Pearce: All Time Holy War Team


Redshirt sophomore forward Kyle Kuzma (35) is introduced before an NCAA men’s basketball game against the BYU Cougars at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Chris Samuels, Daily Utah Chronicle.


The Utah Utes have had a fairly successful men’s basketball program over the years. Many Utes have been sent to the NBA, and others have gone on to play professionally in other leagues. If there was an all-time Utah-BYU game, it would certainly be an entertaining battle for the state of Utah. Here is my all-time Runnin’ Utes team I would like to see play in a hypothetical matchup against an all-time BYU team.

PG: Andre Miller

Miller played 17 seasons in the NBA after being drafted 8th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1999. While he never made an All-Star team, he was a very dependable point guard night in and night out. Miller made the All-Rookie First Team, was the NBA Assists Leader 2001-02, was 33rd all-time in minutes played and he also played every game possible in six of his seasons. He was rarely injured, played on some very solid teams and played for a long time. All of this adds up to a great career for the former Ute.

SG: Keith Van Horn

Expectations were high for Van Horn as he was drafted second overall in 1997. He also made First Team All-Rookie in his debut season of 1997-98. In his nine seasons, he averaged 16 points, including going up to 21.8 in just his second year in the league. While he didn’t have the longevity of Miller, Van Horn still put together a great career scoring the basketball.

SF: Kyle Kuzma

Kuzma is still writing his NBA story just three seasons into his career, but he has a chance to be great. Drafted 27th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, he has exceeded expectations as a late first-round pick. He made the All-Rookie First Team in 2017-18. Averaging 16 points per game for his career, he has taken a little bit of a backseat this season to superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but with the addition of those two, the Lakers have a real shot to win the title. Kuzma has a chance to grab his first ring while still on his rookie contract, and he’s got many years ahead of him to keep getting better and better. When all is said and done, Kuzma will be one of the best Utes to come out of the program.

PF: Tom Chambers

Chambers really helped to put Utah on the map before all these other players came along, being drafted eighth overall in 1981. He made four All-Star teams, and even won the All-Star Game MVP in 1987. He was a great scorer, tallying 18.1 points per game for his career. He went over 20 points per game in five of his 16 seasons, even getting as high as 27.2 in 1989-90. He also came home to play for the Utah Jazz from 1993-95, much to the delight of Utah Basketball fans.

C: Andrew Bogut

Bogut is the only player on this list to have won an NBA Championship. He grabbed a ring in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors, and came oh-so-close to two others with Golden State in 2016 and 2019. If he hadn’t have gone down with injury in 2016, it might have been a different story. Either way, Bogut made the All-Rookie First Team in 2005-06 after being drafted first overall. He also made All-NBA Third Team in 2009-10 and Second Team All-Defense in 2014-15. He’s still active in Australia’s NBL and may still have one last NBA return left in him at 35 years old. If he does retire soon, though, he still has had an amazing career as one of the smartest and best defensive big men in recent NBA history.

So that’s my All-Utah basketball team. Off the bench as some honorable mentions, I’d probably go with players like Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl and Mike Newlin. I think this collection of players has everything you’d need, and honestly, I think they’d all play pretty well together. It’s a nice collection of shooting, passing, defense and high basketball IQ. I like our chances against an All-BYU team.


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