March 10, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Diego State Aztecs forward Billy White (32) tries for the ball held by Utah Utes center David Foster (51) during the first half of the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals in the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

Pac-12 Men's Basketball Preview: Utah Utes

Last season was pretty bad for the Utah Utes. They started the year 3-9 after their non-conference schedule which consisted of an eight game losing streak. The season did not get any better as the Utes began their Pac-12 Conference schedule. They finished with an overall record of 6-25 and a conference record of 3-15 after the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.

If the Utes are waiting for this season to be any better, it looks like they will have to wait until the season starts. This week the school announced that 7-foot senior David Foster will end his college career because of a broken foot. This is the second straight season that Foster would miss an entire season due to a broken foot. He broke the foot last year and received a medical redshirt.

According to sportingnews.com, Foster said, “I will have surgery on my foot, and I plan on continuing my career after this year.” Foster’s last stats are from the 2010-2011 season where he averaged 4.7 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game (2nd on team), and 4.0 blocks per game (led team). The Utes will definitely miss Foster’s defensive presence.

The man that will have the full share of the load because of Foster’s injury this season is returning senior Jason Washburn. This is a role that he is familiar with because of the fact that he had to do the same exact thing last year for the Utes. Last season, he averaged 11.4 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks per game on 28.8 minutes per game. Utah will still be in good hands with Washburn because he still has great blocking ability and is also a 7-footer like Foster.

The Utes will also gain three transfers that could not play last season because of the NCAA transfer rules. These transfers consist of redshirt juniors Glen Dean (Eastern Washington) and Aaron Dotson (LSU) and redshirt sophomore Xan Ricketts (Simon Fraser).

While at Eastern Washington, Dean was a 2010-2011 second-team All-Big Sky Conference selection after achieving Freshman of the Year honors in 2009-2010. At LSU, Dotson played in 32 games as a sophomore in 2010-2011 where he averaged 23.6 minutes per game, 6.8 points per game, and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Ricketts is the only one of these new transfers to not have played Division I basketball. As a freshman in NCAA Div II basketball, he averaged 1.8 points, and 2.5 rebounds in 22 games.

Utah will play twelve non-conference games this season. The only notable opponents on their non-conference slate include: Boise State, BYU, and SMU. Just by looking at the opponents, it’d be hard to see more than three losses for Utah through twelve games.

The Pac-12 schedule for the Utes is a different story. The only Pac-12 teams that Utah beat last year were Arizona State, Washington State, and Stanford (all at home). It will be interesting to see if the additions of Dotson, Dean, and Ricketts will help Utah in conference play. They will most likely not win the Pac-12 Championship (regular season or tournament).

However, they should be able to get more than three conference wins which would be a positive for the Utes this season.

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Tags: Basketball David Foster Pac-12 Utah Utes

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