SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes basketball team is rolling right now, having won four games in a row, and a freshman is a big reason why.
Both Gach, whose name is prounced “BOOTH GAHCH,” has heard many different variations over the years.
“I’ve heard Both, Bahth,” he said. “I lot of people still don’t get my last name right. It’s Gach, but I hear a lot of people say Gatch. Even the coaches still say my last name wrong.”
And is he sick of all the “gotcha” puns?
“No, I’ve been hearing that since high school,” he said.
OK, Gotcha. Gach brings a ton of energy to the Utes as the 6th man on the team. Gach is averaging 8.6 points and 2.4 rebounds, and has games of 22, 18 and 15 points this season. Despite being just a freshman, Gach has already become a fan favorite with his incredible athleticism.
“I would say it’s very importan,” Gach said. “Because the energy I bring to the court feeds onto the other players. So if they see that I’m coming in making exciting plays, it helps us on the defensive end. Because if you see stuff like that, you just want to keep playing defense and keep getting more steals.”
It has been a bit of an adjustment for Gach coming to Utah. His parents were Sudanese refugees who fled a civil war to settle in small town in Minnesota in the mid-90’s. Gach, who was born in the United States, is starting to feel at home in Salt Lake City.
“When I first got here, it was kind of challenging just meeting new guys and getting used to your teammates and being around this area,” he said. “But as time went on, I would say our bond is very tight.”
Gach has really bonded with the other freshmen on the team, including Timmy Allen and Riley Battin.
“I’m with some guys also hanging out off the basketball court and just being around each other all the time,” Gach said. “So I feel like for us freshmen being around all the time is going to be really good for us.”
As far as his goals for this year, Gach said the team is solely focused on winning the Pac-12 Conference and doing well in the Pac-12 Tournament.
“I think everything is clicking at the right time,” he said. “We’re coming together, executing and playing defense. Being in second place in the conference is proving a huge point that we can probably win this league and keep winning more games.”
The Utes (11-8, 5-2 Pac-12) next host Oregon Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.