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Utah’s basketball roster continues to shift with another departure, return and addition

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NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament Utah vs USC Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for the Utah basketball program as the program continues to evolve under head coach Craig Smith’s direction. As expected, the roster continues to change as names are coming, going, and coming back.

First, the departure, and it’s a painful one. Promising freshman Ian Martinez has decided to enter the transfer portal. The youngster was one of the brightest spots for the Utes at the end of the season. He is dynamic, athletic, and has a major upside. Unfortunately, his dad was on the previous coaching staff, and it appears the decision has been made not to retain his father. It’s tough to lose a kid like that, but if the dad doesn’t fit the new staff, then it doesn’t make sense to keep him. Hopefully, everything works out for the youngster.

Next, the returner, as big man Lahat Thioune has decided to withdraw his name from the portal and return to the program. I’m excited about this news, as Thioune is very raw but very athletic and showed some potential throughout the season. If Smith is as good of a development coach as we’ve seen in other stops, I think we could see a significant improvement with Thioune. He’s the type that can significantly impact the college game with his size and athleticism.

Lastly, the new addition is the Cincinnati transfer, Gabe Madsen. Madsen saw limited action in his first season, with just two appearances. He’s a good size, at 6-5 and 195 pounds. Coach Smith said about Madsen, “We are thrilled that Gabe has decided to join the Runnin’ Utes basketball family,” Smith said. “Gabe is a dynamic offensive player and at 6-5 he has great size and play making ability. He comes from a great basketball family with his dad, Luke, being a very success high school basketball coach – who he played for at Mayo Senior High School.”

The question still remains whether we will see the return of Timmy Allen, and I feel like each day that goes by without him coming back, the less likely it is he’ll rejoin the program, but we’ll see.