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Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak says he tested positive for COVID-19, along with multiple players in the program

Appearing remotely on his weekly radio show, the Utes’ 10-year coach said the Utes believe they will be healthy enough to play in their new opener — Dec. 3 vs. Washington.

SHARE Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak says he tested positive for COVID-19, along with multiple players in the program

In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak speaks during the Pac-12 NCAA college basketball media day, in San Francisco. On Monday, Nov. 23 Krystkowiak told ESPN’s Bill Riley that he and eight Utes have COVID-19.

D. Ross Cameron, AP

University of Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak said on his weekly radio show Monday night that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Utes’ coach, who is heading into his 10th season, also said on KALL AM 700 that the “lion’s share” of a total of eight players who were living in two houses — five in one, three in the other — have recently contracted the virus.

A Utah basketball spokesperson declined to provide the exact number of positive cases within the program.

Earlier Monday, Utah announced it will not be playing New Orleans on Friday to open the 2020-21 season “after consulting with the team medical staff.” Its opener is now scheduled for Dec. 3, against Washington in a Pac-12 game.

Utah’s women’s basketball program also announced Monday it is dealing with some positive cases and has canceled games against Southern Utah on Wednesday and Utah Valley on Saturday. Its opener will be Dec. 4 at Oregon State.

John Vu, Utah’s Associate Director of Communications, confirmed Monday a CBS Sports report from Friday that Utah basketball activities are paused “for the foreseeable future” due to positive tests and accompanying high contact tracing numbers.

The Utes did not practice as a team all last week, and were taking polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on Monday, Vu said.

Krystkowiak said the Utes had a workout on Monday morning and all but one player was there.

“We still have a few guys that haven’t got it, but I think we are certainly past the darkest days,” he said. “We just need to keep some optimism here with the vaccine and some of the positive news. That’s all we can control right now.”

With the opener now 10 days away, Krystkowiak said the focus will be on getting players healthy so they are ready to compete.

“And then we are going to have to play ourselves into shape,” he said. “Let’s have a few scrimmages and get out and have some fun and focus on playing hard and smart, and playing together.”

The college basketball season begins Wednesday, but many programs across the country have already pushed back their openers due to the pandemic.