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Report: Ben Carlson moving on from Utah program to pursue pro career

Utah Utes forward Ben Carlson (1) watches highlights during his senior night before a game against the California Golden Bears at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2024.
Utah Utes forward Ben Carlson (1) watches highlights during his senior night before a game against the California Golden Bears at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2024. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News

Utah forward Ben Carlson was one of four players honored on Senior Night on March 2, when the Runnin’ Utes beat California in their final regular-season home game.

“For us, it was a lot of fun having a big win in our last game here, so it was a good way to go out at home,” Carlson said after the blowout win.

Now, Carlson, who had one year of eligibility remaining, is reportedly moving on from the program after two years at Utah.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Friday morning that Carlson will forgo that final year of eligibility to pursue a pro career.

The 6-foot-9 Carlson has spent the past two seasons at Utah after transferring from Wisconsin, starting all 32 games he played in during the 2022-23 season before coming off the bench this past season.

He averaged 18.2 minutes, 5.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game during his time at Utah while shooting 45.4% from the field, including 32.6% from 3-point range.

Although Carlson played two seasons at Wisconsin and two at Utah, he still has a year of eligibility remaining because of the free year granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19.

If Carlson’s reported departure does happen, Utah would have six open scholarships to fill for next season.

Branden Carlson and Cole Bajema, two of the other players honored on Senior Night, have exhausted their eligibility.

The Utes have signed two players out of the transfer portal thus far — Boston College guard Mason Madsen, the twin brother of Utah’s Gabe Madsen, and Rice forward Keanu Dawes.

Utah has also seen four players enter the transfer portal — points guards Deivon Smith and Rollie Worster, guard Wilguens Jr. Exacte and wing Luka Tarlac.

Worster is the only one to sign with a new team thus far, joining Nebraska, while Smith reportedly is visiting Kentucky this weekend.

With Ben Carlson reportedly moving on, that would leave Utah turning to sophomores Jake Wahlin and Dawes to provide the bulk of minutes at wing and power forward.