The Utah men’s basketball team held their annual scrimmage on Tuesday night, to give the fans a bit of a preview of the upcoming squad. For Utah fans, there are plenty of new names and faces to get used to going into the season, and even a month after it starts.
Not a lot can be learned about in a game like this, as it’s pretty free flowing, and players switched teams at half, but fans could get a bit of a feel for some of the players, and here’s some of my takeaways from a handful of players tonight.
The SMU transfer jumped right off the court to me. Barefield is likely the point guard fo the future for the Utes, although, they’ll have to wait until December when he’s elibigable to play. He’s a scoring point guard, but is very aggressive going to the point, but also has a nice outside shot. He hit a couple of threes early in the contest, but was also very crafty getting to the basket and converting. Barefield is also a blur, and very hard to guard, which helped him get into the lane at will. I’m very excited to see this kid in a Utah uniform.
Daniels is an athletic guard that lives slashing to the basket, similar to Russell Westbrook. We didn’t see him display any kind of perimeter game, but he lived in the paint. He also had a very impressive alley oop dunk from Barefield, where Barefield lobbed the ball from about half court, and Daniels threw it down. The combo back court of Daniels and Barefield could be very fun to watch for years to come.
JoJo is another nice looking scoring guard, that was very smooth around the basket. He showed much more aggression in the second half of the scrimmage, and had some similar traits to Barefield. I want to see if he can shoot it consistently from the perimeter, but I like the potential with this kid.
The SLCC transfer looked good tonight, not only around the basket, but showed the ability to go beyond the arc and knock down some threes. He’s what many would consider a stretch four, which has become the rage in basketball. He’s very much a contributor going into the season, no doubt.
The USU transfer is a bruiser in the middle. He’s not the most graceful guy out there, but he’s going to be the guy the defends, set hard picks and get tough rebounds. He did show the ability to hit a free throw line extended jumper, so he has some touch, which is a bonus for the big man. He’s another December eligible kid.
Kuzma had a rough first half, but came on strong in the second. His three point shot was still lacking in this scrimmage, although he did hit one, plus a nice long two. His length and agression around the basket was nice. He just needs to continue to improve him perimeter game before he can go to the next level.
Bonam, like Kuzma, struggled early in the scrimmage, but came on in the second. He showed his ability to take it to the hole, like last season, and he also hit a couple of threes. Him and a couple of the young guys I’ve previously mentioned kept going back and forth late in the game. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of improvements we can see from him going into the season, since he’ll be one of the primary options, if not the primary offensive option, for the Utes.
Some other players jumped out tonight (Parker Van Dyke), but the above ones are the ones that really stood out. Basketball season is almost here!