Will Clyburn- JUCO transfer Clyburn is the heart and soul of this revamped Utah Utes squad. This 6'7 forward is a potential NBA wing with solid size and length. While he may need to tighten his handle, he is an adequate slasher at the college level due to his athleticism and crafty body control. Clyburn has a rather varied skillset and is able to play on the perimeter as well. He is hitting his three point shots at a 44% clip early in the season. If he can continue to shoot at such high percentages, he will most certainly receive some looks from scouts. While he is currently a physical, aggressive presence on the offensive end, Clyburn may want to add some weight so that he can continue to absorb contact at the next level. Clyburn is also a solid free throw shooter who has decent mechanics on his shot, and has a rather consistent stroke. On the defensive end of the floor, he is able to lock down his man with his quick hands and decent lateral quickness. He still needs to continue to develop his team defense in order to improve as a help defender. While this contest against Butler reveals that Clyburn may have some potential as an NBA prospect, he must continue to play with the same consistency in order to cause some noise in the Mountain West.
Josh Watkins- Watkins is another JUCO transfer who is an adequate point guard option for the Utes. He is a slasher that is able to attack the basket with reckless abandon. Watkins possesses an excellent first step, and is able to blow by defenders virtually at will. He also has decent court vision, but he must cut down on his turnovers in order to be effective. Watkins can play out-of-control at times when attacking the basket, and this has really taken away from his value as a lead guard. Given, he is still adjusting to Division 1 basketball, and should improve upon his decision making considerably by the end of the year. Watkins also needs to work on his consistency shooting from the field if he hopes to land a contract after graduation.
Matt Howard- Since last season's tournament run, Howard has really developed his body and shed unnecessary weight. He is now as mobile as ever, and is better able to absorb contact in the paint. These improvements will really allow him to adjust and potentially fill a role player slot at the next level. Howard will always bring hustle and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor. With that said, his frame will never allow him to put on a significant amount of additional weight. However, he is extremely skilled on the block and is able to maneuver around slower big men. His footwork is solid for the collegiate level and he is intelligent enough to know when and when not to look for his shot. Howard is able to employ a nice drop step and pivot to beat his man, and has added a jump hook shot to compliment his aforementioned post moves. Due to his size improvements and the loss of Hayward, Howard is pulling down more rebounds than he had in any previous season. Moreover, he has extended his range, and now relies on a more perfected outside stroke, which he is shooting at a 56% rate early in the season. On the defensive end, Howard is excellent at moving his feet and drawing charges. However, he has difficulty against bigger, more athletic offensive big men who are able to shoot over the top of him or beat him off the dribble. If he ever expects to make an NBA roster down the road, Howard will have to seriously improve his post defense. Overall, this undersized power forward will receive some looks from scouts do to the noticeable improvements he has made coming into this year.
Ronald Nored- The one thing that can be said about Nored is that he is a consummate winner. While he may not possess the best athleticism or physical tools, Nored is a crafty guard who provides leadership on both ends of the floor. Normally known primarily as a defensive weapon, Nored demonstrated a nice range on his shot on one occasion in this contest. While this was the case against Utah, it is clear that this was an aberration for the most part, as he has struggled from beyond the arc his entire career- shooting a horrible 14% three-point percentage so far this year. With that said, Nored is able to attack the basket and sacrifice his body in order to get into the line. This was evident in this contest, where he had 5 trips to the "charity stripe". Defensively, Nored is one of the toughest defenders pound-for-pound in the country. He is extremely aggressive and possesses the necessary lateral quickness to defend at the next level. Still, do to his diminutive stature, he may struggle against bigger, taller players at the next level. They will be able to shoot over him because of his listed 6'0 height. Nored will have to continue to develop his offensive game if he wants a shot at professional basketball. The intangibles are there, but his play at this end of the floor lacks the necessary polish to achieve success at the next level.
Khyle Marshall- While this freshman did not receive the ball too often on the offensive end, Marshall was able to make an impact on putbacks and aggressive drives to the basket. In this matchup, Marshall displayed a knack for attacking the glass and was able to finish when given the ball in the post. He is still very raw and must improve upon his current go-to post moves in order to make more of an impact. Marshall also must extend his range if he hopes to transition to a wing position. Overall, this contest was an early look at one of the most promising freshman in the Horizon League. He still has a ways to go before he can consider the NBA, but he does have some promising physical tools.