Utah is looking to life after Bogut

first_imgE-mail: [email protected] Related The Utah basketball team may never see another player like Andrew Bogut.Not that he’s necessarily the best player to ever play at Utah.Keith Van Horn, Andre Miller, Billy McGill and Arnie Ferrin would have something to say about that.But the Utes may never again have a national player of the year and No. 1 draft pick, both possibilities for the 20-year-old Australian.Bogut isn’t coming back next year, although he won’t make an official announcement until sometime later this week.For weeks, Bogut has hinted about the likelihood of forgoing his junior and senior seasons but preferred not to make a definitive announcement. According to more than one source, Bogut is not going to return to Utah next season and will declare for this summer’s NBA Draft.Like Utah quarterback Alex Smith, who chose to forgo his senior season for the Utah football team, Bogut is leaving while he’s a hot commodity.He’s already made several All-American teams and has been named player of the year by ESPN.com and Basketball Times. He was the leading vote-getter on The Associated Press’ All-American team and could be AP’s player of the year.There’s a good chance he’ll earn one of the top two national awards, the Naismith Award, which will be announced next Sunday at the Final Four in St. Louis and the John R. Wooden Award, which will be revealed on April 9 in Los Angeles.In late June comes the NBA Draft. Bogut will definitely be a lottery pick, likely a top-three pick and possibly be the No. 1 pick.Utah coach Ray Giacoletti didn’t come right out and say it Friday night, but he’s not planning on his big center returning.”If he is going to be a top-three pick . . . I would hug him and wish him the best of luck.”Once he was named as the Ute coach last April, Giacoletti helped convince Bogut to stick around at Utah one more year. He didn’t expect anything more, and as things turned out, couldn’t have asked for anything more from Bogut.”No doubt, I’m probably the luckiest coach in America to have a chance to coach a guy like that,” Giacoletti said last week. “Not only for what he’s been able to do on the floor. More so for the type of person he is, the type of teammate he is, the way he attacks the weight room, the way he handles school and his personal life. There’s not many guys like that who have everything in order.”Ute coaches have been recruiting on the assumption Bogut is not returning. They have already signed four players and expect to sign a fifth, a big man from Europe, during next month’s signing period. Some Ute administrators have acknowledged that Bogut is going. Bogut’s former coach in Australia, who was in town last month, said he was “definitely” turning pro.After Friday night’s game, Bogut said he would discuss the options with his family. His father has been with him for most of the month, and his mother flew in from Australia Thursday night to see him play his final game.Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of his better games. He hit his season averages with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but his 8-for-19 field goal shooting was his worst of his Ute career, and his 4-of-11 free throw shooting was his worst of the season. Going into the game, Bogut was hitting 62.9 percent from the field and 71.1 percent from the line.”I struggled to shoot all day,” he said. “It just wasn’t my day shooting.”Bogut finished his two-year career with his name all over the Ute record books.He became one of 30 players to score more than 1,000 points and moved up to place No. 27 on the Ute career scoring list with 1,126 points.Among two-year players, he finished third, behind Jerry Chambers (1964-66) and Art Bunte (1954-56). His 16.5 scoring average is the ninth best in school history, his 11.2 rebounding average is sixth best, and his 60.5 percent field goal shooting ended up just behind Nate Althoff’s 60.8.In single-season totals, Bogut’s 715 points is sixth best in school history, while his rebounding total of 427 came up just shy of McGill’s mark of 430. Bogut did break the season record for field goal shooting, ending at 62.3 percent, and he also set a blocked shot record with 65 on the year.So what will the Utes do without Bogut next year?Replace him with another 7-foot Australian by the name of Luke Nevill, who was a redshirt on the team this year and shows great potential. Also, 6-11 Chris Jackson will be back for his senior season. center_img U. can only wonder ‘What if?’ after loss to Kentuckylast_img