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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Miller: Utah made “Wright” choice in the end

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]USC sophomore guard Julian Jacobs sat on the bench near the end of his team’s 67-39 loss to Utah on Sunday afternoon. It was the sophomore’s fourth loss to the Utes in as many tries, with most coming in blowout fashion. Utah may just want to send Jacobs a thank you card, and not just because they keep beating the Trojans on the hardwood.


Jacobs may have helped the Utes get their biggest win of the Larry Krystkowiak era before he even took a step on a college court.

Jacobs was a 2013 three-star recruit who pledged his commitment to Krystkowiak and the Utes in the spring of 2012. By that August though, Jacobs had reopened his recruitment and went searching for something else.

It also had the Utes looking for someone to replace Jacobs, that journey led them to Northern California.

The month after Jacobs changed his mind, the Utes welcomed a junior college player from the college of San Francisco for an official visit to campus and six days later Delon Wright had committed to Utah.

The 2011-12 Utes were also not good, at all. In fact, they were down right terrible. Utah won just six games all season, but the record only shows a little bit of how bad that team was. After starting 3-10, the team held walk-on tryouts. Yes, a Pac-12 school, and one with a proud basketball history, was searching for midseason reinforcements from the student body. It was a team filled with walk-ons and cast-offs.

Convincing Jacobs to come to that situation was a big deal, but him turning down the offer proved to be even bigger.

Now, Krystkowiak has showed he really has no qualms in his years at Utah in recruiting over kids, but it’s not crazy to think that if Jacobs decided to stay committed to Utah, that Wright never would have came. How hard would the Utes have pursued the current Wooden Award candidate?

It wasn’t like Wright was a hot commodity – he held one other offer, from Washington State.

Last season, Wright told me that he thought Utah was the perfect fit for him. One of the reasons was that he saw himself getting playing time immediately, and he was penciled in the starting backcourt the moment he stepped on campus.

If Jacobs had been signed on, would he have felt the same?

With Wright on board, the Utes have risen faster than anyone would have expected from the dark days of 2011-12. His play has helped spark the revival of a program, and Utah is now in contention for the Pac-12 crown, and next month the Utes will be retuning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Jacobs has not seen the same level of success. Not only has he failed to beat the team he originally committed to, he’s also struggled to beat any team in the conference.

After winning just two conference games all last season, the Trojans have only won one in 2015. And following 28-point loss to Utah, there doesn’t seem to be that much hope in things turning around.

So as Jacobs toils away in La-La land, the Utes are rising, happy they got the man that ended up being the game changer they so badly needed.

So sometimes it’s better to lose the recruiting battles, because it may just lead you to the ‘Wright’ choice in the end.

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