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Utah basketball: Local players look to make an impact for the Runnin' Utes in 2016-2017 season

An oft-mentioned benefit the University of Utah has experienced in the five years since it joined the Pac-12 is that it’s been able to recruit higher-caliber athletes from more places.

Despite this, the 2016-2017 men’s basketball team will be looking for contributions from a bunch of locals, as five of the 16 players on the roster hail from the state of Utah. It is the highest number of Beehive State players the squad has had since its first season in the Pac-12 when head coach Larry Krystkowiak had to piece together a roster in just a few months after taking over the program.

East High School alum Parker Van Dyke is back at guard after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Alabama, former Murray High standout and Utah State transfer forward David Collette will be eligible to play in December and former American Fork big man and Salt Lake Community College transfer Tyler Rawson is already becoming one of Krystkowiak’s best defenders.

Additionally, sophomore guard Jake Connor, formerly of Highland High School, is back as a walk-on after logging 28 minutes in six games last year, and South Summit alum Beau Rydalch will walk onto the team as a freshman guard.

Van Dyke will be competing for time in the backcourt this season with returning starter Lorenzo Bonam, as well as newcomers Tim Coleman, JoJo Zamora, Sedrick Barefield and Devon Daniels. Collette is expected to be a primary contributor in the frontcourt once he’s eligible to play and Rawson is a player Krystkowiak has praised early in camp for his toughness and defensive ability.

Hear from Krystkowiak, Van Dyke, Collette and Rawson in the video above.

Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.