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It is carved in stone somewhere that every event at an intrasquad scrimmage is both a good and a bad sign, but the biggest takeaway from Tuesday's "Night with the Runnin' Utes" might be that so many guys on the floor held some level of intrigue.
There were Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge, having spent the offseason honing their offensive games and playing like it.
There were vaunted true freshmen Jakob Poeltl, Isaiah Wright, Kyle Kuzma and Brekkott Chapman providing glimpses of the talent that was until now just rumor.
And junior college transfer Chris Reyes manned the boards and drilled long jumpers, and walk-ons Jake Connor and Eris Winder entered the game without a noticeable dip in production.
It was as impressive as a net of zero can be.
"I think we're much more deep this year," said Wright, who went 4-for-5, including a casually drained three, and controlled the scrimmage in the first half. "Last year, we had some good guys, too, but I think this year, we have more skilled players, more people coming back, and freshman who are ready to step in. I think we're a much better team."
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak said it's hard to judge before scouring the tape and even then, when coaches for one side call out a play, the players on the other team know exactly what to expect.
But after what he said was a disappointing intrasquad scrimmage at practice last Friday, the Utes "kind of got everybody's attention over the weekend and had a couple good days cleaning things up. We're making progress."
A few more tidbits from our first extended look at the Runnins':
Wright, Isaiah Wright • The sculpted 6'2, 177-pound point guard from Boise marshalled an outmatched team against that of Loveridge, Delon Wright and Poeltl, and he did it without ever looking at all panicked.
"At first I kind of had some jitters, but once I got going up and down, I just was focused on trying to help my team as best I can," said Wright, who finished with 12 points and an assist and shot 4-of-6 from deep.
Krystkowiak said Wright hasn't always been "stellar" in practices, but "when the popcorn starts popping" in scrimmages, he's shown signs of being a gamer.
That's no surprise, said Loveridge.
"He was the best player in Idaho for a long time. He's going to be a great player for a long time here at Utah."
Poeltl appears primed • Apparently Poeltl missed a week of practice and has only recently returned after suffering a concussion playing dodgeball during a team dinner at Krystkowiak's house.
You read that right.
The seven-footer looked fine Tuesday night. Actually, Poeltl looked pretty darn good, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Afterward he downplayed his performance, but allowed that he feels good about the development of his offensive game and believes he's earned his teammates' trust.
Loveridge confirmed that.
"He's a fun guy to play with," he said. "You can throw it up to the rim nothing's a bad pass with a guy like that to throw it up to."
Another fun note about Poeltl, who played at a high level in Austria, but was after all playing in Austria: He said the 1,000-odd fans at the Runnin' Utes' scrimmage likely constituted the largest audience he's ever had.
"It's definitely a different experience. I actually had no idea what to expect, so I can't really say it surprised me, but I have to say, it's crazy out here. I've never had this kind of support playing basketball."
Loveridge loving the three • Krystkowiak said Tuesday that the switch Loveridge is making between power forward and small forward is one of the toughest things to do in his system.
"The one, two and three pretty much do the same thing, and the four and five do the same thing, but when you try to be a three and a four, that's where it gets to be a little confusing."
So far, so good, however.
Loveridge played well at small forward for a collection of Pac-12 all-stars coached by Krystkowiak in China this August, and Tuesday night he scored 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and added five assists.
Loveridge credits an adjustment he made to his shot in the offseeason, with the help of his dad, and the space he sees now playing on the wing.
Of course, as per Scrimmage Theory, there must always be a minus.
"The glass being half-empty, in my shoes, is my guess is there were some defensive breakdowns with whoever was guarding him," Krystkowiak said. "I know he had some nice moves, but he also had some open looks that we've got to figure out why he had some open looks."