Smith Adds Three to Support Staff
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah head men's basketball coach Craig Smith announced the additions of Brandon Ubel, Justin Johnson and Logan Ogden to his support staff with the Runnin' Utes basketball program. All three worked under Smith at various lengths during his three seasons at Utah State.
Ubel joins the staff as the director of scouting after serving as a graduate manager the last two seasons in Logan. Smith and Ubel's relationship goes back to his days as a Husker when Smith was an assistant coach at Nebraska.
A four-year (2010-13) standout for the Huskers, Ubel averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds with 109 career assists to go with 47 blocks and 49 steals. The Overland Park, Kan., product was part of the transition for UNL, playing his first two season in the Big 12 and finished his final two seasons in the Big Ten. The 6-10 forward averaged 16 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his final Big Ten Tournament run, leading Nebraska to the tournament quarterfinals for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
He wrapped up his collegiate career in 2013 seventh in games played (125) at Nebraska while also ranking seventh in the Big Ten his senior year in rebounds per game (6.7) and free throw percentage (.802). In addition, he was 20th in the Big Ten that year in scoring (11.5ppg). Ubel was an academic star as well, racking up two Academic All-Big Ten honors (2012-13), an Academic First-Team All-Big 12 (2011) selection and a Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Honor Roll (2009) award.
After college, Ubel spent most of his professional career in Belgium, playing for Brussels from 2013-14, the Antwerp Giants from 2014-15 and then returned to Brussels from 2015-17. During his time in Belgium, Ubel earned a pair of all-league honors. He wrapped up his professional career with Boulazac Basket Dordogne, a team in Boulazac, France, and helped the squad to a runner-up finish in the French Cup during the 2017-18 season.
SMITH ON UBEL…
"We are thrilled to announce that Brandon will be joining the Runnin' Utes basketball family. He brings a little bit of everything to our staff. Brandon is all about relationships and working hard. He has a mindset of helping others understand whatever the situation may be. When I coached Brandon, I always told him I am going to hire him someday. So pumped that day has arrived."
Johnson comes to Salt Lake City as the special assistant to the head coach after serving on Smith's staff at Utah State the past three season (2018-21) in a similar capacity.
Johnson and Smith formed their relationship back in the late 90s when he played at Minot State. After playing three season (1997-2000) for the Beavers, he served as a student assistant for the 2000-01 season. Johnson then moved on to North Dakota State (2001-03) where he was as a student assistant alongside Smith, who was then an assistant coach under Tim Miles.
Prior to joining Smith at Mayville State as an assistant coach (2004-07), Johnson was an assistant coach at Berthold High School (2003-04). During his time as an assistant under Smith, the Comets basketball program made the biggest turnaround in school history and went from 1-27 the year prior to earning a berth in the NAIA Division II National Tournament. The Comets would make the national tournament all three seasons they were at Mayville State together, culminating in an appearance in the NAIA Division II National Championship game. Along the way, the Comets also won back-to-back regular-season and tournament championships their last two seasons.
Johnson then took over the Comets program after Smith departed for Colorado State from 2007-12. While at the helm, he guided Mayville State to a third-place finish in league play after losing 10 seniors from the national runner-up team a season prior. In his third season, Johnson led the Comets to an upset over Division I North Dakota – the first victory over a Division I team in program history. Johnson's teams ranked in the top-five nationally in several categories throughout his tenure. Six players garnered all-conference selections under his watch. Johnson was also the school's sports information director while he was the head coach.
After leading the Comets for five season, Johnson went into the private sector where he had a successful business career as well as becoming North Dakota's top-ranked racquetball player – winning 27 amateur tournaments in six years. Johnson also competed part-time on the International Racquetball Tour, racquetball's professional circuit, where he recorded an upset against the No. 17-ranked player in the world in September of 2017. He teamed up with Hall-of-Famer Sudsy Monchik in January of 2018 to win a doubles championship in his last pro event before reuniting with Smith at Utah State.
SMITH ON JOHNSON…
"We couldn't be more excited to have Justin join our Runnin' Utes basketball family. Justin and I have been on the same staff for eight years at various stops. There is a reason for that. He's a relationship person at the highest level and truly understand the process for winning."
Ogden, who joined Smith's staff in June of 2018, will serve in a similar capacity as the men's basketball strength and conditioning coach. Prior to his time at USU, Ogden spent three years at Omaha as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for two seasons before being elevated to director of strength and conditioning in January of 2017. In that position, he directed all aspects of training for the Maverick men's and women's basketball, track & field and cross country programs.
He also spent two seasons as an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., after serving as a graduate assistant at South Dakota State (2011-13). While in Brookings, S.D., Ogden was responsible for the track & field, cross country, equestrian and cheerleading while assisting with men's and women's basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball and football.
A two-sport student-athlete at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, Ogden participated in both track & field and football. He was a seven-time NAIA National Track Meet qualifier and earned NAIA All-America honors in 2011. Ogden was also a six-time GPAC all-conference selection in track and a two-time pick in football. In 2009, he was voted the football program's most valuable player.
SMITH ON OGDEN…
"We're beyond happy to have Logan join our staff. Coach O is elite in his area of expertise. These young men in our program will maximize their athletic potential with his coaching. Logan was also a huge reason we went to three-straight NCAA Tournaments at Utah State."