Utah dismisses best player before Thursday game against Arizonaby Anthony Gimino on Jan. 18, 2012, under Arizona basketball
The Arizona Wildcats won’t have to worry about playing against Utah point guard Josh Watkins — the Utes’ best player — on Thursday night. He was dismissed from the team Wednesday morning.
UA coach Sean Miller on Tuesday called Watkins a “very good point guard who means a lot to their team. … I don’t know if there’s another player that means more to their team’s success than him. When Utah plays well, he usually has a big night.”
Utah coach Larry Krystowiak dismissed Watkins for what he called a violation of team rules.
“The integrity of our program as a whole cannot be sacrificed for any individual,” Krystkowiak said in a story in the Salt Lake Tribune. “The well being of our program will always come first. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I really wish Josh well and I hope he remains at Utah to finish his degree.”
Watkins, a 5-foot-11 senior, was averaging 15.6 points and 4.8 assists for the Utes, which has had numerous personnel losses in the transition to Krystowiak, the team’s a first-year head coach. Utah is 4-13 overall and 1-4 in the Pac-12.
Watkins scored 20 points and hit the winning jumper when Utah won its only Pac-12 game — 62-60 in overtime against visiting Washington State on Jan. 5.
Thursday night’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. from the Huntsman Center.