Basketball signing day tends to come and go with much less fanfare than that joyful day in February when the football team announces its signing class.
That could be the result of Utah’s struggles on the court as opposed to the years of success on the football field.
It could also be that there are essentially two signing periods for college basketball which splits the player haul.
So, on Wednesday, three players, Ahmad Fields, Kenneth Ogbe and Princeton Onwas, joined fellow commits Marko Kovacevic, Brandon Miller, Parker Van Dyke and Delon Wright in the 2013 recruiting class. Seven players signed to replace just four outgoing seniors. Brandon Miller plans to leave immediately on an LDS mission which could have allowed a current player to remain on the roster. Instead, Coach Krystkowiak decided to let three players go and open up the avenue for a late signee.
The University announced this week that Aaron Dotson, Glen Dean and Justin Seymour would transfer out of the program.
Glen Dean seems like the biggest loss in this group. Dean played just one season for the Utes after transferring from Eastern Washington and sitting out a year. Dean started 21 games and played in all 33. He averaged 5.5 points per game and was second on the team with 70 assists. His minutes dipped significantly, however, with the emergence of true-freshman Brandon Taylor.
I hate to see another freshman leave the program but that’s the case with Justin Seymour. Sure he didn’t contribute as much as Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor or Dakarai Tucker but he obviously had enough potential to play in 25 games including two starts. He averaged 3.3 points per game in just over 11 minutes.
Aaron Dotson was highly regarded after transferring into the program from LSU. Many thought he would be a key contributor this year but was hampered with injuries and only played in ten games. I still question if he has the potential to compete in the PAC-12 but with just one year of eligibility remaining, Coach K must consider that more of a risk than a potential benefit.
Many thought Renan Lenz would be among the players to leave the program after a dismal junior season with the team. He stays and will be the only senior on the floor for the Utes next year.
So what do we know about the newcomers?
Ahmad Fields, according to a news release from the University, is a 6’5″ shooting guard from Washington, D.C. Fields picked the Utes over offers from Colorado, USC, St. Joseph’s, Drexel, Ole Miss and Miami. Certainly that’s a good get for Coach K over some high-profile programs. Fields s a southpaw that can play multiple positions. During his senior season at Massanutten Military Academy he averaged 17 points per game. He also played for one of the premier AAU programs in the country, DC Assault.
“Ahmad is a playmaker, plain and simple,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s a slasher with the ability to get to the bucket and earn points at the free-throw line. He will excel in our transition game and adds to our depth and rotation of skilled, athletic players on the roster this upcoming season.”
Kenneth Ogbe joins the Utes from Ehingen, Germany. He is another on the growing list of athletic perimeter players taking their talents to Salt Lake City. Ogbe may be the biggest question mark of the recruiting class but the coaches hang their hat on the fact that he scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Arby’s Classic Championship Game in Bristol, TN. Ogbe’s team was the first international squad to capture the championship of that tournament in its 30 year history.
“Kenneth will be a valuable player in the backcourt,” Krystkowiak added. “His size on the perimeter will help immensely on the defensive end of the court. He matches a high-level skill set with a great knowledge for the game.”
Princeton Onwas heads to Salt Lake City from the junior college ranks. He’s another 6’5″ wing with an ability to score from the perimeter or by attacking the basket. Onwas lead his Navarro College team to the Region XIV Championship game. He averaged just a shade over 11 points per game, good enough to lead Navarro.
“Princeton will be asked to step in and play the role of a Cedric Martin-type player, tough with a defensive mindset,” Krystkowiak stated. “He has good feet which allow him to defend high-level wing players that we see nightly in this conference. His passing skills add another dimension to our offense and he is another athlete in our class that can play above the rim.”
Here’s an early look at the depth chart for 2013-14:
PG: Brandon Taylor/Kenneth Ogbe
SG: Delon Wright/Parker Van Dyke/Ahmad Fields
SF: Dakarai Tucker/Princeton Onwas
PF: Jordan Loveridge/Jeremy Olsen
C: Dallin Bachynski/Marko Kovacevic