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November 2, 2012Dallin Bachynski wants to play in the NBA.
Plain and simple, that's why he came to Utah, or more specifically, to play for head coach Larry Krystkowiak. After spending two years serving an LDS mission in Croatia, Bachynski had basketball on his mind, and the former Southern Utah player set out almost immediately to find the best place for him to do that.
"Since Utah State is known as a big basketball school, I thought I'd go there," Bachynski said. "I hadn't talked to anyone, so I literally just stopped by to say hi to the [Utah] coaches on my way to talk to the Utah State coaches."
For Bachynski, all it took was learning of Krystkowiak's NBA career, spanning nine seasons with an impressive list of teams like the Jazz, San Antonio and Los Angeles Lakers to persuade him that Utah was the right place for him.
"Coach Krystkowiak was the absolute number one reason I came here," he said without hesitation. "He was a big who had a long career in the league, and knows exactly what it takes to get there, and stay there. It only makes sense for me, as a big, to come [to Utah] and play for him."
More than happy with the decision to come to Utah, Bachynski says that Krystkowiak's guidance is already paying big dividends in his game.
"What coach has done for me already is help me develop a post presence. I think that's the biggest improvement I've made," Bachynski revealed. "Once I catch the ball in the post, I can actually do something with it now. Compared with my old game, where I looked to pass out of the post more."
Krystkowiak also saw more scoring potential in Bachynski's game, and the two have worked hard to bring that explosiveness out.
"The other big thing [Krystkowiak] has been working with me on is getting into spots where I could be more productive offensively and get a few more dunks," Bachynski said. "I personally would like to get a few highlight reels, I'm not going to lie. Maybe get on ESPN once or twice. I've learned from coach how to get into position to get the easy dunks, and it's been big for me."
While the comments spoken partially in jest as much as in complete candor, Bachynski knows an elevation in his game helps the team as much as his own personal goals. The two go hand in hand, but there is no question that Bachynski is an all-in team player.
It's easy to assume under the circumstances of this team coming together that things have been difficult, or bumpy. Bachynski says, on the contrary, that it's the complete opposite.
"I think it's almost easier with almost all of us coming in together at the same time. That way there are no cliques, and everyone starts on even ground," he observed. "At [Southern Utah University], there were these little cliques and the Australians stuck together, the veterans stuck together and the freshmen stuck together."
"Here, there was no chance for that, and I think that's better for the team. I genuinely love everyone on the team, and there's no one that you think, 'I don't want to room with this guy or that guy on the road'," he expanded. "With this team, it's more than just that, it's a family, and the Brazil trip really helped with that. You got to know everyone, there was no choice. But we got to know each other outside of basketball. Sometimes you have guys that you like on the court, but don't talk to outside of that, and that's not how this team is. We're close on and off the court."
According to Bachynski, the team - from the long-standing veteran down to the freshman walk-on - is united and committed, not just to winning, but to each other.
"Everyone on this team has committed to putting in the work, and everyone has done that and then some so far," he praised. "To have every single guy, and the coaches and [staff] be on the same page is something you don't always see, so it makes a strong bond. It makes you want to play for each other."
As the big man out of Calgary, Alberta (Canada) continues his education under the watchful, guiding eye of Krystkowiak, the prospects of his becoming a cornerstone of a program very much in progress grows exponentially. With senior Jason Washburn beginning of his final season, Bachynski has an opportunity to claim his stake as the Utes' starting center for the next three years of his career; providing a huge and rare opportunity to grow, improve - and shine on a very large stage in the Pac-12.
Having the opportunity is entirely different than seizing it, but for Bachynski, he's set himself up perfectly, and Ute fans have a front row seat to watch what he does with it.