Utah basketball: here’s why freshman Gabe Madsen picked Utah

For new University of Utah basketball player Gabe Madsen, it was all about the coaches.

Craig Smith and the coaching staff he started training after replacing Larry Krystkowiak on March 27 is the main reason the former Cincinnati Bearcat signed with the U. – artistic basketball installations, Madsen told Deseret News last week.

After entering the transfer portal on March 15, a day before Krystkowiak was fired, coincidentally Madsen knew his recruiting the second time after signing with Cincy out of high school would be very different, due to the NCAA. banning campus visits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And he was okay with that.

“I had never even seen the campus, let alone the (basketball) facilities,” said the 6-foot-5 Madsen, who only played two games in Cincinnati before retiring from the rest of the world. season, citing concerns about playing during the pandemic. “I knew it was going to be more about the people, and not so much about the place.”

Madsen signed up to Smith and the Utes on April 2 and was officially announced as Smith’s first signer on April 6. He is proud to say that he will forever be known as the first rookie for Runnin ‘Utes’ 16th head coach in men’s basketball history.

“I kinda wanted to commit a little earlier and just get rid of it and find my place, so I knew this time around I probably wasn’t going to see a lot of places, so it was more of a relationship with the coaches and stuff like that, and trust them, ”Madsen said. “I didn’t have to visit or anything like that. It was mainly based on the trust I had with the coaches and the relationship I had with them.

New basketball player Gabe Madsen from Utah dribbles during practice at the Utes training center in Salt Lake City.
University of Utah Track and Field

Two days after Madsen’s signing was announced, Smith said in a press release from the school that his former Utah state assistant Eric Peterson was joining his team – although that was to say the least. Nearly acquired since Peterson had followed Smith to Logan from the state of South Dakota three years before.

Madsen said he has known Peterson “a bit” since he was recruited to Mayo Senior High School in Rochester, Minnesota, when Peterson attempted to bring him to the state of Utah.

“I kind of narrowed my list down and then got to know them a little bit better,” Madsen said. “They came in a bit late, but I had a little relationship with them, which helped me. They were one of the teams that first contacted me when I put my name on the portal, and they’re all basically where I’m from (Minnesota).

Madsen doesn’t remember how many teams contacted him when he reached the portal, but he had already shrunk his roster and didn’t care as much. He basically ignored offers from schools and coaches he hadn’t researched.

“I didn’t stay in the portal very long,” he said. “The right (offer) appeared and there was no point in waiting any longer.”

Madsen’s twin brother and teammate at Cincy, Mason Madsen, also entered the portal after appearing in 15 games and averaging 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Bearcats, but has since decided to return to the program. .

Not so with Gabe Madsen, who arrived in Salt Lake City around June 1 and loved what he has seen and experienced so far – except for when his car is broke down.

“I mean, Utah is in the top five at facilities nationwide – at least the top five,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. Like, having the gym right next to the locker rooms and a super cool lounge and all that. The facilities being excellent, that was just an added icing on the cake.

Since Gabe Madsen signed, the Utes have signed six more from the portal and / or college ranks: Utah State teammates Rollie Worster and Marco Anthony, transfer UNLV graduates David Jenkins Jr., star from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College Bostyn Holt, Minnesota transfer Gach (the former Ute) and Serbian Dusan Mahoric from the State of Illinois.

Utah has another scholarship available, Smith told Deseret News last month.

Madsen supported an idea put forward by Anthony last month that Utah’s talent level is “off the charts.”

“The guys really want to work and it was good to see,” Madsen said. “And obviously the facility allows you to do that, like having our own training gym. That’s one of the things that’s super cool here.

Madsen said that in Cincinnati, the men’s basketball team shared a training room with dancing, volleyball and women’s basketball.

“It was a joint training gym,” he said.

This is not the case in Utah, where the facilities “just blew me away,” Madsen said.

Even if he didn’t see them before committing. And his teammates?

“Yeah, the talent here is really good,” he said. “I think we have a strong team here. Everyone gets along, which is great too.

Smith said in a school press release that Madsen is a “dynamic offensive player” and fits the system they are installing at the U.

“At 6-5 he’s got a big build and a lot of playing ability,” Smith said. “He comes from a big basketball family.”

Madsen played high school basketball for his father, Luke, in Minnesota.

He was a three-start prospect out of high school and averaged 26.1 points per game in his senior season. He had offers from Marquette, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and others outside of high school.

The twin brothers have always dreamed of playing college basketball together and made a commitment to Cincy on the same day, September 1, 2019.

But Gabe Madsen says that when they got to the American Athletic Conference school together, they realized “there are a lot of negatives” to playing on the same team.

“As a twin you are always compared no matter what you do,” he said. “And when you combine that with high performance college sports, you’ll always do better, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.”

Madsen said he was torn in training because when he babysat his twin brother he wanted his brother to succeed, but he also wanted to play well.

“So there were just a few compromises that we had to decide what was best for us, and I think at the end of the day that kind of scenario is the best of times right now, that we go our separate ways.” , did he declare.

Alas, Madsen has said that at least one part of his personality will not change. He doesn’t plan to cut his long curly hair anytime soon.

“The hair stays for now, definitely,” he said. “I mean, if I could grow a beard like Riley (Worster), I sure would. Or my brother, he has a great beard too.

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