For the Utes, it wasn’t about the opponent on Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center, it was about a couple of key additions to the roster as Sedric Barefield and David Collette were eligible to play in their first games as a Ute. While resistance was pretty weak by PVAMU, there was some good things we saw from both the team and the new additions.
First, with Barefield, he is a scorer, and shoots a very nice deep ball. He finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting on the day, and 5-of-8 from deep. Utah has been very up and down from beyond the arc this season, and the addition of Barefield should help steady that. Also, he is always looking up the floor and looking to either lob the ball to the rim, or find the guy that’s ahead of the pack for an easy basket. We really weren’t able to watch him in the open flor and some of his speed, but that will be needed in conference play. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to elevated competition, because I like what he’sshown thus far.
With Collette, he’s about as old school as it gets. He lives in the paint, gets all the dirty points, including put backs, post moves, and cleaning up the glass. He finished with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting on the day with 9 rebounds. The key with him is will his aggression in the paint lead him to foul trouble?I could see him being the guy that gets under people’s skin later this season.
As for the team, the additions of Barefield and Collette helped open up the floor for the team. It also helps that the Utes were pretty fresh, after having a week off, and of course the competition wasn’t good, at all. With that said, you could see improvement of how this team played, especially how clean they played. The ball movement was clean and crisp, and had a purpose. There wasn’t really and isolation basketball leading to needless turnovers. The Utes were looking to move up court with the pass, which was mostly facilitated by Barefield. The additional of Barefield will likely take a lot of burden off of Lorenzo Bonam’s shoulders, and allow him to play off the ball a little more, when they’re on the floor at the same time.
Kyle Kuzma had a nice game, as he mostly lived in the post, which is where he needs to stay. Kuz had 18 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists, and was effective down low. Kuzma needs to clean up his free throws, as he was 8 of 12 from the stripe. Hopefully the deeper roster will help Kuz stay away from the perimeter. It’ll be interesting to see how the lineup and rotation changes now going forward, because the Utes have much more depth than a week ago.
A solid effort by the Utes, and next up is a trip to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic, and then back home for the PAC-12 opener against Colorado on New Years Day.