Redshirt freshman on Utah Utes’ basketball team enters transfer portal
Guard Brendan Wenzel of San Antonio, Texas, who appeared in only two of 4-1 Utah’s five games in December, is apparently moving on
After having their last scheduled game postponed “due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the program,” the Utah Utes began practicing as a team again over the weekend without redshirt freshman Brendan Wenzel.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound guard from San Antonio, Texas, has entered his name in the transfer portal, a source with access to the portal confirmed Monday morning. Utah basketball spokesperson John Vu confirmed it later in the day.
Wenzel, a three-star prospect who originally signed with UTEP before getting a release and signing with Utah prior to the 2019-20 season, had appeared in only two of 4-1 Utah’s five games this season.
He played four minutes and had a rebound and an assist in Utah’s 76-62 season-opening win over Washington on Dec. 3. He played seven minutes, 25 seconds in Utah’s 79-41 win over Idaho on Dec. 18, going 0 for 2 from 3-point range but grabbing two rebounds. He also committed two fouls.
“Some other guys are ahead of him (in the rotation). ... He can shoot the ball and he’s got some size, but there is some stuff behind the scenes we need to work out that I would just rather not (get into). He has a good understanding of what it is going to take (to play more). I wouldn’t bet against him.” — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak on guard Brendan Wenzel
The day before Utah’s game at the Huntsman Center against Idaho, coach Larry Krystkowiak was asked during a video teleconference with reporters about Wenzel’s lack of playing time to that point of the season.
“Some other guys are ahead of him (in the rotation),” Krystkowiak said. “… He can shoot the ball and he’s got some size, but there is some stuff behind the scenes we need to work out that I would just rather not (get into). He has a good understanding of what it is going to take (to play more). I wouldn’t bet against him.”
Wenzel will have four seasons of eligibility remaining wherever he lands because the NCAA has said fall and winter athletes can have a “free year” this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wenzel averaged 24 points and made 41% of his 3-point attempts his senior year at O’Connor High in Texas.
When he asked out of his national letter of intent with UTEP in March 2019, he said it was “due to unforeseen events” and opened up his recruitment. He committed to Utah a month later, after also receiving offers from Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU and Seton Hall, according to a Texas fan blog BurntOrangeNation.com.
Wenzel’s father, Bobby, played college basketball at Concordia, while his mother, Cameron, played at McMurry.
The Utes (4-1, 1-0 Pac-12) are scheduled to play at UCLA on Thursday (5 p.m., FS1) and at USC on Saturday (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Their next home game is Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. MST against Oregon State. That game will be televised by ESPNU.