the evening. Freshman forward Daniel Deane recorded yet another impressive statline in just his second collegiate game, picking up 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the U.”Daniel Deane is a guy who you know what you’re going to get night in and night out,” Giacoletti said. “He gives great energy, and he’s going to go rebound the basketball for you.”Not letting their freshman teammate steal all the spotlight, Shaun Green and Johnnie Bryant also put together superb games for the U, netting 13 points a piece. Bryant buoyed the U perimeter attack, shooting 4-of-7 from the three-point line and leading the Utes to 69.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. “Montana Tech gave me a few easy looks and I hit them,” Bryant said. “As a team, I think we’re headed in the right direction. We haven’t played great yet but we know what we need to improve upon.”So, what does Bryant think the team’s biggest weakness is?”We need to talk a lot more on the defensive end of the court,” Bryant said. “They got a couple clean, open looks on the three. We just need to have a sense of urgency.”Newcomer Stephen Weigh, who scored seven points, agrees with Bryant.”We have some things we know we have to clean up in our defense,” Weigh said. “These games have been a good opportunity for us because it has made us get out to the three-point line and defend, but we know we still need work.”That defense will surely be the main focus in practice this week as the peak of their regular season schedule is right around the corner. Utah opens its schedule Friday night at home against Southern Utah University. Coach Giacoletti is quick to admit that the team has plenty to work on but also seems fairly optimistic when talking about his young and talented team.”I think we are headed in the right direction with our play,” Giacoletti said. “It’s not going to be all put together after a couple of nights, but I think we’ve got the pieces in place. The young guys just have to know that there are other ways of contributing besides scoring the basketball.”

Tyler Cobb

Freshman forward Daniel Deane buries a slam-dunk Monday during a preseason game against Montana Tech. Deane totaled 15 points and seven rebounds, leading the Utes for scoring.