Currently ranked No. 9 in the country, a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament and still in the hunt for the Pac-12 title, the Utah men’s basketball team is experiencing a resurgence this season that’s reminding people of the old days. Before the Utes (21-4, 11-2) tip off at Oregon (19-8, 9-5), center Dallin Bachynski had some thoughts to share in this week’s Sunday Sit Down.
SI.com: Eight seconds left, game on the line — which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.
Bachynski: Shoot, I don’t have too many friends on my team already, now you want me to go against them? I’d probably say Bo Barnes from Arizona State. The reason is partially, my brother (Jordan) played at ASU so I know about him, but also I’ve met Bo and he’s a good guy as well as a good shooter.
Who do you want defending the big shot? You also can’t pick a teammate.
Man, come on! Can I pick someone who used to be a teammate?
Only if he transferred and is currently playing somewhere else.
Why is your team better than people think?
Because we’re deeper than people think.
What one weird thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?
(Shudders) What?! Can I have an explanation? That’s so gross.
I got my tooth knocked out early in the year, so I have my flipper. I call it my tooth but it’s technically a bridge. (Takes bridge out, holds up triumphantly while giving big grin and showing off missing tooth.) I don’t play with it, so it’s just in my bag. I used to wear a mouthguard, then I lost my tooth playing with one, so now, I don’t wear one.
(Recoils in horror) O.K. Thanks for, uh, showing me... Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?
I never use Twitter. But one of the best people to follow would probably be Will Ferrell. Who couldn’t use a good laugh?
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Best dunk you’ve done or seen live?
One of Aaron Gordon’s at Arizona last year. It was a reverse, coming baseline that surprised me. I didn’t think it was going to happen and then he just rose up above everybody …
You know, after we started this I realized I should have asked what’s worse — missing an easy dunk or getting dunked on.
I’d say getting dunked on, just because there’s more humiliation.
Favorite March Madness memory?
Being from Canada it’s hard, because I didn’t get to watch as much. But I remember one time, watching it with all my buddies and I had picked pretty much half the bracket perfect, then I got the last game wrong.
You’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft — who are you taking and why?
I’ve gotta say (Jahlil) Okafor (from Duke). A freshman having that much skill and footwork, with that big of a body, you can’t go wrong.
In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?
Kobe was unbelievable in his prime but I’m going to take LeBron. He’s more of a team player. Being on the Utes and being a team, having guys that care about each other, I’d want another guy like that.
What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?
Well the off-the-court list is just terrible. Mistake after mistake … but we’re not going to talk about that. On the court, I’d probably say, we were getting pressed once, I caught the ball coming back and they were coming toward me. So I faked the pass, dribbled, faked another pass and dribbled again, thinking I hadn’t used my dribble.
What is Coach Krystkowiak’s favorite phrase to say in practice?
Just a saying, instead of yelling, it would be “Right on cue!” But if he’s yelling at us, probably “Take care of the ball!” because sometimes in practice we throw the ball around the gym. Not to each other, just around the gym.
Which venue do you most want to play in?
Madison Square Garden. So much history there, such a great atmosphere.
Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?
Jeremy Olsen. I might be a little biased because he’s one of my good friends, but he understands the game of basketball and he’s got a lot of energy and he’s a happy guy. He’d make a good coaching atmosphere, making sure kids don’t get down on themselves. He can still get on you if you’re messing up, but he’d be a good choice.
Which teammate would you sing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice?
Guaranteed Jeremy Olsen, because he’s got a song going in his head all the time. Just for him, I would have to say “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. I’ll take the girl’s part at least.