Utes Basketball: Small Ball Coming Soon?

Runnin' Utes Basketball

The Utes were ranked 16th in the most recent way-too-early rankings. However, the news about center Jeremy Olsen definitely mixes things up a bit. What is the big man rotation going to look like?

Luckily for Coach Krystkowiak, I have the answer. (He reads these things doesn’t he?)

The Starting Bigs:
Center: Jakob Poeltl
Power Forward: Jordan Loveridge

The center spot is really a no brainer. The plan is to run the offense through Poeltl this season. That fact alone decides the starting power forward. Last season Loveridge was one of the many three point shooters on the team. He shot 44% from beyond the arc. Having Loveridge at the power forward spot will help open up the paint for Poeltl. Loveridge will also have a speed and quickness advantage over his opponents. This move back to the 4 spot will only be good for both Poeltl and Loveridge.

The rest of the rotation is the more interesting part. Who is the first guy off the bench? Brekkott Chapman, Chris Reyes, or Makol Mawien? Does the first one off the bench sub for Poeltl or Loveridge?
For my money, the first guy off the bench has to be Chris Reyes for Jakob Poeltl. I know a lot of readers think I am crazy, but I would bring in Reyes for his rebounding. He was the second best rebounder on the team last year in rebounds per 40 minutes, rebounds per 100 possessions and total rebounds percentage. He is also one of the Utes’ stronger post players to battle on defense for position.

How much Reyes plays will be predicated on how well conditioned Poeltl is. Poeltl could be playing 30+ minutes per game if he can stay out of foul trouble. This would increas his minutes by approximately 300 minutes. Will he be ready for that increase? If Poeltl gets into foul trouble, I expect that Makol will fill in a bit, just to not give up too much size.

So, what about Brekkott Chapman? He will be the other player coming in at the 4 spot. This will keep the other team dealing with the mismatch at the power forward position, as Chapman and Loveridge have similar skill sets.
Shifting Loveridge and Chapman exclusively to the power forward spot will also help with the log jam of guards now on the team.

There are two unknown variables in this equation: injuries and Makol Mawien. How good will Mawien be? One thing I love about Coach Krystkowiak is his willingness to play whichever player earns time. If Mawien deserves to play, he will. Until then, it’s anybody’s guess.

Poeltl and Loveridge are the easy decision. After that is the hard part. In the end, it will be Reyes as the backup center and Chapman as the backup power forward. I reserve the right to be wrong, but what do you think the rotation will be?

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.