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Utes Bulletin: Things Happening In Utah Athletics (Week Of 3/27/23)

Mar 27, 2023, 11:14 AM

SALT LAKE CITY โ€“ย Spring football is in full-swing while several of the smaller sports are also in progress and having success, making a one-stop-shop for little tidbits of Utah Athletics information necessary with the Utes Bulletin.

If you missed any of the highlights from the previous week, you can review that here.

Without further ado, here is this weekโ€™s Utes Bulletin that includes ranking updates, upcoming events for the week, and important dates to keep track of among other items of interest concerning Utah Athletics for the week of 3/27/23.

Utah Womenโ€™s Basketball

Utah womenโ€™s basketball is a wrap for 2022-23, and what a great season it was. Yes, the ladies lost in heartbreaking fashion to LSU in the Sweet 16, but the great moments far-outweighed the bad ones for Utah and there is a lot of confidence and hype about what they could do next season.

Before leaving for Greenville, South Carolina last week, Alissa Pili joined Hans and Scotty G. to discuss Utahโ€™s budding culture and how it helped propel them to new heights this past season.

Utah Football

Utah football is back (sort of), and we couldnโ€™t be more excited. The Utes wrapped up their first week of spring practices and it seems to have been a positive and productive affair for the back-to-back Pac-12 Champs. The Utes will have continued media availability this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham opened camp last Tuesday by talking in-depth to the media about what he was seeing out their guys very early on, and some of the goals they hope to accomplish through spring. There were a few prominent themes that the coaches and players discussed throughout the first week, including but not limited to having their eyes on a three-peat.

Some Clarity About Notre Dame

In the lead-up to Utahโ€™s spring ball, it appeared the Utes might be short an OC and offensive line coach as it became clear Notre Dame was interested in Andy Ludwig and Jim Harding. Early in the process it felt like it was a foregone conclusion that both were gone, until it wasnโ€™t, that is.

Both Ludwig and Harding set the record straight on what happened from their perspective and interestingly enough it sounds a bit different than what the initial reports were saying.

Pro Day: Check, Next Stop: 2023 NFL Draft

Utah welcomed back 11 former Utes last week to participate in Pro Day in front of 31 of the NFLโ€™s 32 teams. The boys didnโ€™t disappoint.

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Braeden Daniels, Dalton Kincaid and Clark Phillips III took a minute after workouts wrapped up to discuss being at the NFL Combine, competing at Pro Day, and the rest of the 2023 NFL Draft process.

Utah Gymnastics

The Red Rocks had a โ€œweek offโ€ last week in preparation for regionals coming up this weekend on March 30 and April 1 in Los Angeles.

Utah will square off against No. 12 Auburn, Southern Utah, and Washington at Pauly Pavilion on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. MT in hopes of advancing to Saturdayโ€™s showdown that will start at 6:00 p.m. MT and determine who advances to Nationals.

Awards Season

While the Red Rocks werenโ€™t competing last week, it doesnโ€™t mean it was completely quiet either.

Maile Oโ€™Keefe was crowned Specialist of the Year in the Pac-12 while also receiving All-Pac-12 Honors along with Cristal Isa, Jaedyn Rucker, and Kara Eaker.ย 

Oโ€™Keefe, Eaker, Isa, and Rucker were also recognized by WCGA as All-American selections last week. Oโ€™Keefe and Eaker earned First Team All-American honors while Isa and Rucker were named Second Team.

Utah Basketball

More off-season movement continued for the Runninโ€™ Utes last week which should come to no surprise to anyone.

Branden Carlson finally revealed he intends to dip his toes in the NBA waters but will keep his college eligibility intact if it doesnโ€™t go how he wants.

The same day Carlson made his announcement, teammate Lazar Stefanovic entered the NCAA Transfer Portal becoming the fourth Ute to do so. (Jaxson Brenchley, Bostyn Holt, and Mike Sanders Jr. have also hit the portal.) It was widely believed Stefanovic was a player Utah hoped to keep and that his announcement came as a bit of a surprise to the staff.

It hasnโ€™t all been bad news for the Utes though. They got their first commitment for the 2023-24 class in Colorado transfer Lawson Lovering.ย 

Lovering comes to the Utes as a true big with lots of potential and the belief he can be a great replacement for Carlson if he does in fact leave for the NBA or complement Carlson if he ends up back with the Utes for one more season.

Utah Softball

The No. 19 Utes ended up not playing over the weekend due to weather and have moved their contest with Weber State April 11. Utah is still scheduled to take on Utah Valley this Tuesday weather permitting.

While the cancelled game is disappointing, what isnโ€™t disappointing is Ellessa Bonstrom and Aliya Belarde. Bonstrom currently sits in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in homers, RBIs, stolen bases, runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging while Belarde has 42 hits so far in 2023, tying her for the lead in the PAC-12.

Utah Lacrosse

Utah lacrosse is finding their groove sitting 2-0 in ASUN play and 3-4 overall after defeating Detroit Mercy on their turf 24-11. In the process of victory, Utah also broke a ton of their own records making for a very good weekend.

Utah Baseball

The Utes are currently sitting 2-0 against No. 9 Stanford with one more game to go today at 1:05 p.m. MT. Utah currently sits 2-6 in conference and 10-13 overall.

Lauren McCluskey Documentary

ESPN announced the airing of an all-new documentary on the murder of Utah track and field star Lauren McCluskey that will air this Tuesday on ESPN+. There will be a supplementary 20/20 episode on the documentary and its findings aired this Friday.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.โ€“12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utes Bulletin: Things Happening In Utah Athletics (Week Of 3/27/23)