Utah Tech Basketball Opens Season on Wednesday
It's opening week for college basketball and the Utah Tech Trailblazers are hitting the road.
Coach Jon Judkins has a ton of new players this year so it will be fun to get know this year's team. Here's the press release from UT Athletic Media Relations (full link)
Scouting the Broncos:
Head Coach Herb Sendek enters his eighth season on the bench in 2023. Like Utah Tech, Santa Clara lost multiple key contributors from its 2022-23 roster that finished 23-10 and earned an invitation to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT); the list of players who left the program includes First Team All-WCC selections Brandin Podziemski (NBA Draft – 1st round, 28th overall by the Golden State Warriors) and Carlos Stewart (LSU).
Transfers Adama-Alpha Bal (Zarizona), Francisco Caffaro (Virginia), Johnny O'Neil (American Univeristy) joined during the offseason while the team is also bolstered by the return of Carlos Marshall, who averaged 10 points per game before suffering a season-ending injury last year.
A Brand-New Team
Utah Tech's offseason was one highlighted by change, with 10 new faces joining the program to replace players lost to graduation and the transfer portal.
Beon Riley comes to St. George after playing his first three seasons at Hawaii where he made 65 total appearances; the Chula Vista, Calif., native averaged 4.6 points per game last season while serving as the Rainbow Warriors' sixth man.
Jaylen Searles, a 6-8 forward who last played at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa, also signed the dotted line after posting 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. He led the team with 2.0 steals per game while earning First Team All-Region 11 honors and being named an All-American.
Trey Hall (Evansville), Sammy Howlin (Fullerton College), Unisa Turay (Scottsdale Community College), David Elliott (Garden City Community College) and Larry Olayinka (Garden City Community College) all transferred into the program while Aric Demings (Desoto, Texas), Angelo Kambala (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Tennessee Rainwater (Davenport, Wash.) joined from the prep ranks.
Though Utah Tech lost three starters from last year's team, two remain and will be thrust into even bigger roles.
Guard Noa Gonsalves averaged 8.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in the 2022-23 campaign, shooting 42.3% from the field and 41.1% from deep. He finished in double-figures for scoring 13 times, including a career-high 24 points in an 89-76 victory over New Mexico State on Jan. 21.
Forward/center Tanner Christensen was the team's leading rebounder last season after grabbing 7.0 per game, combining that work on the glass with 9.5 points and 1.6 assists while shooting 56.7% from the field. The 6-10 forward/center scored a career-high 26 points against Washington on Nov. 14 while posting four games of 20-plus points.
Go Trailblazers! We'll be watching.
AP's Top 25 in College Basketball 2023
Gallery Credit: Noah Haynes