Category: Utah

University of Utah Sports News - Football, Basketball And More

Locals in NBA Summer League: Kyle Collinsworth, Tyler Rawson, C.J. Wilcox get significant minutes Friday

At least in terms of playing time, it was a good day for locals at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on Friday.

Playing in their final contests in Sin City, former American Fork, Salt Lake Community College and University of Utah big man Tyler Rawson, former Pleasant Grove guard C.J. Wilcox and former BYU star Kyle Collinsworth all played at least 17 minutes for their respective squads.

Rawson played a team-high 30 minutes for the Orlando Magic, which was the only one of the three to lose Friday, as it fell 87-85 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Rawson scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He added four rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Wilcox also notched a team-high in minutes, playing 26 as his Indiana Pacers cruised past the Brooklyn Nets, 116-79. Wilcox scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting (6-of-8 from behind the 3-point line) and had two rebounds, two steals and an assist.

Collinsworth rounded things out by scoring two points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 17 minutes as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Washington Wizards, 96-92.

Former Lone Peak star Frank Jackson was the lone local whose team played Friday who did not suit up thanks to the injury he suffered in the New Orleans Pelicans' Las Vegas opener last weekend. The Pelicans, too, concluded play on Friday, by falling to the New York Knicks 102-83.

After beating the Magic on Thursday, the Utah Jazz advanced to the second round of tournament play in Las Vegas, where they'll face the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024816/Locals-in-NBA-Summer-League-Kyle-Collinsworth-Tyler-Rawson-CJ-Wilcox-get-significant-minutes.html

Locals in NBA Summer League: Utahn Tyler Rawson gets increased playing time for Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz

Playing against the NBA team he said after a predraft workout in May that he watched most as a kid, American Fork, Salt Lake Community College and University of Utah product Tyler Rawson received the most playing time he's gotten as a professional on Thursday night.

On the Orlando Magic's summer league team in Las Vegas, Rawson played 17 minutes against the Utah Jazz, scoring five points on 2-of-3 shooting, including 1-of-2 from behind the 3-point line.

The 6-foot-10 Rawson also pulled down a rebound as the Magic fell to the Jazz 75-70 as they rested lottery picks Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba.

While Utah eliminated Orlando from tournament play, the Magic will have one final contest in Las Vegas on Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers: The second-year pro from Salt Lake City scored just two points but pulled down 11 rebounds and added an assist, a steal and a block in 21 minutes as the Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks, 95-69.

Portland will next play the winner of a Saturday game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

Elijah Bryant, Philadelphia 76ers: After playing three minutes on Monday in a 87-75 loss to the Washington Wizards, the former BYU guard did not play Thursday as the 76ers held off the Phoenix Suns, 88-86.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024693/Locals-in-NBA-Summer-League-Utahn-Tyler-Rawson-gets-increased-playing-time-for-Orlando-Magic-vs.html

Locals in NBA Summer League: Utahn Tyler Rawson gets more playing time for Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz

Playing against the NBA team he said after a predraft workout in May that he watched most as a kid, American Fork, Salt Lake Community College and University of Utah product Tyler Rawson received the most playing time he's gotten as a professional on Thursday night.

On the Orlando Magic's summer league team in Las Vegas, Rawson played 17 minutes against the Utah Jazz, scoring five points on 2-of-3 shooting, including 1-of-2 from behind the 3-point line.

The 6-foot-10 Rawson also pulled down a rebound as the Magic fell to the Jazz 75-70 as they rested lottery picks Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba.

While Utah eliminated Orlando from tournament play, the Magic will have one final contest in Las Vegas on Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers: The second-year pro from Salt Lake City scored just two points but pulled down 11 rebounds and added an assist, a steal and a block in 21 minutes as the Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks, 95-69.

Portland will next play the winner of a Saturday game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

Elijah Bryant, Philadelphia 76ers: After playing three minutes on Monday in a 87-75 loss to the Washington Wizards, the former BYU guard did not play Thursday as the 76ers held off the Phoenix Suns, 88-86.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024693/Locals-in-NBA-Summer-League-Utahn-Tyler-Rawson-gets-more-playing-time-for-Orlando-Magic-vs-Utah.html

Utah men’s basketball: Utes to play six non-conference home games, face ‘challenging’ schedule

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak released the Runnin' Utes' 2018-19 non-conference schedule this morning.

Utah's non-conference slate includes six home contests, with trips to both Minneapolis, and Lexington, Kentucky, and the Utes also playing in the Wooden Legacy Classic in Fullerton, California. Overall, Utah will face a pair of potential top-five ranked teams and could face as many as four teams from last season's NCAA Tournament.

The complete 2018-19 schedule, including Pac-12 Conference contests, along with television times and dates will be released later this fall.

"We will have quite a challenging schedule this upcoming season," said Krystkowiak. "I believe our program is at a place where we are up for the challenge and we are all very motivated to play such a grueling non-conference schedule. Obviously, the Pac-12 Conference is quite demanding and this will certainly help us get prepared for league play. This is what we signed up for and we look forward to the task in front of us."

Utah men's basketball non-conference schedule

All times are TBA unless noted

Nov. 1 — vs. College of Idaho

Nov. 8 — vs. Maine

Nov. 12 — at Minnesota

Nov. 15 — Mississippi Valley State

Nov. 22 — Hawaii at Fullerton, California (9:30 p.m.)

Nov. 23 — Grand Canyon OR Seton Hall, at Fullerton, California

Nov. 25 — TBD, at Fullerton, California

Dec. 1 — vs. Tulsa

Dec. 8 — BYU, at Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City

Dec. 15 — at Kentucky

Dec. 17 — vs. Florida A&M

Dec. 21 — vs. Northern Arizona

Dec. 29 — vs. Nevada

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024609/Utah-mens-basketball-Utes-to-play-six-non-conference-home-games-face-challenging-schedule.html

Morning links: How the Utes wound up in the Pac-12 and Utah’s Julian Blackmon’s ‘underrated’ status

The landscape of college sports in the state of Utah had a seismic change in 2010 when the University of Utah accepted an invitation to join the Pac-12.

Eight years later, Ute Zone writer Dan Sorensen examines what went into Utah joining the Pac-12 by gaining perspective of the men who played vital roles in the process, interviewing former Utah president Michael Young (now president at Texas A&M), former Utah AD Chris Hill (who retired earlier this year) and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

A huge component of adding Utah and Colorado — which left the Big 12 to go to the Pac-12 — was secrecy, as Sorensen laid out in his interviews with the trio.

"I can't emphasize enough how exciting it was, how cool it was to be doing stuff that people didn't know about, traveling places and working with Colorado and trying to figure things out. I essentially delivered the message to Larry that Colorado was interested, but I didn't want to get them in trouble,"Hill told Sorensen.

Read Sorensen's full oral history of the invitation at 247Sports' Ute Zone.

Blackmon a top 'underrated' player

Utah cornerback Julian Blackmon had a breakout season in 2017, starting all 13 games for the Utes and earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

That helped the junior gain some attention, including being named to Athlon Sports writer Steve Lassan's list of college football's top 50 underrated players for 2018.

"Blackmon emerged as one of the Pac-12's top cornerbacks in 2017 and anchors one of the league's top defensive backfields in 2018. After playing limited snaps as a freshman, Blackmon recorded 48 tackles, six pass breakups and four interceptions last fall," Lassan wrote.

Other links

College football bowl projections for 2018-19 (Athlon Sports)

10 things to know about the Utah Utes: 2018 Pac-12 football preview(The Oregonian)

The lowdown: Wide receivers (UtahUtes.com)

And finally …

For all those fans counting down the days until football season, Utah football's Twitter account has something to help tide them over. The team shared a few shots from photo-shoot day, including pictures of Britain Covey, Chase Hansen and Blackmon.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024535/Morning-links-How-the-Utes-wound-up-in-the-Pac-12-and-Utahs-Julian-Blackmons-underrated-status.html

National magazines give Utah football team a lot of love in predicting upcoming season

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah football team doesn't start practicing for another three weeks with the season starting four weeks after that with a game against Weber State on Aug 30. In a little over two weeks, the annual Pac-12 media day will be held in California when the coaches' poll of season predictions will be released.

In the meantime, several top college football magazines have made their predictions for the upcoming season and all agree that the Utes should be in for a pretty good season.

All four of the major publications — Phil Steele's College Football Preview, Athlon, Lindy's and Street & Smith's — are predicting the Utes to finish second in the Pac-12 South Division. In national rankings, the Utes are ranked No. 22 by Phil Steele, 28th by Athlon and 32nd by Lindy's. Street & Smith's only ranks the top 25 and the Utes are not ranked.

Also, all four magazines select Matt Gay as a first-team all-American placekicker, following up on his Lou Groza-award-winning season in 2017, with three of the four putting Ute punter Mitch Wishnowsky as the first-team all-American punter. Only Street & Smiths lists Wishnowsky on the second team, behind Missouri's Corey Fatony.

Utah Utes place kicker Matt Gay points into the crowd after hitting a field goal as Utah and Washington State play at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. All four major college football publications have Matt Gay as a first-team All-American placekicker.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah Utes place kicker Matt Gay points into the crowd after hitting a field goal as Utah and Washington State play at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. All four major college football publications have Matt Gay as a first-team All-American placekicker.

USC is picked to win by all four to win the South, with Washington picked to win the North. Three of the four have Arizona finishing third in the South, while Street & Smith's puts UCLA third and Phil Steele has UCLA sixth behind Colorado and ASU.

As for bowl games, everyone picks the Utes to be bowl eligible with the following predictions for Utah: Street & Smith's — Foster Farms Bowl vs. Maryland; Phil Steele — Sun Bowl vs. Louisville; and Athlon — Cactus Bowl vs. Iowa State.

Here's what each of the publications has to say about Utah's prospects for 2018:

Athlon: "The Utes are feeling some pressure to win their first Pac-12 South championship. The pieces are in place for Utah to challenge USC for supremacy in the South."

Phil Steele: "The Pac-12 South is wide open and Utah has QB (Tyler) Huntley, RB (Zack) Moss, a veteran O-line, a top-25 defense, No. 1-rated special teams. This team is capable of double-digit wins and will contend in the South."

Street & Smith's: "If the defense can behave more characteristically, there should be enough for Utah to challenge for the Pac-12 South title, especially considering that most of Utah's top opponents will be traveling to Salt Lake City."

Lindy's: "Utah is a tempting bet (to win the South), but crossover games are a killer."

Other tidbits from the magazine forecasts:

Utah Utes defensive back Chase Hansen breaks up a pass to USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Hansen is listed as

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah Utes defensive back Chase Hansen breaks up a pass to USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Hansen is listed as "best athlete" in the Pac-12 by Street & Smith's.

• Phil Steele has the Utes with the 26th toughest schedule in the country and fourth toughest in the Pac-12 behind UCLA (1), Oregon State (4) and Arizona State (7).

• Lindy's ranks Huntley No. 18 among the nation's quarterbacks.

• Athlon ranks Utah's defensive backs No. 12 in the nation, the coaching staff No. 18, and the running backs unit No. 18.

• In position rankings, Phil Steele ranks Utah's special teams No. 1, the defensive backs No. 10, the linebackers No. 27, and the defensive line No. 29.

• Ute linebacker Chase Hansen is listed as "best athlete" in Pac-12 by Street & Smith's.

• Both Lindy's and Street & Smith's list Utah as having the No. 5 best recruiting class in the Pac-12 for 2018.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024451/National-magazines-give-Utah-football-team-a-lot-of-love-in-predicting-upcoming-season.html

‘Prince Charming’ donates $125,000 to Steve Tate’s charity

SALT LAKE CITY — Turns out, Prince Charming is even more charming than we imagined.

William Phipps, the voice of Prince Charming in the Disney classic "Cinderella" who passed away last month at age 96, left behind a generous donation of $125,000 to the HayesTough Foundation.

The HayesTough Foundation is a charity that provides support for children battling cancer and their families. Hayes, the late son of former University of Utah football standout Steve Tate, maintained a hopeful spirit while engaged in an 11-month bout with brain cancer. The Tates are now providing grants to suffering families with hardships caused by cancer.

"Receiving this grant means more than I can say," Savanna Tate, president of the HayesTough Foundation, said on the foundation's website. "Every two minutes another child is diagnosed with cancer, and thanks to the generosity of William, we will be able to continue to support the thousands of families in the heart of this fight. We are so incredibly grateful for William's support through this donation. We will honor his amazing legacy through our support of the childhood cancer community."

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024375/Prince-Charming-donates-125000-to-Steve-Tates-charity.html

Utah basketball: Runnin’ Utes announce home-and-home series with Minnesota Gophers

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah men's basketball team's schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season continues to take shape.

Utah athletics announced an agreement to a home-and-home series with the Minnesota Gophers Tuesday afternoon.

Utah will travel to Minneapolis to face the Gophers in Williams Arena and Sports Pavilion this season, and subsequently host the Gophers in 2019-20.

The Runnin' Utes lead the all-time series 2-1, the most recent game coming in 2003, a contest Utah won 66-54.

The agreement ensures Utah will face off against a Big 10 opponent in the regular season for the first time in nearly 10 years.

It will also mark just the second time the Utes have gone head-to-head with a Big 10 foe since their 75-64 defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines on Dec. 10, 2010.

Minnesota, coached by Richard Pitino, is coming off a 2017-18 campaign where it finished just 15-17 overall, 4-14 in conference play.

In five seasons under Pitino, however, the Gophers have racked up 168 wins to 90 defeats, including 20-plus win campaigns in 2013-14 (25-13) and 2016-17 (24-10).

Utah's contest with the Gophers marks the third confirmed non-conference game for the 2018-19 season, in addtion to the three games the Utes will play in the Wooden Legacy Tournament.

The Utes are scheduled to play at Kentucky on Dec. 15 and will host Nevada on Dec. 29.

The Wooden Legacy will be played Nov. 22-25, 2018, in Fullerton, California. In addition to Utah, the tournament will include Fresno State, Grand Canyon, Hawaii, La Salle, Miami, Northwestern and Seton Hall.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024414/Utah-basketball-Runnin-Utes-announce-home-and-home-series-with-Minnesota-Gophers.html

Morning links: The ‘campaign’ to get Davies to play in TBT with Jimmer; former Utes player shares message at detention center

Less than two weeks ago, former BYU basketball player Brandon Davies told BYU Sports Nation he is leaning toward playing for Team Fredette in this year's The Basketball Tournament.

The team is captained by former Cougar teammate Jimmer Fredette, who will play this year after coaching the team last year in the national 5-on-5 basketball tournament. Former BYU player Charles Abouo will also be playing for Team Fredette, which plays its first-round game July 21.

Davies recently helped lift his Lithuanian team, Zalgiris Kaunuas, to victory over Lietuvos Ryas to clinch the LKL championship, and he told BYU Sports Nation his decision whether to play in the TBT tournament would depend on how his body is feeling.

On Friday, Davies tweeted that he'd play if he could get 1,000 new Twitter followers in a week's time.

That tweet elicited several fun responses, including from Fredette.

Whitney Fredette, the wife of Jimmer Fredette, suggested his husband's team should add another former Cougar, Jackson Emery.

Hatfield shares message at detention center

Former Utah defensive back Dominque Hatfield, now with the Los Angeles Rams, shared his story about going to jail in college during a visit with young men at the Camarillo detention center in a video posted by the Rams on Twitter.

Hatfield, who hails from Los Angeles, was arrested on aggravated robbery charges in 2015, then subsequently was dismissed from the Utah football team. Those charges were dismissed when new information cast "doubt on the defendant's guilt of the crimes," according to the motion to dismiss.

Later that summer, Hatfield was also arrested on misdemeanor assault charges stemming from an alleged fight at a party, which he later entered a no contest plea in abeyance for those charges.

Hatfield then went through the process of being reinstated to the team, missing only one game.

"That summer, that was one of the darkest moments of my life thus far. That's how I got into writing, got into rapping. I just started writing everything, getting my emotions down, everything that was hurting me up to that point," Hatfield said in the video.

The rapping has helped him, and now he calls it his second love behind football.

"I know for a fact y'all gonna get out of here. And when y'all get the opportunity, y'all gotta take it and run with it," Hatfield said during the visit to the detention center.

Watch the full story in the video below.

And finally ...

Brotherly love was on full display in a video shared on Twitter over the weekend. In the video, a pair of British triathletes, brothers Jonny and Alistair Brownlee, are competing in a race, and Alistair helps Jonny, who led the race near the end, cross the finish line after his legs began to give out.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024212/Morning-links-The-campaign-to-get-Davies-to-play-in-TBT-with-Jimmer-former-Utes-player-shares.html

Locals in NBA Summer League: Kyle Collinsworth grabs 8 rebounds in Mavs win; Tyler Rawson makes debut

Former BYU and Provo High guard Kyle Collinsworth grabbed eight rebounds for Dallas in the Mavericks' 81-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Collinsworth played 18 minutes in the game, scoring four points and adding an assist and a steal while turning the ball over once. He shot 2 of 6 from the field while missing his only 3-point attempt.

In two summer league games, Collinsworth, who was waived by the Mavericks on Friday, has averaged 15 minutes, 2.5 points, four rebounds, 1.5 steals and one assist per game while shooting 25 percent from the field.

Here's a look at how other players with Utah ties fared Sunday in the Las Vegas summer tournament.

Tyler Rawson, Orlando Magic: The former Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Southern Utah and American Fork High forward made his pro debut in the Magic's 86-56 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He played 5:56 late-game minutes and had a steal while missing his only shot attempt, a 3-pointer, in the win.

Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers: The former Salt Lake native scored five points and had eight rebounds and five assists to go along with five turnovers in a team-high 26 minutes in an 85-68 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The big man shot 2 of 8 from the field while making his only 3-point attempt.

Through two games at the Las Vegas summer tournament, Swanigan is averaging 26.5 minutes, eight points, 10.5 rebounds and five assists per game while shooting 35.7 percent from the field.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024204/Locals-in-NBA-Summer-League-Kyle-Collinsworth-grabs-8-rebounds-in-Mavs-win-Tyler-Rawson-makes.html

Trio of Utah gymnastics commits among nation’s finest at USA gymnastics’ American Classic

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday afternoon, for the first time since gymnastics legends Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug and Amanda Borden duked it out at the 1993 Coca-Cola National Championships, USA gymnastics national team members and hopefuls competed in Salt Lake City.

This time around, the competition was held at the Huntsman Center on the campus of the University of Utah, rather than the Delta Center, but the level of gymnastics was equitable.

These gymnasts were, quite literally, among the country's elite.

Junior and senior Elite gymnasts took part in two competitions Saturday, collectively known as the American Classic.

The goal was to qualify for the U.S. Championships, which are set to commence Aug. 16 in Boston.

Twenty-two gymnasts left the Huntsman having done just that, including Utah commit Grace McCallum.

Shilese Jones of Future Gymnastics Academy walked away the senior Elite all-around winner with a score of 53.900, while Shania Adams (Buckeye Gymnastics) and Maddie Johnston (Hill's Gymnastics) finished in second and third place, respectively.

Individual event winners, at the senior level, included Jones, who scored a 14.350 on vault and a 13.800 on floor, Madelyn Williams (San Mateo Gymnastics) on uneven bars with a 14.250 and Kara Eaker (Great American Gymnastics Express) on balance beam with a 14.850.

Three of the senior Elites to compete are current commits to the University of Utah and each had moments where they look the part.

McCallum, who was prequalified for the U.S. Championships thanks to her victory in the all-around competition at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships, competed on just two events, bars and beam.

The Minnesota native thrived on bars, where she finished second with a score of 14.050.

Deanne Soza, meanwhile, competed on three events — vault, bars and beam — and finished in fourth place on vault with a score of 13.450.

The third Utah commit, Jaylene Gilstrap, also competed on three events Saturday and scored a 13.400 on vault, a 12.950 on beam and a 13.000 on floor, with her efforts on vault and floor good enough for fifth place finishes.

Both Soza (39.150) and Gilstrap (39.350) failed to qualify for the U.S. Championships, however, — with total scores just under the required mark of 39.750 — and will have one final opportunity to seal their spot at the U.S. Challenge in Columbus, Ohio at the end of the month.

While none of the gymnasts were made available for comment, all received hearty ovations from the Red Rock faithful in attendance, as well as more than a few Red Rocks themselves, including Shannon McNatt, Alexia Burch and MaKenna Merrell-Giles, among others.

One additional Red Rock, former Elite and current NCAA All-American MyKayla Skinner, made an appearance as well, handing out medals to the competition's winners.

ELITE SCORING: Scoring at the Elite level differs from that at the collegiate level. Elite gymnasts are judged on both the difficulty of their routine as well as execution. Those scores are then combined to garner a total score, which realistically may go as high as 17.0.

In order to qualify for the U.S Championships, senior Elite gymnasts at the American Challenge needed to score a 52.0 if they competed in the all-around, a 39.750 for just three events and a 27.0 for two events.

UTAHN SHINES IN HOPES CLASSIC: In the 12-13 age division of the Hopes Classic, held Friday evening, Salt Lake City native Lundyn VanderToolen tied for third place in the all-around competition with Jamison Sears (World Class Gymnatics) with a score of 49.0.

The first place finisher was Genie's Gymnastics' Mya Witte with a 51.30, while Lily Pederson (Flips Gymnastics) finished second with a 51.050.

VanderToolen, who competes for Olympus Gymnastics, also claimed an individual event title on uneven bars, on which she posted a score of 13.7.

Her third place finish secured her a spot in the Hopes Championships, which are held at the end of July (July 28) in conjunction with the U.S. Classic and are the final competition in Hopes level gymnasts' season.

The other Utahn, Camie Winger of Orem, (All-American Gymnastics) finished with an all-around score of 32.150 after competing on three events, vault, bars and balance beam.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024148/Trio-of-Utah-gymnastics-commits-among-nations-finest-at-USA-gymnastics-American-Classic.html

The Mark Harlan era begins at Utah with promises of openness, accountability and an embrace of a friendly and fierce rivalry

SALT LAKE CITY — The first phone call came from Mark Harlan's incredulous wife. Every call after that begged him to correct his mistake.

"It looked very legit," Harlan said of the fake Twitter account that made it appear he didn't know the difference between the university that just announced he'd be leading the athletic department (Utah) and the similarly named, but very different university to the north (Utah State). "I had more than a few people that called right away and said, 'Take that down!' I did not know what they were talking about because I was in Tampa doing my thing. Then I looked, and I understood. … The first person who called me, to yell at me, was my wife. It even fooled her. So again, much props to whoever it might be."

Harlan laughs long and loud as he talks about his "first exposure to the (Utah-BYU) rivalry," which came on the day he was announced as Chris Hill's successor. On June 1 a tweet appeared from the account @MarkHarlanUtah saying, "Excited for this new opportunity! Will do everything in my power to bring a National Championship to Utah State! #GoUtes."

Harlan was told, and Cougarboard suggests, it was a BYU fan or alumnus who is active on Twitter. The account has been deactivated by Twitter, but, on July 5, the University of Utah twitter account (@UUtah) asked the social media platform to give Harlan's actual account (@MarkHarlan_AD) the blue verified check mark to avoid any future issue.

"If I see him or her, they can get a high-five from me," he said, laughter filling his nearly empty new office. "Yeah, I had many people calling me saying, 'What did you do?' and I didn't know what they were talking about. The joys of social media!"

Harlan's response to the incident illustrates his social media philosophy.

"I think it's very important," he said of being active on Twitter. "People invest a lot in us, and they probably want to know what I'm thinking. And so, I met with the communications team this week and said, 'Let's crank it up. Let's have fun. You can't take yourself too seriously. I think that's really, really important."

Harlan said he's enjoyed his interaction with Utah fans, alumni and even some students.

"I like to have fun with it," he said. "I like it to be genuine. It's me. If anybody asks, I'll tell you it's me. I actually enjoy it. … I have found it to be a great way for me to message some things I'm thinking about."

He said if he makes missteps, his family, likely his 13-year-old daughter, will let him know immediately.

Ability to communicate

Harlan, 48, comes to Utah after his tenure as athletic director at the University of South Florida, where the Bulls won 13 conference championships in the American Athletic Conference during his four-year reign. Equally important is that USF graduated 82 percent of its student-athletes in 2017, and the school had four programs with perfect Academic Progress Report scores.

“Trust is built through relationships, and he’s really great at it.”

Under his leadership, eight sports enjoyed increases in attendance, including a 102.4 percent increase in volleyball, a 62 percent increase in men's soccer and a 35.2 percent increase in women's basketball.

Men's basketball coach Brian Gregory was hired by Harlan in the spring of 2016, and said that Harlan's success at USF was his ability to communicate.

"He is going to ask you, 'What do you need to be successful?'" said Gregory, who has coached college basketball for nearly 28 years. "And then he's going to go out and try and get that for you. If it can't be done, he'll come back and say, 'At this particular point, we can't get this done.' But the most important thing is communication. You know where you're at. Trust is built through relationships, and he's really great at it."

Gregory said he "felt" Harlan's integrity from their first conversation — from his vision for the department and his ability to support all a coach does, especially the unseen aspects that go unnoticed by boosters or fans. All are critical to building the kind of success Harlan will strive for at Utah — in the classroom, in competition and in the community.

"There are a lot of ways to be successful in that position," Gregory said. "The one thing I think he is, he's got great versatility. If it's fundraising you need, I think he's great at that because he's about building relationships; the time he spends with coaches, supporting the coaches.

University of South Florida Athletic Director Mark Harlan throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

AP

University of South Florida Athletic Director Mark Harlan throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

"One of the stories I heard before I got here was him sticking with Willie Taggart, really believing in him as a coach and seeing what was happening within the program, even when they weren't winning. So many times, if you're rebuilding, trying to get to another level, a lot of the stuff that shows that you're making progress is under the surface. … But everything he told me was true. He followed through on it. The academic piece is as important to him as kicking butt on the field."

Women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez, who has led the USF program for 18 years, said Harlan's support enhanced the program for the student-athletes and the fans.

"He was very supportive of our program," Fernandez said. "We went to the NCAA Tournament five of the last six years. … When he came in, we didn't have our own strength coach. He got us our own strength coach. Our season ticket numbers have increased every year, and we were supported with marketing dollars. We went on a foreign tour when he was here. … He really made it a big emphasis that we'd win in the classroom, on the court and in the community. There is a reason a Power 5 school like Utah hired him."

Fernandez echoed Gregory in asserting that one of Harlan's greatest strengths is his ability to 'balance' the unique demands of being a college athletic director — fundraising, hiring and supporting coaches, and helping student-athletes.

More than statistics

Jodie Libadisos, associate athletics director over student-athlete enhancement, said that Harlan saw more than statistics when he dealt with the young men and women representing the university on the field of play.

"In his time here, Mark added an additional staff member to our area to assist in the growing expectations and desire to make our program robust for our student-athletes," Libadisos said of the office that oversaw career development, community involvement, leadership advancement and personal enhancement. "Mark is very focused on the overall student-athlete experience and making sure they are at the center of his mindset on a daily basis. His door is always open for them, and he wants to make sure he knows them — by face, by name, and beyond their stats. He wants to know the student-athletes across all sports, no matter how high-profile they are."

Harlan is so passionate about how college athletics can transform a young person while that student-athlete elevates and enhances both the university and the wider community, that it may seem logical that it was born of his own student-athlete experience.

It was not.

'Something I wanted to do'

"I grew up playing tennis a lot, but I wasn't good enough to advance past the high school stage," he said. "The link for me in this industry, as a whole, came when I started working with the Arizona football program as a freshman in 1987."

“I just learned a lot about athletic departments, and how they run, and I asked a lot of questions. I realized when I graduated, this is something I wanted to do. It kind of launched my career.”

Working as a student manager for the Wildcats' football program helped him pay his tuition, but it also gave him a peek inside the collegiate athletic and academic experience that ended up shaping his life.

"I just learned a lot about athletic departments, and how they run, and I asked a lot of questions," he said. "I realized when I graduated, this is something I wanted to do. It kind of launched my career."

Harlan was fascinated by the uniqueness of the American collegiate athletic system, and all the different aspects of influence from coaches to athletic departments to classroom professors. Arizona's athletic director during that time was Cedric Dempsey, who went on to become the NCAA president from 1994-2003, and he was noted for restructuring the organization, cracking down on gambling and negotiating major television contracts with ESPN and CBS.

"I got interested in how does a young person come in and maybe not be completely college ready, maybe they're not prepped in a lot of the ways that a lot of the folks in the student body are, and how do they come in and succeed?" Harlan said. "What kind of tools can help them succeed?"

Supporting student-athletes

He was intrigued by the idea that someone athletically gifted would also have to excel in the classroom, and he was especially concerned with how the university supported those athletes.

"How do you put all those programs in place, and great people surrounding them so they compete at the highest level but also attain a degree and move forward," he said. "I once was told that outside the G.I. Bill, intercollegiate athletic scholarships are the largest access program for students in this country. It's billions of dollars in aid. So we know a lot of young people are coming in, but how can you create the system that helps them succeed?"

University of Utah President Ruth Watkins presents Mark Harlan as the new Athletics Director at a press conference at Rice Eccles Stadium on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Scott G Winterton

University of Utah President Ruth Watkins presents Mark Harlan as the new Athletics Director at a press conference at Rice Eccles Stadium on Monday, June 4, 2018.

During his introductory press conference, he said the U. would be successful in the classroom, on the field of competition and in the community. It's a philosophy the coaches he worked with at USF are intimately familiar with, and one that he said he will champion as the Utes' new administrator.

The duties of a collegiate athletic director can seem complex and wide-ranging, but Harlan said he likes to "shrink it really small."

"We have close to 500 people coming in here as 18-year-olds," he said. "We have to graduate them. You just have to stay focused on your values, your principles, invest in them, and when there are more resources, you can invest more."

Influential mentor

Former Arizona football head coach Dick Tomey, back in Arizona Stadium for the first time since 2000, jokes on the sidelines before the NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Arizona football head coach Dick Tomey, back in Arizona Stadium for the first time since 2000, jokes on the sidelines before the NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.

Harlan has a long list of mentors who have influenced and shaped him, from his parents to other athletic directors. But one of the most influential was coach Dick Tomey, who holds the all-time record for wins with the University of Arizona football program.

Tomey took over the program the first year Harlan worked as a student manager. In 2015, Harlan hired Tomey as an associate athletic director at USF, overseeing aspects of the football program, but he left after one year.

"I was on his staff as a graduate assistant for recruiting, and just the way he created such a family environment, in a very competitive environment," Harlan said of why Tomey had such an impact on him. "He showed that you could love your players and hug your players and care about them deeply and still hold them accountable and go out and win at an extremely high level. That's stuck with me. We can love the employees here and care about each other … but still hold each other accountable. Coach Tomey's philosophy has always stuck with me for my entire career."

'Fantastic place to be'

Harlan said he was impressed with Utah athletics long before he started seeing an opportunity for himself in Salt Lake City, but the Utes' entrance in the Pac-12 made the job opening irresistible.

Mark Harlan, the new athletic director at the University of Utah, listens to a question during an interview at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 29, 2018.

James Wooldridge, Deseret News

Mark Harlan, the new athletic director at the University of Utah, listens to a question during an interview at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 29, 2018.

"I think it's the greatest conference in America," he said. "It's just a fantastic place to be, and this is a great university."

While still in the process of moving his family to Salt Lake City, he met with his staff and coaches in hopes of better understanding the job he is undertaking.

"What I said to them is, 'If there are any barriers that I need to be aware of in the first week of what might be in the way for us, to deal with that, because we're here to win championships, and that's what we're going to do with high integrity," he said. "I explained to them, 'I'm going to challenge you, but I'm still going to hold myself accountable to make sure you have the things you need to win.′"

He said the one consistency he's seen in Utah's coaches is their commitment to their players.

"The consistent thing about all of them is how passionate they are in what they do," he said, adding that meeting them, "absolutely validated any decision-making about being here because we have some big-time coaches. We've got some veterans who know what they're doing."

Friends and rivals

Utah Valley University athletic director Vince Otoupal is a longtime friend who attended Harlan's initial press conference at Utah, and Harlan will strive to have friendly relationships with the state's other collegiate athletic directors.

Tom Holmoe, Director of Athletics at Brigham Young University, (right) watches a television monitor as host Dave McCann interviews BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake on BYUTV during the BYU football media day in the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

Steve Griffin

Tom Holmoe, Director of Athletics at Brigham Young University, (right) watches a television monitor as host Dave McCann interviews BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake on BYUTV during the BYU football media day in the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

He knows BYU's Tom Holmoe from their professional interaction, but he said he hopes for a close working relationship.

"Tom is such a kind person," Harlan said. "I've seen him at some athletic director meetings, and … we always kind of gravitate toward each other, and we had a dinner in Dallas a couple of years ago, and he's just a great person."

In fact, Harlan said, his face becoming more animated, "I just remember him as a player. He was a heck of a (defensive back). So I have great respect for him, and I'm looking forward to connecting with him in short order. … Sometimes you've got to pick up the phone and call people who are dealing with the same stuff and learn from them, too."

Harlan said that his primary responsibility is to the almost 500 student-athletes who come to Utah to compete while attaining their education. But he said their success doesn't just enhance their own lives.

"I know what a student-athlete, as an individual and collectively, as a unit and teams, what they can add to campus life," he said, "how they can integrate and be students all over this campus and then come back here and compete. I think they can bring great pride to an institution. I think they can bring great pride to a community."

He is not surprised that college sports have become a billion-dollar industry.

"I think people have come to realize that college athletics is arguably the greatest thing in this country," he said. "It's so unique, as you look at our place in the world, and in terms of the way our system is."

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900024124/The-Mark-Harlan-era-begins-at-Utah-with-promises-of-openness-accountability-and-an-embrace-of-a.html

25 years later, USA gymnastics back in Beehive State with future Red Rocks, Utahns competing

SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend, on the campus of the University of Utah, hundreds of female gymnasts, ranging from as young as 10 years old to 16 and older, will converge on the Jon M. Huntsman Center for one simple reason — USA Gymnastics is in town.

For the first time in almost 25 years, USA Gymnastics, in conjunction with the Huntsman Center and the Utah Sports Commission, will put on a competitive qualifying competition in the Beehive state.

"Our state is pleased to be hosting these aspiring athletes and future stars," Jeff Robbins, CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, said in a press release last month. "The Huntsman Center is an iconic gymnastics venue surrounded by a community that loves the sport."

“We hope the gymnastics community and local gymnastics fans will come out to support these young women while they are pursuing their dreams.”

There will be two competitions over the course of Friday and Saturday, each with multiple sessions.

Foremost among them is the American Classic, which will pit some of the country's premier Senior and Junior Elite level gymnasts against one another, with spots in the U.S. Classic and the 2018 U.S. Championships on the line. (In an Olympic year, gymnasts would then compete at the U.S. Championships for spots on the U.S. Olympic team).

Those gymnasts include 2017 World vault and floor exercise silver medalist Jade Carey, as well as Florida Gator commit and 2017 U.S. uneven bars champion Riley McCusker and future Red Rock and the 2018 Pacific Rim all-around champion Grace McCallum.

The other competition to be held over the weekend is the Hopes Classic, which features gymnasts between the ages of 10 and 13.

Success in this competition will earn Hopes level gymnasts — the level prior to Elite — spots in the Hopes Championships, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio later this month.

Lundyn VanderToolen of Salt Lake City (Utah/Olympus Gymnastics) and Camie Winger of Orem (All-American Gymnastics) will represent the state of Utah.

"We look forward to having the American and Hopes Classics at the Huntsman Center," Annie Heffernon, interim vice president of USA women's gymnastics, said. "These rising stars are looking to qualify for either the U.S. Classic, Hope Championship or the U.S. Championships. We hope the gymnastics community and local gymnastics fans will come out to support these young women while they are pursuing their dreams."

WELCOME TO YOUR FUTURE HOME: McCallum, a native of Isanti, Minnesota, is not the only future Red Rock who will make an appearance at the Huntsman Center.

Deanne Soza of Coppell, Texas, and Jaylene Gilstrap of McKinney, Texas, each have made verbal commitments to the U.

Soza, who has competed on previous U.S. national teams, is slated to join the Red Rocks for the 2020-21 season, as is Gilstrap.

McCallum, meanwhile, is set make the Huntsman Center her home away from home in 2021-22.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: The last time USA Gymnastics held a competitive Elite level meet in Utah was in August of 1993. Nearly 25 years ago, the competition was the Coca-Cola National Gymnastics Championships, held in the Delta Center.

The headliner of that meet was Shannon Miller, who at that time was 16 years old and had yet to win a national championship.

At the conclusion of the competition, Miller stood above all the rest with an all-around score of 78.410.

The runner-up was Dominique Dawes, who scored a 77.440 in the all-around, followed by Kerri Strug and Amanda Borden.

Those four, as well as Dominique Moceanu, Amy Chow and Jaycie Phelps went on to form the "Magnificent Seven," the 1996 U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team that claimed the first ever gold medal for the U.S. in the team competition.


USA Gymnastics American and Hopes Classics schedule

Hopes Classic: Friday, 3 p.m. (ages 10-11) and 6:15 p.m. (12-13)

American Classic: Saturday, 11 a.m. (Juniors) and 4 p.m. (Seniors)

All sessions are available to watch on the USA Gymnastics YouTube Channel

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023942/25-years-later-USA-gymnastics-back-in-Beehive-State-with-future-Red-Rocks-Utahns-competing.html

Locals in NBA Summer League: BYU’s Elijah Bryant earns chance with 76ers, Utah’s Tyler Rawson with Magic

As many as six players with Utah ties are expected to get their shot to make an impression with a pro team during the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which begins Friday.

Summer league rosters are still subject to change before the tournament, and as of Wednesday night, one NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, has yet to announce theirs. That leaves the door open for other Utah ties to be playing in Las Vegas or for those already announced to miss out.

Among rookies, former BYU guard Elijah Bryant was named the Philadelphia 76ers' 17-man summer league minicamp roster, while former Utah forward Tyler Rawson is a part of the Orlando Magic roster for the Vegas tournament.

This will be the first time that all 30 NBA teams will be represented in the Las Vegas summer league tournament, which runs July 6-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on UNLV's campus. Each team will play three games before tournament-style play begins July 11, culminating in a championship game July 17.

Here's a look at each of the locals and their team's schedule:

Elijah Bryant, Philadelphia 76ers

Brigham Young Cougars guard Elijah Bryant drives with St. Mary's Gaels forward Calvin Hermanson defending during the West Coast Conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas on Monday, March 5, 2018.

Ravell Call

Brigham Young Cougars guard Elijah Bryant drives with St. Mary's Gaels forward Calvin Hermanson defending during the West Coast Conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas on Monday, March 5, 2018.

Utah tie: BYU

Bryant elected to turn pro after his junior season with the Cougars. He averaged a team-leading 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last year for BYU while earning All-West Coast Conference first-team honors. He also shot 49.4 percent from the field, a team-best 41.5 percent from 3-point range and had 44 steals.

Among the other shooting guards Bryant will have to contend for opportunities with on the 76ers' summer league roster are a pair of 2018 NBA draft first-round picks. They include Texas Tech's Zhaire Smith, who the team acquired in a draft-night trade with Phoenix, and Wichita State's Landry Shamet. Second-year 76ers player Furkan Kormaz will also be there.

July 6: Philadelphia vs. Boston, 5:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN)

July 7: Philadelphia vs. L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN2)

July 9: Philadelphia vs. Washington, 3:30 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

Tyler Rawson, Orlando Magic

Tyler Rawson talks to journalists during a Utah Jazz workout at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

Spenser Heaps

Tyler Rawson talks to journalists during a Utah Jazz workout at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

Utah tie: Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Southern Utah, American Fork High

Rawson finished his college career with his best year in 2017-18, when he averaged 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He also led the Utes in blocks with 32.

Rawson, a 6-foot-10 power forward, will be searching for playing time along with several big men, including Jonathan Isaac, the Magic's No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. Other big men on the Orlando roster include Mohamed Bamba, the 7-foot center from Texas who the Magic took sixth overall in this year's draft, and Khem Birch, a fifth-year pro who signed with Orlando last year.

July 6: Orlando vs. Brooklyn, 3 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

July 7: Orlando vs. Memphis, 7:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN2)

July 9: Orlando vs. Phoenix, 7:30 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

Kyle Collinsworth, Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyle Collinsworth (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 91-89. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyle Collinsworth (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 91-89. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Utah tie: BYU, Provo High

Collinsworth was a late addition to the Mavericks Summer League roster, according to team digital content producer Bobby Karalla. The third-year pro played for Dallas in summer league in 2016, helping him land with the Texas Legends of the NBA's development league.

Last year, Collinsworth got his chance at playing in the NBA, signing a two-way contract with Dallas in December. He played in 32 games for the Mavericks, starting two, and averaged 3.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

July 6: Dallas vs. Phoenix, 7:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN)

July 8: Dallas vs. Milwaukee, 5 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

July 9: Dallas vs. Golden State, 5:30 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans

Due to foot surgery New Orleans rookie Frank Jackson isn't dressed for the game against Utah at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

Adam Fondren

Due to foot surgery New Orleans rookie Frank Jackson isn't dressed for the game against Utah at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

Utah tie: Lone Peak High

Jackson missed his rookie NBA season last year, including summer league play, with a right foot injury. He played one season at Duke before going pro and was the first pick of the second round in the 2017 NBA draft.

"He can contort his body and use the rim to finish around the basket. His jump shot is also something that's a weapon right now, especially off the dribble. I think he has the tools to be a good defender at the NBA level," Pelicans Director of Player Personnel David Booth told team writer Jim Eichenhofer.

https://twitter.com/Jim_Eichenhofer/status/1013889102217990145

July 6: New Orleans vs. Toronto, 1:30 p.m. MDT (ESPNU)

July 7: New Orleans vs. Miami, 3 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

July 9: New Orleans vs. Detroit, 1 p.m. MDT (ESPNU)

C.J. Wilcox, Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Clippers' C.J. Wilcox takes a shot during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

John Raoux

Los Angeles Clippers' C.J. Wilcox takes a shot during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Utah tie: Pleasant Grove High

Wilcox originally began his pro career as a 2014 first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Clippers and has also played for the Orlando Magic and in the NBA's development G League, most recently with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Wilcox signed a two-way contract with Portland last year before a knee injury hampered him. He averaged 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists during the 2017-18 season in G League play with the Warriors.

July 6: Indiana vs. Houston, 1 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

July 7: Indiana vs. San Antonio, 1:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN2)

July 9: Indiana vs. Cleveland, 3 p.m. MDT (ESPN2)

Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan, right, shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The Trail Blazers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

AP

Portland Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan, right, shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The Trail Blazers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Utah tie: Former Salt Lake City resident

Swanigan averaged 2.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.1 blocks per game as a rookie last year after being a late first-round draft pick by Portland. He is one of five returning roster Trail Blazers players to suit up for the team's summer league roster.

July 7: Portland vs. Utah, 1 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

July 8: Portland vs. Atlanta, 3:30 p.m. MDT (ESPN2)

July 10: Portland vs. San Antonio, 2 p.m. MDT (NBA TV)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023515/Locals-in-NBA-Summer-League-BYUrsquos-Elijah-Bryant-earns-chance-with-76ers-Utahrsquos-Tyler.html

Rock On: Public enemy No. 1 in Utah? Gordon Hayward, Deron Williams or Enes Kanter?

FULL MEMBERSHIP

The 2018 Ute football team features both the Lou Groza and Ray Guy award winners — something no team in NCAA history has done — thanks to the return of punter Mitch Wishnowsky and placekicker Matt Gay.

How good are they?

The kickers are being called teammates, instead of "little guys over there with clean uniforms."

BOBBY BALL

Okotoks Dawgs manager Mitch Schmidt became an internet sensation after video showed him hucking chairs onto the baseball field during a game against the Edmonton Prospects.

Some of the lunges were backhand over his head.

This gives an entirely new meaning to the term "getting tossed."

Grayson Allen, the Utah Jazz's first-round pick at the NBA draft, is introduced at a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Grayson Allen, the Utah Jazz's first-round pick at the NBA draft, is introduced at a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

A FRESH TAKE

Jazz management says one of the benefits of drafting Grayson Allen is that he hates to lose.

"Would you be interested in trading him?" said the Cleveland Browns.

MEAN, NOT CLEAN

Senegal became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated under the "fair play" tiebreaker rule, which factors in yellow and red cards.

The 1980s' Detroit Pistons are saying, "Fair play? What's that?"

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Deron Williams warms up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

AP

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Deron Williams warms up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

RESERVE ROLE

Deron Williams told the Salt Lake Tribune he's glad to no longer be public enemy No. 1 in Utah, thanks to Gordon Hayward's controversial departure last year.

Enes Kanter is thinking: "Rats! I'm still a backup in Utah."

In this June 8, 2018, photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James stands on the court in the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert didn't trash James on his way out this time. He promised to retire his jersey. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

AP

In this June 8, 2018, photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James stands on the court in the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert didn't trash James on his way out this time. He promised to retire his jersey. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

GO WEST

LeBron James is now "L.A.Bron."

Which is probably a good thing.

CleBron always sounded awkward.

HEROES, ALL

Speculation is that a trade might still land Kawhi Leonard in L.A.

The Lakers have their sights on having more superheroes than an Avengers movie.

Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, poses in the press room with the defensive player of the year award at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 25, 2018, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, poses in the press room with the defensive player of the year award at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 25, 2018, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

PIECE OF CAKE

Rudy Gobert was named Defensive Player of the Year on the eve of his 26th birthday.

To celebrate, he swatted out the candles.

ICED OUT

Days after his team was eliminated from World Cup play, Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrimsson officiated a youth soccer tournament in his hometown of Vestmannaeyjar.

Meanwhile, the American side is scouting out Iceland as a place to lie low until the next World Cup comes around.

Utah's Keith Van Horn waves to the crowd after accepting the game ball from Monday night's game against Rice where Van Horn became the all-time Utes' basketball scorer. Utah Head coach Rick Majerus reaches to get Van Horn to speak to the crowd before the start of Thursday, Feb. 27, 1997 night's game against UTEP at the Huntsman Center. Chuck Wing/Deseret News

DNEWS

Utah's Keith Van Horn waves to the crowd after accepting the game ball from Monday night's game against Rice where Van Horn became the all-time Utes' basketball scorer. Utah Head coach Rick Majerus reaches to get Van Horn to speak to the crowd before the start of Thursday, Feb. 27, 1997 night's game against UTEP at the Huntsman Center. Chuck Wing/Deseret News

NOSING AROUND

Ex-Ute Keith Van Horn, quoting Rick Majerus: "You know, (expletive) Doleac's dad thinks he knows something about the pick and roll. I told him that it's actually done with the thumb and forefinger."

HAIL TO THE …

Bees announcer Steve Klauke on a Cuban player named Victor Victor: "His walk-up song should be the U of Michigan's fight song."

THE TRUE PICTURE

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon: "ESPN's annual Body Issue comes out this week. While everyone else's body issues will come out after they read it."

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023529/Rock-On-Public-enemy-No-1-in-Utah-Gordon-Hayward-Deron-Williams-or-Enes-Kanter.html

Morning links: Kyle Kuzma excited to play with LeBron; Danny Ainge says Gordon Hayward is progressing

As news spread of LeBron James' decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, one person with local ties who will be directly impacted shared his excitement.

Former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma, who had a solid rookie season with the Lakers last year, posted multiple tweets welcoming James to the City of Angels.

Kuzma also welcomed a few of the other players whom Los Angeles has agreed to deals with in a busy first few days of the free agency period.

Kuzma, who has been mentioned as a player who could get traded if the Lakers make a deal for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, has been keeping busy over the last few days, as he played quarterback at a charity football game hosted by Cincinnati Bengals and former University of Washington receiver John Ross.

Danny Ainge says Gordon Hayward is progressing after second surgery

The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach reported on Monday that Celtics forward and former Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward is progressing after undergoing a second surgery in May related to the ankle injury he suffered in the opening minutes of last season.

Almost a year to the day Hayward decided from his summer home in San Diego to leave the Jazz in free agency, he returned to San Diego, with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge telling Himmelsbach, "Before he left, he was running out on the basketball court. He was back to resuming basketball activities. It feels great."

Last week, Hayward published a blog post detailing the surgery, which he wrote was not originally expected to be part of the recovery process.

Other links

And finally...

Speaking of Jazz point guards and throwbacks, a video was posted on Twitter from an account called NBA Inside Stuff (not officially affiliated with the TV show) of former Utah floor general Deron Williams putting the moves on Chris Paul and Jason Terry back in the day.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023607/Morning-links-Kyle-Kuzma-excited-to-play-with-LeBron-Danny-Ainge-says-Gordon-Hayward-is.html

Morning links: Eric Weddle disses old scouting report that questioned his NFL ability

Eric Weddle's success in the NFL is clear by virtue of his career numbers: 11 NFL seasons, 1,002 tackles, 29 interceptions, 92 pass deflections, five Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro citations.

Recently, the former Utah safety said he is still "proving them wrong" in response to a Twitter user posting an old scouting report that suggested he wouldn't find success in the NFL.

Weddle's response: "The experts said back in the day..... still proving them wrong."

Nathan Beaucage of Ravens Wire attributed the scouting report to SB Nation's Block U and said the biggest knock on Weddle in that report was his lack of size — Weddle stands 5-foot-11.

"Though it wasn't a hot take at the time over a decade ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find any present-day football fan still willing to characterize Weddle as a mere 'serviceable back,'" Beaucage wrote.

Utah fans also shared their support for the man and player that Weddle has become.

Key to playoff contention

ESPN broke down five players who will be the most important for each NFL team to make the playoffs in 2018, and a Ute, a Cougar and an Aggie all made the list.

For the Washington Redskins, former Utah quarterback Alex Smith tops the list: "Smith has only won twice in the playoffs, but he has started a postseason game in five of the past seven seasons. Smith's teams have a 69-31-1 record since 2011 with him starting. Only Tom Brady has more wins over that span. Smith needs good players around him to win, but he's shown that when he has that he'll succeed — at least in the regular season," wrote John Keim.

For the Detroit Lions, former BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is listed: "When Ansah is healthy, he's one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL and a game-changer for Detroit's defense. The if-he's-healthy part has been the problem for the Lions," wrote Michael Rothstein.

For the Seattle Seahawks, former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner is vital: "By virtue of his position, he always has been the quarterback of Seattle's defense, so to speak. Chancellor had long been the vocal leader of that group, but his departure means Wagner will take on more of that responsibility," wrote Brady Henderson.

And finally ...

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr reacted to the news of LeBron James agreeing to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting new fans of the team to fill out a questionaire on when they became Lakers fans.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023494/Morning-links-Eric-Weddle-disses-old-scouting-report-that-questioned-his-NFL-ability.html

From Jimmer to former Jazzmen, what Utahns need to know about 2018’s The Basketball Tournament

Yes, Jimmer Fredette will be playing in this year's The Basketball Tournament.

But there are plenty of interesting storylines beyond the former BYU basketball star in the 5-on-5 basketball tournament where teams are fighting to win the $2 million prize, with $200,000 set aside for fans of the winning team who can vote (and network) their way to a share of the money.

Here's why Utahns should be paying attention to TBT 2018.

Tournament size: This year's field will include 72 teams, with 18 in each of the tournament's four regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, West). Last year, there were 64 teams in the tournament.

Tournament dates: The majority of the first and second rounds (and play-in games) will take place the weekends of July 14-15 and July 21-22 at several locations. Super 16 and quarterfinal action will be played in Atlanta from July 27-29, followed by the semifinals on Aug. 2 and championship game on Aug. 3 in Baltimore, Maryland.

How to watch: ESPN3 will be streaming the majority of the early-round games, while a handful of the Midwest Region first- and second-round games will be on ESPN and ESPN2. From the Super 16 round on, games will either be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, with the semifinals and championship all on ESPN.

Check out the full broadcast schedule here.

New this year: There are two four-team pods — the Hoopfest Pod and Big East Pod — that will begin first- and second-round action two weeks before the rest of the tournament field. These pods are made up of teams that feature alumni from certain colleges, a common practice in TBT play.

The Hoopfest Pod, part of the West Region, includes the Utah alumni squad Team Utah, as well as Few Good Men (Gonzaga alumni), Gael Force (Saint Mary's) and Air Force Bomb Squad (Air Force).

Team Utah and Few Good Men play Friday night at 8 p.m. MDT in Spokane, Wash., in first-round play, while Gael Force and Air Force Bomb Squad play in the earlier game at 6 p.m. The winners play in the second round Saturday at 8:30 p.m., with all three games streaming on Watch ESPN.

The Big East Pod, which also starts play this weekend, is in the Midwest Region and features Jack Attack (Georgetown alumni), Hall in (Seton Hall), Golden Eagles (Marquette) and Johnnies (St. John's).

Meet Team Fredette: Last year, Fredette served as head coach for his team in its first year in The Basketball Tournament. This year, though, Fredette told ESPN he will be dropping the clipboard and playing in the tournament, with hopes of earning another shot at the NBA.

"I would always love to get another chance in the NBA," Fredette told ESPN. "I've gotten better in China and improved every year. ... You hope somebody takes notice."

Fredette's career has taken him from the NBA (four teams in five years) to the NBA's development league and most recently to the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shanghai Sharks the past two seasons. Fredette told ESPN he would honor his Chinese Basketball Association contract, which has one more year, before pursuing another shot in the NBA.

Like last year, former Cougar Charles Abouo will play for Team Fredette, and Brandon Davies may play as well. He played for Team Fredette in 2017.

"I'm leaning towards playing," Davies told BYU Sports Nation on Friday, saying a lot will depend on how his body is feeling. He recently helped lead his Lithuanian team, Zalgiris Kaunas, to an 80-70 win over Lietuvos Rytas to clinch the LKL championship.

Team Fredette will be competing in the Midwest Region. They will play the winner of West Coast Ronin and Peoria Allstars on June 21 at 10 a.m. in Columbus, Ohio, in a game televised on ESPN.

Meet Team Utah: The Utah alumni team has several former Utes returning to the roster for the squad's fourth straight year in the tournament. Team Utah advanced as far as the quarterfinals in 2016.

Former Utes back are general manager/power forward Shaun Green, point guard Tim Drisdom and shooting guard Dakarai Tucker.

This year's version also has three players from other Utah schools, with former Utah State small forward Danny Berger, Weber State point guard Nick Covington and Utah Valley center Akolda Manyang also joining Team Utah.

If Team Utah advances past the first two rounds in the Hoopfest Pod, it could potentially play Team Colorado, a University of Colorado alumni team, in the round of 16.

A look back: Team Utah and Team Fredette met in the first round of last year's West Region, with Team Utah winning 100-97. Drisdom hit an off-balance 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds to play to lift Team Utah to the victory over the Fredette-coached team. Team Utah fell 85-83 in the second round to Few Good Men, meaning their first-round matchup this year will give Team Utah a chance at some revenge.

No The Wasatch Front in 2018: Last year, a Weber State alumni team — with Damian Lillard as one of its coaches — made its debut in the tournament.

They aren't back in the TBT field this year, though. In 2017, The Wasatch Front fell to Team Challenge ALS 97-81 in the first round of West Region play.

Meet Utah Valor: In the West Region this year, there is a team called Utah Valor that will have to face Fort Hood Wounded Warriors for the chance to play West top seed Team Challenge ALS in the first round.

Weber State alum Bryan Tracy serves as the team's general manager/head coach, while one of the team's players, shooting guard Chris Jones, hails from Spanish Fork and was a Utah high school all-star, according to his player profile.

Other Utah college connections: Former Weber State shooting guard Scott Bamforth is playing for Albuquerque Hoops in the West Region, with their first-round game against Forks Up on July 15. Former Utah State and Provo High forward Tai Wesley, coincidentally, is playing for Forks Up, a team comprised mainly of Arizona State alums.

Chris Woods, a former Weber State basketball player, is also an assistant coach with team The Region in the Midwest Region.

Utah Jazz connections: Ronnie Brewer, a former longtime Jazzman who most recently played for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA Developmental G League, will play for Team Arkansas, a squad comprised mostly of Arkansas alums, in the Northeast Region. Team Arkansas faces Tim Thomas' Playaz on July 21.

Josh Howard, who played for the Jazz for two seasons, is playing for Wake the Nation, a team of Wake Forest alums, in the South Region. Wake the Nation will first play Showtime on July 14.

Eric Maynor, a former Jazzman drafted by the team in 2009, is suiting up for Ram Nation, a team of VCU alumni. Ram Nation is also in the South Region and will play the winner of Cancer Plus 1 and Tampa 20/20 on July 14.

Eric Griffin, who signed a two-way contract with the Jazz last year and played for the Jazz G League affiliate Salt Lake City Stars, is playing for Team DRC in the South Region. Team DRC first plays NC Prodigal Sons on July 14.

Other names to know: Matt Barnes, a longtime NBA player who most recently played for the Golden State Warriors in 2017, is playing in TBT for Sons of Westwood, a UCLA alumni team, in the West Region. Former NBA players Shannon Brown, PJ Hairston, Josh Powell and Solomon Jones are all playing for ATL All Stars in the South Region and ex-NBA players Jared Sullinger, Glen Rice Jr., Jeremy Pargo and Lou Amundsen are also playing in the tournament.

In addition, current Indiana Pacer Darren Collison is the head coach for Team Challenge ALS in the West Region, and Evan Turner of the Portland Trail Blazers is the head coach for Sullinger's team, Scarlet & Gray, the Ohio State alumni team, in the Midwest Region.

The Elam Ending rule back for good: Last year, The Basketball Tournament experimented with something called The Elam Ending rule for several games. A few weeks ago, the tournament announced that the Elam rule will be in effect in every TBT game this year.

Here's the rundown on how it works, based on research by Nick Elam, a 34-year-old middle school principal and coordinator of a group of Mensa sports fans. After the first dead ball with under four minutes remaining, the clock will be turned off and a "Target Score" determined. To determine the target score, seven points will be added to the leading team's score, and the first team to the target score wins the game. For example, if one team leads 81-76, the target score would become 88.

The reason Elam developed this system was to try to eliminate intentional fouling at the end of games, which can bog down the end of contests. ESPN explains the process and detail behind the Elam Ending in greater detail here.

The favorite: Overseas Elite, who has won the past three tournaments. The Fighting Alumni (Notre Dame) won the inaugural event in 2014.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023298/From-Jimmer-to-former-Jazzmen-what-Utahns-need-to-know-about-2018rsquos-The-Basketball-Tournament.html

Morning links: Dear LeBron James, I’m breaking up with you (+MUSS’s newest fan and weekend planner)

SALT LAKE CITY — While NBA teams covet him, LeBron James got dumped on social media.

Former Utah Jazz forward Richard Jefferson posted a break-up letter to his Cleveland teammate on his Snapchat account earlier this week.

"It is with great remorse that I am writing this," Jefferson wrote. "After many years as a peer and many years as (a) friend and teammate I have decided to end my friendship with LeBron James."

Jefferson had a legit reason — even if presented in a tongue-in-cheek manner — to end the friendship. He's tired of being asked questions about James' impending free agency.

"I am saying this publicly so that the fans and media members can please stop asking me where he is going in free agency. I don't know, my family doesn't know and neither do my kids. Unfortunately I live in Los Angeles so the questions are unavoidable but hopefully this helps to clear things up."

Jefferson then aired some dirty laundry — well, sorta — from the Cavs' locker room.

"Truth be told, I never liked the guy," he wrote. "He works too hard. It makes the rest of us look bad. He's my son's favorite player and I view that as a complete betrayal of how hard I've worked to put a roof over his head."

Jefferson apologized for the Drake-like response, adding "but I feel like this is the best way to address this issue that I'm clearly losing also."

James has yet to post a response. Keep refreshing your screen.

THAT'S THE SPIRIT

The University of Utah's Mighty Utes Student Section — aka The Muss — has a new fan. Mark Harlan, who recently replaced Chris Hill as the university's athletic director, made it clear he's looking forward to joining in on the fun next fall at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

GIVING BACK

Former Ute Kyle Kuzma is hosting a free basketball clinic for youths. Only problem for Utahns? You have to travel to Flint, Michigan, to participate.

HECK OF A CATCH

Even if you're not a fan of the New York Yankees, you've got to like this fun moment.

Baseball-loving boy plays catch with New York Yankees star

Young baseball fan's night is made as New York Yankees star Aaron Judge plays catch with him from the stands in the middle of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. https://abcn.ws/2KeuPAR

Posted by ABC News on Thursday, June 28, 2018

WEEKEND PLANNER

Friday, June 29

FIFA World Cup

Golf: Women's PGA Championship

Golf: U.S. Senior Open

Minors: Bees at Las Vegas, 8 p.m.

Minors: Owlz vs. Raptors

Saturday, June 30

FIFA World Cup

Golf: Women's PGA Championship

Golf: U.S. Senior Open

MLS: RSL at Columbus, 5:30 p.m.

NWSL: Utah Royals vs. Sky Blue FC, 8 p.m.

Minors: Bees at Las Vegas, 8 p.m.

Minors: Owlz vs. Grand Junction

Minors: Raptors vs. Idaho Falls

Sunday, July 1

FIFA World Cup

Golf: Women's PGA Championship

Golf: U.S. Senior Open

Minors: Bees at Las Vegas, 8 p.m.

Minors: Owlz vs. Grand Junction

Minors: Raptors vs. Idaho Falls

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023270/Morning-links-Dear-LeBron-James-Im-breaking-up-with-you-MUSSs-newest-fan-and-weekend-planner.html

Morning links: Alex Smith among biggest omissions on NFL Top 100 list

Former Utah quarterback Alex Smith is coming off his most successful statistical season as a pro, throwing for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns against just five interceptions with a league-leading 104.7 passer rating for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 NFL season.

That, unfortunately, didn't land the new Washington Redskins starting quarterback on the NFL Network's list of the "Top 100 Players of 2018." Smith's absence from the list was one of the biggest omissions.

"Unfortunately, Smith's unfair and inaccurate reputation for being a game manager and a quarterback who benefits from better teammates has worn into his uniform so deeply that multiple playoff appearances and top-10 numbers don't get him into the 'Top 100,' " Around the NFL's Nick Shook wrote.

"Alex Smith is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history. I will die on this hill."

The NFL Network has produced the Top 100 lists since 2011 — the top 10 in this year's list was unveiled earlier in the week — and this year's version ended a two-year streak of Smith landing on the list. He was ranked No. 81 the past two years in his only appearances on the Top 100.

"I don't even think Alex Smith should have been on there. Alex Smith should have been really high up on that list," former NFL MVP quarterback Kurt Warner said during an NFL Network segment. "You look at what he's done his whole career, all he does is win games and play well.

"And then last year, he was an MVP candidate through three-fourths of the season at least. How is he not on the Top 100 list?"

Sixteen quarterbacks made the 2018 list, including three in the top 10: New England's Tom Brady at No. 1, Philadelphia's Carson Wentz at No. 3 and New Orleans' Drew Brees at No. 9. Houston's DeShaun Watson was the lone rookie quarterback from last season on the list, at No. 50.

The lone Utah tie on the 2018 Top 100 was former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner. The Seattle All-Pro came in at No. 21, 18 spots higher than his place on the 2017 list.

Weddle also missing from Top 100

Former Utah safety Eric Weddle was also absent from this year's Top 100 — he was last ranked on the annual list in 2015 when he came in at No. 86. Like Smith, Weddle has been on the Top 100 twice. He was No. 92 in 2014.

Last year, Weddle made the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his NFL career and had six interceptions, third-most in the NFL, while adding 63 tackles, eight passes defended and two forced fumbles.

Teammate Tony Jefferson argued for the Ravens safety, as well as fellow defender Terrell Suggs, to be included in the Top 100.

Other links

20 questions with Chase Hansen (UtahUtes.com)

Royce Freeman pushing Devontae Booker to be Broncos' lead back (NBC Sports)

And finally …

This year's Utah recipients for the Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal were skier Martin Bergstrom and gymnast Maddy Stover. The conference medal is awarded annually to an outstanding senior male and female student-athlete at each Pac-12 institution based on several factors, including academics, athletics and leadership.

Bergstrom earned three individual NCAA championships during his college career, a school record, and was a 2018 Academic All-American. Stover was a second-team All-American in 2015 and started for the Utes the past four years while earning Pac-12 All-Academic honors three times.

This is the fourth time in five years that a Utah gymnast has received the award, as Stover joins Breanna Hughes, Georgia Dabritz and Mary Beth Lofgren. Bergstrom becomes the second men's skier at Utah to earn the award, along with Miles Havlick in 2013.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900023135/Morning-links-Alex-Smith-among-biggest-omissions-on-NFL-Top-100-list.html