Ask A Coach Larry Krystkowiak Interview Pt 2

The Utah head man talks about the 2011 class, in state recruiting, plans for David Foster, and more

*Note- Some questions are altered for an interview situation

Bshmaverick Question- Recruiting for 2012. Have you started looking at that class yet and what are the priorities going to be for the class in terms of position?

We have looked at that class pretty heavily. We lose two seniors next year in David Foster and Jiggy Watkins. We think we've got some young point guards in the program right now. Looking at our roster, I'd say we've got Jeremy Olsen coming off of a mission next year, who's from Georgia. He's a really skilled 6-11 kid that is coming back and is going to help bolster our bigs. but I would say through the middle of the lineup with 2s, 3s, and 4s, finding the best players available. We're really leaning towards the high school kids that can get in here for four years and getting some kids in that can help us build this program.

This class is heavy on JUCO players to fill the holes. Is high school going to traditionally be the route you want to take going forward?

We've got three JUCO guys coming in here this year so it's not overwhelming in terms of the numbers. Typically if you have four scholarships to give, I would think that three could be high school kids. Maybe you're filling in with the right JUCO kid at position or a need along the way. I think this is an institution and with the conference we're in, I would prefer to have a player for four or five years in a program to where you can get some consistency and try to build it and maybe not make it a steady diet of the JUCOs. There's a lot of great JUCO players out there and we've signed three of them this year in Cedric Martin, Dijon Farr, and Javon Dawson. I'm not opposed to JUCOs, but the blueprint is a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio in a perfect world.

How important is it to recruit your home state of Utah? There isn't a ton of talent generally in this state, so can you compete with the likes of UCLA and Arizona if Utah is your main focus?

Any school in their right mind tries to get the best players in their own state. I disagree with a lot of people that have said that Utah doesn't have any great players. If you look over history, there are actually quite a few players that come from this state. We want to try to keep them here and I have no reservations about recruiting Utah kids and thinking they can compete on the national state. That doesn't mean that we don't go out and try to find the best available players in the country. I think we can get into some of those doors being in the league we're in and with what we've got going here. I don't think it is an all or nothing mentality. Like any coach you're trying to put a team together and it is going to be a few pieces here and a few pieces there and it's crazy to think we don't want to make Utah a focus and try to get the best guys in the state.

The 2011 class was guard heavy with the players you brought in. Was that by design or did it just work out that way to fill the roster spots?

If you look at our roster, number one, there aren't a lot of bigs that are available late. You don't have a lot of big guys late in the high school ranks and JUCO ranks. We've got some transfers that are guards that have to sit out a year in Glen Dean and Aaron Dotson. I don't think it mattered what position those guys played. They're program guys that will be here for three years total. Whether they were a 1 or a 5, it didn't matter to us, we wanted to get them in. We've probably got 60% of our roster on the lower side of the three man. Teams can plays small and I think this is a league that has teams that do that. We weren't going to go out and rush and sign some big guys and give up the right player for our program. Again, I think we're really excited about Jeremy Olsen. He's a really talented player and I think he can be a real cornerstone of what we're trying to do here.

gs777 Question- It terms of the way this team is going to be run from an offense and defensive standpoint, what can we expect?

It really starts with some hard work, some discipline, and execution. I would like to throw those things out right there. We're going to be a disciplined team that tries to limit mistakes. We're going to work as hard as any team in the country, on and off the floor, with academics. We're going to try to do it the right way. No need to get into X's and O's at this point. A lot of times basketball is much more simple than we like to make it. Take care of the ball, play hard and play together. That's what we're doing, focusing on the culture a bit. We'll just fine tune things as we gain a better understanding of our players and our talents. Putting guys in positions where they can succeed is going to be first and foremost for us.

Next year you have a big three returning of Watkins, Foster, and Washburn to build around. What should we expect out of those guys?

I think you can expect some leadership. I've seen that from these guys already. Jiggy is out in New York and he's working out twice a day. Foster is working out a couple of times a day. Washburn and Chris Hines are back. Their eyes are burning. They have that fire in their eyes. They want to be here. They want to get the taste out of their mouth. I want those seniors to have a memorable senior year. Like I said, we're going to try to do it the right way and we're going to work our tails off. Those guys are going to be asked to lead here by example. It's nice to know that our two seniors are working to the point where they won't be in a position to have any regrets. We're just going to bring the team along and watch it mature.

Are we going to see any rotations with both Washburn and Foster on the floor in a twin towers sort of look?

I wouldn't be opposed to it. I think Washburn shoots the ball pretty well and runs pretty well. I would be really surprised if we didn't have those guys on the floor together a lot.

sonicute Question- David Foster hasn't been much of an offensive threat in his time at Utah. How do you get more out of him on the offensive end?

We're working on some stuff and addressed a few things in the spring. He's working right now trying to improve some things. I'd like to get him the ball in an area where he can score. There wasn't a whole lot of screening from what I saw here last year other than a small guy trying to get him open and bringing him on the move so he could catch it close to the basket and finish at the rim. I do think he's a pretty skilled passer in the high post. We're going to run some action where we put him up there and allow him to make some passes and dribble handoffs. More things where he is on the move. Scoring the ball before you catch it where you do all of your work early. Putting him into a position where he can succeed.

Any of the newcomers that you are excited about and think can be instant impact guys?

I wouldn't be surprised if any of them were. It would be unfair for me to throw any names out. I know there are probably going to be two or three guys on this list that are ahead of everyones expectations.Unfortunately, with the new guys there are probably going to be 2 or 3 three guys as well that are behind. For me to predict how that is going to go, I have absolutely no idea. I just know that there's going to be opportunity and it is going to be a level playing field for everybody. I guess we'll go with the old saying 'survival of the fittest.'

What are the short term and long term goals for both yourself and this program?

Short term I'm just trying to get through today to be honest. I'm not a big goal setter and I never have been. I think you just try to get a little bit better with whatever tasks you have that day. If you do that consistently enough and regularly enough, the long term stuff takes care of itself. In a nutshell, I want this program to be restored to where there's some passion and the people in the community are excited about it again. I want the basketball players to feel good about putting t their gear on and walking out in the community. I just know that we're doing it the right way.

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