I know that the youth of the Ute basketball team has been used as an excuse so often that it gets old. But yes, they are young, freshmen and sophmores, playing the most minutes. They will likely keep taking one step forward and a couple backward.
The effort against Washington State was great, with breakout performances by Carlson and Jones. Washington is not at the top of the PAC12, but I would argue they are pretty good, so it was a good win against solid competition.
Carlson is a 7 footer with tremendous upside. He looks to have a decent offensive game and midrange shot that can be developed. He plays good defense and is able to protect the rim. His is athletic for a 7 footer, and has good timing for rebounding.
Jones is really a puzzle. He looks to be a short player with average speed and athleticism. Recent opponents have clamped down on Jones and seemed to have his number, in limiting his shot opportunities. But against Washington State, and against athletic players, he impossibly got to the basket and starting breaking down the defense. Kind of amazing!
All the other young players are contributing, and also look to have capabilities that can be developed. Jantunen and Brenchley are looking good.
I believe that the development of this team is going to be squarely on the shoulders of coach K. Carlson and Jantunen are bigs that need some development of both skills and body size and strength. Probably the biggest thing that coach K has to accomplish is keeping this team together for the next 4 years. No transfers, no one that is playing serious minutes leaving the program.
My hope for this year is that they at least make the NIT and fairly deep run. The guys can certainly use all the post season experience they can get. Go Utes!