Craig Smith Energized About 2023 Utah Basketball

Jul 14, 2022, 5:11 PM | Updated: Jul 20, 2022, 2:57 pm
Craig Smith - Utah Spring Game...
University of Utah basketball coach Craig Smith is introduced during the Red and White game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah basketball head coach Craig Smith couldn’t contain his energy and excitement about his 2023 team. The Utes had an open practice Thursday afternoon that media could attend and it was hard not to notice the seemingly good vibes within the program.

While probably too early to draw any solid conclusions about this Utah basketball team, a few things were clear after practice. This Utah team practices hard, are more athletic, and already seem to care a great deal about each other in the short time they’ve been together. Does that mean they will have a good season? That remains to be seen. However, having a strong foundation with those attributes can’t hurt.

Craig Smith’s Utah Basketball Team

After a hard first year in 2022, things are looking up for Smith’s Utah basketball team. His excitement about the talent he’s collected in the offseason combined with their work ethic and desire to get better was palpable.

“I like our new guys,” Smith said. “I like what we are doing. We have a team that has an attitude that craves improvement. We have a bunch of guys who are gym rats and love to be in the gym. I do feel like we have good synergy at an early time, but like I say every year- everybody thinks they are playing 30 minutes a game right now so that can change of course.”

If Thursday’s practice was any indication of how hard this team has been working, Utah is at least on the right track for improvement. Smith certainly seemed pleased with the level of effort displayed for the media in attendance.

“Today I thought there was great energy,” Smith said. “I’m sure you could feel it. There is a spirit to these guys and it’s almost like every day we come to practice I feel like there is a different guy that kind of shows something that maybe we didn’t see before.”

Utah’s work is far from over before the 2023 season starts, but Smith is looking forward to seeing where things end up with his team. The most important takeaway from practice is perhaps the fact that Smith feels like he has the tools in place to take the Utes where they want to go.

“We’re just learning as we go,” Smith said. “We’re going to do some different things, or I anticipate doing some different things on both sides of the ball because we are so different as a team. End of the day, I think we have a great competitive spirit, we definitely have a lot more physicality on this team top to bottom. We have a lot more athleticism and speed and I think we have some really good I.Q. guys as well.”

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Craig Smith Energized About 2023 Utah Basketball