Utes Basketball: Most Pivotal Player on the Roster

Utah Utes guard Kenneth Ogbe attempts to go around Brigham Young Cougars forward Luke Worthington at the Marriott Center in Provo Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. The University of Utah beat BYU, 65-61. (Hugh Carey, Deseret News)

Last season was all about Delon Wright. The question now is: Who will be the most pivotal player in the coming season? No, it will not be Jakob Poeltl. Talk about low-hanging fruit. The Utes need a player who can create shots for himself and his teammates. I present you two answers: Isaiah Wright and Kenneth Ogbe.

That’s right people, Kenneth Ogbe is on the list.

Kenneth Ogbe

There were instances where Ogbe showed a flair to be able to create his own shot. Ogbe did have the second-highest free throw rate on the team during conference play. He also showed an ability to get in the paint and take fouls. I would have liked to have seen more assists out of Ogbe, but I believe he has it in him to find an open player. Finally, he can hit an outside jumper. He shot just under 40% from beyond the arc per 40 minutes.

Depending on playing time, he should have an opportunity to show the previously mentioned skills. However, what about the pick and roll? Larry Krystkowiak has recently said that Jakob Poeltl needs to develop a go-to move. I suggest he already has one, the pick and roll. The problem last season was getting it to Poeltl. This is the one question that will be asked of the guards on the Runnin’ Utes. Can you make an entry pass to Jakob Poeltl? I just don’t know whether Ogbe can. I mean, if Delon Wright couldn’t and he is an NBA first-round pick… Hopefully this is the skill the guards are working on this summer because this coming season will be the year of the pick and roll.

Isaiah Wright

Isaiah Wright is the true answer to whom might be the most pivotal player on the Utes roster outside of Poeltl. One Wright leaves and another Wright has a shot at a starting spot. Isaiah Wright appears to be the only true point guard on the roster. Isaiah had the second-highest assist average per 40 minutes on the team (1. Delon Wright, 6.1; 2. Isaiah Wright, 5.5). When he is on the floor, he is definitely looking to get his teammates the ball with a good shot opportunity. In fact, I would say he did that almost to a fault. He was dead last in field goal attempts per 40 minutes on the team. At points, he would get in the paint with an opportunity to score, but then pass it up to a player with an open jumper.

Speaking of getting in the lane, the player ahead of Ogbe in free throw rate in conference play? Isaiah Wright. What about outside range? Looking at three-point-shooting percentage, Isaiah Wright shot 45% in conference play. That puts him right between Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor. Not too bad.

It all comes back to the pick and roll. Poeltl is planning on being the main guy this coming season. I am sure Coach Krystkowiak told him that much in their recent meetings. So, will Isaiah Wright get him the ball? Of any of the options on the current roster, Isaiah is the best hope.

I know the Utes are bringing in two guards from the junior college ranks that plan on making a difference for this upcoming season. Not knowing a ton about the players, the Utes have options on their current roster that can deliver what the team needs most. The two players I think have a shot are Ogbe and Wright. Ultimately, Wright has the best skill set along with the swagger to do it. The season of Isaiah Wright is coming. Are you ready?

About the author

Grant Bagby

Since moving to Utah in 2005, I have changed from following all sports in D.C/Virginia to following all sports in Utah. I am a Chicago Bulls fan first (Born and raised by my father), but I am also a hardcore Jazz fan with 7 years of being a season ticket holder under my belt. I started TornBySports to write about the BYU/Utah Rivalry after Max Hall ran his mouth.