SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah assistant basketball coach DeMarlo Slocum recalled a time that he texted Craig Smith about winning a national title together.
This happened years ago before Craig Smith went to Utah State and while DeMarlo Slocum was still an assistant coach at Utah. The two built their relationship when they were both assistant coaches at Colorado State from 2007-11.
Slocum spent eight seasons on the Runnin’ Utes staff under Larry Krystkowiak before leaving to go back home and join the coaching staff at UNLV. After two seasons in Las Vegas, the head coach of the Rebels left to run the program at Iowa State. That was around the same time that Craig Smith was named the head coach of Utah.
It was hard for Slocum to leave Utah to go to UNLV after eight seasons but it was also hard for him to leave home and come back to Salt Lake City, which is a second home for him. But the relationship he has with Craig Smith made it hard for him to turn down an opportunity especially when Slocum sent a text message to Smith about five or six years ago.
“Home is home, right?” Slocum told KSL Sports. “Obviously, that makes it hard. But Craig and I, it’s crazy to say this, but we’ve talked about this for a long time. It was probably five or six years ago. I don’t know what I was doing. I don’t know what I was watching. But I texted him. I just said, ‘you know, we’re gonna win a national championship together one day,’ and he remembered that and actually had to remind me that I actually texted him that.”
Slocum joined the Crimson Corner for a live stream to talk about returning to Utah and what to expect from the program this season.
DeMarlo Slocum’s Relationship With Craig Smith Goes Back To Colorado State
Slocum has more ties to the Utah program than just being an assistant coach. He spent time in the Beehive state as a player when he played two seasons for Dixie State in St. George. Then he started his coaching career with the program. The relationships started building from there when he met Craig Smith when they were both assistants at Colorado State and have stayed in touch since then.
“We have a great relationship and we’ve continued that over close to 13-14 year period and so it didn’t make it very hard to say yes,” Slocum said. “I’ve loved this place for so long. I don’t know where it started. I spent 14 years of my life in the state of Utah from playing and coaching. But then when he got the job, as a friend, you don’t get that opportunity much. Sometimes you walk into these scenarios and it’s a new relationship you got to build with your boss. Well, Craig and I were friends prior to and so it made it a pretty smooth transition to say yes and leave home.”
Slocum was the first person Smith hired to his staff after becoming the head coach of the Runnin’ Utes.
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports. You can download and listen to the podcast, here.