The University of Utah basketball program has made some changes to its coaching staff and roster for the coming season.
Coach Rick Majerus has promoted Jason Shelton from video coordinator to assistant coach and hired Eric Jackson to take Shelton's position as video coordinator. Also, the Utes have awarded a scholarship to former Fremont High and Weber State basketball player Cameron Koford.
Shelton, 32, came to Utah last year from Lipscomb University, where he was an assistant coach for five years. He also played at Lipscomb from 1986-90 and was a member of the 1990 team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation in NAIA.
"Jason did a nice job for us in the film room last year," said Majerus. "He's a young guy who should bring energy and enthusiasm to the position."
Shelton will join returning assistant coaches Dick Hunsaker and Jeff Strohm, who both completed their first year as full-time assistant coaches last year. The opening was created when Donny Daniels, an assistant coach for 11 years, left to become the head coach at Cal State Fullerton after last season.
Jackson, 26, spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach at St. Norbert College, an NCAA Division III school in Wisconsin. During his tenure, the Green Knights won one league title and went to one NCAA Tournament. As a player at Wisconsin-Green Bay, Jackson helped lead the Phoenix to two Midwestern Collegiate Conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Jackson's duties will include filming and breaking down game and practice video, film exchanges, preparing scouting reports and assisting in directing the Rick Majerus Basketball Camp.
"Eric is a kid who has a chance to come in and see if he wants to become a coach," said Majerus. "One of the main things for him is that he has the chance to pick up a master's degree while he's here."
Majerus also confirmed that a scholarship has been awarded to Koford, a 7-foot center who graduated from Fremont High School in 1996 and played one year at Weber State before going on an LDS mission to Kentucky.
"We tried to recruit him out of high school," said Majerus. "I wanted him, but there were some academic situations that needed to be addressed, and he decided to sit out and go to Weber."
Majerus said Koford approached the Ute coaches after his mission and they decided to give him a scholarship that opened up when Phil Cullen signed a baseball contract with the Seattle Mariners. Cullen is expected to play next summer in the Mariners' farm system, and the Mariners will pay for Cullen's scholarship at Utah in accordance with NCAA rules.
Majerus disputed reports that Koford is 7-foot-2, and he also said fans shouldn't have too high expectations.
"We're talking about guy who I think had just 35 points total and 28 rebounds his year at Weber," Majerus said. "That's about one point and one rebound per game. Hopefully, he has a good coachability quotient."
Koford will be a junior and join a cadre of big men that includes the 6-9 Cullen, 6-11 senior Nate Althoff, 6-10 freshman Lance Allred, 6-9 junior Chris Burgess, 6-9 sophomore Britton Johnsen and 6-8 sophomore Mike Puzey. Jon Godfread, a 6-11 freshman, is expected to sit out as a redshirt this year.