It's rare in college basketball that the best interests of the team also match up with the future best interests of the best players.
But for Utah, that's the exact situation it happens to find itself in.
Sophomore forward Timmy Allen and fellow-classmate and guard Both Gach each declared for the NBA draft during the month of April, meaning that as of now the Utes will be without their top two players from the season before.
Allen was named to the all-Pac-12 second team last season after averaging 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game — Gach averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Utah was significantly at its best last season when Gach and Allen were cooking. When playing well, the two players gave the Utes two bonafide and scorers who could initiate the offense and get their teammates involved.
There's a reason that during Utah's biggest wins of the season (Kentucky, USC and Colorado), it was Allen and Gach leading the way on offense. Typically one of them would lead the team in scoring while the other would do a much of little things, like rebounding, finding open teammates and getting after it defensively.
With that being said, Allen and Gach have both entered their names into the NBA draft. This will allow them to go through the process and get critical feedback on where their respective games need to improve if they're going to take that next step forward. This is a good thing because it will allow, should the chose to return to Utah, return with a better knowledge and understanding of what they need to do to move forward.
As of now, both players have until June 3 to elect to return to the Utes and retain their college eligibility.
One of the things both players are most likely to get feedback on is their shooting prowess, or lack thereof.
Both players struggled throughout the season shooting the ball.
Gach went through a particularly bad stretch when he went 0-for-26 through a 3-4 week span towards the end of the season. His inconsistent hindered his overall game as it allowed opponents to shy off him and take away his biggest strength, getting to the rim. By no mean does Gach have to turn into an elite shooter, but someone who can knock down the open three at around 35% (25% last season) on the year.
Meanwhile, Allen has no offensive game unless it comes to attacking the rim, which is where he thrives and is considered successful. But his inability to knock down even a midrange jumper has forced him obsolete on some regards considering the way the NBA is trending. Any sort of jumpshot would greatly elevate Allen's game and up him to being a 20+ ppg scorer at a much more efficient rate.
In the end, I really believe Allen and Gach not only should return, but they will return. And if so, watch out for Utah to be a scary good team in the conference next season.