Photo Credit: Jason Olson, Deseret News
LOGAN — Mike Puzey appreciates what Rick Majerus had to say. It brought a sense of closure — even if the words came in a newspaper article and not face-to-face.
Last May, in a Deseret News story concerning the departure of several players from the U. program, Majerus said letting Puzey leave the Utes for Utah State was a mistake.
"I wish I would have had him back," he said at the time. "It was one of those things where I was caught up in all that stuff with my mom being sick and everything."
The explanation made Puzey feel good. He was hurt and dissatisfied beforehand, wondering if Majerus had simply wanted him out of his program.
"I've held no grudges toward him and with him saying that he doesn't hold any toward me. It just kind of closed the whole deal," said Puzey, who'll start at center for USU against Majerus and the Utes Tuesday night at the Spectrum (7 p.m., KJZZ-TV, Ch. 14). "I wish those guys a good season and the best of luck every game — except when they come up here. When that ball goes up we're on different teams.
"It's going to be fun for both teams," Puzey added. "I know they'll be ready — always are — and I know that we'll be ready too, to give it our best shot."
Puzey, a senior who lost a year of eligibility for switching schools, won't discuss specific reasons for transferring. Other than saying he was frustrated, the former Roy High School star won't knock Utah. In fact, he believes his game improved measurably playing against the likes of Keith Van Horn, Michael Doleac and Andre Miller in practice.
The decision to leave wasn't easy. In retrospect, Majerus acknowledges the divorce left both sides a bit disappointed.