Nick Jacobson had 16 points in Utah's first exhibition game.
Nov. 7, 2002
Nov. 13 * 7:04 p.m. (MST)
Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) * Salt Lake City
Utah plays the last of its two exhibition games against the EA Sports West All Stars on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:04 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Scouting EA Sports
The EA Sports club teams, comprised of recent former college players, are operated by California-based Double Pump, Inc. EA Sports West opened its 12-game tour with a 97-86 loss at New Mexico last Friday. The All Stars also fell to UC Riverside, 78-69, last Saturday. Before facing Utah, the All Stars play Loyola Marymount (Nov. 6), Pepperdine (Nov. 7), CS Northridge (Nov. 9) and Oregon State (Nov. 12).
The EA Sports West roster includes former collegians Maurice Spillers (G, 6-6) of Utah State, Jan Michael-Thomas (G, 6-1) of Washington State and Ryan Forehan-Kelly (F, 6-6) of California, Scott Brooks (G, 5-10) of UC Irvine and Josh Merrill (F, 6-9) of UC Santa Barbara, to name a few,
Utah opens its regular season against Southern Utah on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in the Huntsman Center.
The Utes return three starters and one other letterman from last season. Utah went 21-9 overall, advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament and placed second in the Mountain West Conference with a 10-4 mark.
Of the four returnees from last season, three are seniors. Trace Caton (G/F, 6-4, 211) played in all 30 games last season, starting four. Caton, a native of Alamosa, Colo., averaged 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He is a well-rounded player who can defend four positions. Britton Johnsen (F, 6-10, 210), named a Wooden Award candidate this season, was the Mountain West Player of the Year and the USBWA District VIII Player of the Year in 2001-02. The Murray, Utah, native was second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.3 rpg). He shot 49.6 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. Cameron Koford (C, 7-0, 227) became the day-to-day starter in the post the second half of the season, getting the nod in 13 of the last 15 games. A native of Plain City, Utah, Koford averaged 3.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He also had a team-best 18 blocked shots. After starting his college career as a partial qualifier at Weber State, Koford regained his fourth year of eligibility after completing his undergraduate degree in four years.
Junior Nick Jacobson (G/F, 6-4, 200) was named second team NABC all-District 13 and third team all-Mountain West in 2001-02. The Fargo, N.D., native started every game last season after being in the line-up for all but four contests his freshman year. Jacobson led Utah in scoring (13.0 ppg). He also ranked 23rd in the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (44.4), averaging 2.37 treys per game.
Two Transfers Ready to Make an Impact
Utah will gain the services of two transfers this season. Junior Tim Frost (C/F, 6-10, 236) sat out last season after transferring to Utah from Portland. Frost was a first team all-West Coast Conference pick in 2000-01, leading the Pilots in scoring (14.9 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg).
Marc Jackson (G, 6-1, 177) rejoins the Utes after a year away. The Salt Lake City native and product of Olympus High School played in 21 games for the U. in 2000-01, getting 25 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in an average of 6.0 minutes per game. When he returned early from an LDS Church mission and a scholarship was not available at Utah, Jackson joined the program at Utah Valley State College and sat out the 2001-02 season as a redshirt. Jackson has three years of eligibility remaining.
Four Freshmen on Roster
The Utes will have a youthful look this season with four of the 10 scholarship players being freshmen. Chris Jackson (C, 6-11, 242) was on the team last season but sat out as a redshirt. Jackson was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in New Mexico in 2000-01. He averaged 20.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.9 blocked shots per game as a senior.
A trio of Californians committed to the Utes during the early signing period. Richard Chaney (G/F, 6-4, 186), a product of Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles, was a first team all-CIF and all-conference selection as a junior and senior. Tim Drisdom (G, 6-3, 203), a point guard out of Calvary Chapel High School in Artesia, was named the California Player of the Year in his division twice. He is also a three-time first team all-state selection. Bryant Markson (F, 6-6, 182), who is a graduate of Monrovia High School, was the San Gabriel Player of the Year and a two-time first team all-state selection.
From the Training Room
* Freshman wingman Bryant Markson had his right knee scoped on Oct. 24. Initially expected to be out at least four weeks, Markson was cleared to practice on Nov. 5.
Exhibition Game #1 Recap
Despite Britton Johnsen's 23 points and 18 rebounds, Utah fell to the EA Sports Southwest team 92-86 in its exhibition season opener on Nov. 1 at the Huntsman Center. Nick Jacobson went for 16 points, hitting 3-of-6 three-pointers in 34 minutes. Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom had 14 points, four assists and four rebounds in his first game as a Ute. Redshirt freshmen center Chris Jackson came off the bench to get nine points in nine minutes.
Brett McFall, formerly of Wyoming, had 17 points, making 5-of-8 treys, to lead the EA Sports All Stars (1-0). Former Ute Tony Harvey had 13 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Utah (0-1) outrebounded EA Sports 45 to 36, but had 19 turnovers to 16 assists. The Utes shot 48.8 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three-point range. Utah built a 43-37 halftime lead, thanks to 51.4 percent shooting from the field and 11 points from Jacobson. The Utes outscored EA Sports 11-6 in the final 2:19 of the first half.
McFall dialed in from downtown to start the second half, hitting three from beyond the arc in the first six minutes as EA Sports jumped out to a 62-52 lead with 13:18 remaining in the game. The All Stars hit 14-of-29 three-pointers in the game.
On the state of his team after the first exhibition game - "We've got a lot of work to do. We have to try to get better. There were more negatives than positives, which is usually the case [in an exhibition game]. Obviously, we have to address the foul shooting. It showed we have not worked on those. We have four players back from last year. We are a team in a transitional period. (Tim) Frost hasn't played for a year and Marc Jackson hasn't played for a year; they look like what they are. But, I thought we could have made a better effort in a couple of situations."
Majerus Third Among Active Coaches in Winning Percentage
Rick Majerus is 283-82 (.775) in 13 years at Utah and 382-134 (.740) in 18 years as a head coach. He is the third-winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. Only Roy Williams (Kansas) and Bob Huggins (Cincinnati) have better winning percentages. He is also in the top 20 in all-time winning percentage, currently ranked 16th.
Majerus has averaged 22 wins per year at Utah-amazing in that he coached just one game in 2000-01 and six games in his first season before undergoing heart surgery (he was 4-2 in 1989-90). In 11 full seasons at Utah, he has won 20-plus games 10 times, missing out only in 1993-94 (14-14). Minus the two partial seasons he missed, Majerus has averaged 25 wins per season.
During the Majerus era, the Utes have won nine conference championships-including seven straight from 1995-2001. Majerus has taken the Utes to nine NCAA Tournaments-including the last seven years he was on the bench the entire season-and has lost in the first round only once. In that time, he has led Utah to the Sweet 16 four times, the Elite Eight twice and one Final Four. He also took Ball State to the NCAA Tourney back in 1989. Majerus' record in the NCAA Tournament at Utah is 16-9 (.640). His all-time mark in the "Big Dance" is 17-10 (.630).