Catching up on the University of Utah basketball program since Rick Majerus resumed his duties as head coach last month . . .

Magic Johnson did it, so why can't 6-9 Britton Johnsen play point guard?

No, not next season, but it could happen on the Utes' European trip next month.

The Utes are short-handed at the point guard position for the trip because the three point guards from last year, Travis Spivey, Kevin Bradley and Mark Jackson, are not making the trip.

Jackson is preparing for his LDS mission to Ecuador in June, Bradley can't make the trip because of poor academics and Spivey can't go because of his probation in connection with his troubles with the law two years ago.

"I honestly don't know what I am going to do," said Majerus. "Maybe I'll play Britton at point, or maybe we'll go without a point. I'm more into the practices than the games, although the games are important for some guys."

Besides Johnsen, other Utes scheduled to make the trip to the Canary Islands, Spain and France are Nick Jacobsen, Chris Burgess, Jeff Johnsen, Trace Caton, Cameron Koford

Practice for the Europe trip begins on May 8, and the Utes are allowed 10 days of practice before leaving on May 20.

The Utes' roster for next year looks set with the signing of Colorado prepster Cameron Goettsche and the transfer of Mike Puzey to Utah State.

The Utes have 14 players, including Phil Cullen, who doesn't count against the NCAA scholarship total because of his baseball contract with the Seattle Mariners.

Goettsche is a 6-8 210-pound center from ThunderRidge High School, who averaged 18.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. He is likely to play one of the forward positions at Utah.

"He's a very good student, he's athletic, I like his attitude and I think he's got a great upside," said Majerus.

Majerus said he didn't know if Goettsche, who is LDS, will go on a mission before he ever plays at Utah.

"I never want to put a kid in a box," he said. "The plan is for him to play next year."

Goettsche called Majerus "a great guy" and said the coach expects him to play this year.

"Coach Majerus said he wants me to be the freshman of the year," Goettsche said told the Denver Post.

The only real question about next year's team, according to Majerus, concerns Bradley, who was academically behind before he ever came to Utah and is still trying to catch up. Bradley needs to pass all of his classes this semester and pass 12 hours of summer school to be eligible, according to Majerus.

"As with all kids, it depends on academics," he said. "I just don't know with Bradley."

Also Majerus said Jon Carlisle, a backup center on the Utes' 1998 NCAA runner-up team, will not return to Utah. Carlisle had some health problems on his mission and after the Ute coaches consulted with doctors, it was determined he couldn't play for Utah this coming year.

"He was offered an opportunity to come back as a student but not a player," said Majerus.

Carlisle was also offered the opportunity to return to Utah after attending a junior college for a year to see if he was all right, but Carlisle reportedly has cut his options with Utah and may transfer to BYU.

How does a Ute matchup with defending national champion Duke next year sound?

It may not be likely, but it's possible.

The Utes' nonconference schedule is almost set for next year with games against Alabama, Texas and Pepperdine set. A possible home-and-home series with St. Joseph's has been put off until at least next year, but the Utes are looking at "eight to 10" teams for a possible nationally televised game.

"I've talked to (Mike) Krzyzewski, but I don't think our fans should get too excited yet," said Majerus.

Utah has an opening on its coaching staff after Jason Shelton took a position at the University of Colorado.

Shelton had only been a full-time assistant for one year after being a part-time assistant before that.

Majerus said there's no rush to name a new assistant.

"I'll replace Jason but not for at least two weeks," he said. "Maybe it will be three months, I don't know."

Majerus didn't rule out the possibility of promoting Eric Jackson, who took over Shelton's position as administrative assistant/video coordinator last year.

It seems Majerus is always recovering from something, whether it's a heart procedure or a knee operation. His latest recovery is from a separated shoulder and stitches in his leg after an accident on a rental car van in Los Angeles last week.

"My shoulder's back in place, but I've got stitches in my leg and I have to ice it every day," said Majerus. "It's very painful, but unless I'm an amputee, I'll be taking the trip to Europe."


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