When Utah star Delon Wright wrapped up an impressive performance against ASU on Thursday night, his focus shifted towards Arizona. Wright mentioned in the postgame conference how one of the reasons why he originally came to Salt Lake City was for the chance play in games like the one Saturday is shaping up to be.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: RUNNIN’ UTES DOMINATE ASU, GEAR UP FOR ARIZONA
While the game will turn dream to reality for Wright and others on the team, it’s also a dream come true for Utah junior Matt Behan.
For anyone who knows Behan, who studies business at the U, sports is essentially his life. He eats, sleeps and breathes for sporting events, as his nickname has become the “events guy” among his friends. Behan has been to some big sporting events, such as last year’s World Series in St. Louis, Bruins and Red Sox games in Boston and the Utah bowl game in Las Vegas, to name a few.
When things broke right for Saturday’s Utah and Arizona to have much major implications, Behan knew he had to act on it.
“This is going to potentially be a game that decides the Pac-12,” Behan said. “I said there’s no way I’m not getting front row for this. I don’t want to be up in the nose bleeds.”
Behan took the necessary steps to figure out the rules to camping out, but realized that he didn’t want to be alone. To garner some attention from his friends, Behan created a Facebook group that laid out an entire schedule. From shifts in line to time to go shower, Behan had everything planned out down to the tiniest detail.
And it wasn’t as easy as just getting a tent and pitching it right outside the front doors of the Huntsman Center.
“I feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wanted to go all out,” Behan said.
Inside and around the tent that Behan is sharing with a number of his friends, you’ll find multiple sleeping bags and pads, a generator, an Xbox, a TV, space heaters, a fireplace and a sound system so that the students can DJ throughout the day and night. It’s safe to say that this group is prepared for anything that is thrown at them.
Good thing, too, as Utah finally received snow for the first time in quite some time this abnormal winter on Thursday.
“If the game was two weeks ago when it was nice outside, maybe we wouldn’t have had to do as many of these things,” Behan said. “But I realized if we are going to do this and people are going to enjoy it as much as they should and they want to, we’ve gotta be prepared.”
So prepared that Behan didn’t even watch the beatdown that the Runnin’ Utes put on Arizona State late Thursday night.
“He didnt even go in the game, he brought all his stuff and just sat outside the game,” said James Demyon, a friend of Behan’s. “A couple minutes left, we all came out and waited in line with him.”
After the win over the Sun Devils, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak mentioned how he had heard students were planning to camp out and said he’s going to try and accommodate those students throughout the weekend.
According to Behan, Krystkowiak stopped by the line of tents Friday morning to see how the group was doing. Additionally, Krystkowiak and the players have made arrangements to continue to check on the students, and even provide meals for them courtesy of Utah Athletics.
“It’s great to see that they know what we’re doing here, that they understand and appreciate it,” Behan said. “You see a lot of times where they will say it in the postgame or afterwards, but to see them actually come out and meet us and talk to us means a lot.”
In honor of Krystkowiak, Behan has dubbed the line of tents outside the Huntsman Center, “Krystkowiakville,” tweeting that out on his personal account. Behan’s name is a play out of perennial power Duke’s playbook, as the group of students who camp out for Blue Devil games call themselves, “Krzyzewskiville.”
Some have called for a more original name — like what the athletics department has dubbed the tent city, “Camp Huntsman” — Behan likes his name the best.
“Obviously, I took it from Duke, but at the same time, I think it sounds a lot better than anything else out there,” Behan said. “And hopefully, if this Coach K stays here as long as that Coach K has, than we can actually have a designated area for him. That would be awesome to see.”
As the Runnin’ Utes walked out of the Huntsman on Thursday after running all over Arizona State, the roles were reversed. While it’s typically the fans who are whipping out their phones to take pictures of athletes, it was the other way around as the players were the ones taking pictures of Behan and company.
“I can’t believe it,” Behan said of the moment. “I’m so happy to see that happening. I’m happy that I was one of the people that started it. It wasn’t just me, I don’t want to take all of the credit, but I’m just happy this is happening.”
Saturday’s game between Utah and Arizona will be one of the biggest in Utah’s rich basketball history, and Behan says that his group has some antics planned for when the Wildcats are “welcomed” into Salt Lake.
“We’re working on a little something, we’ll see if it works out,” Behan said. “We’re trying to make [Wildcats] lives hell.”
**Matt Behan works for K-UTE Internet Radio and is affiliated with student media.**