MISSOULA — Missoula native Rollie Worster made the leap to the Utah men's basketball team this year after a standout freshman season at Utah State last season.
The Missoula Hellgate grad followed Utah State head coach Craig Smith to the Runnin' Utes and got a chance to taste some of the highest college basketball competition in the West Coast in the Pac-12 Conference.
"The teams top to bottom are all really good so every game you got to bring out your best and your team's best and I think we learned that this year," Worster told MTN Sports.
Worster proved he belonged at the Pac-12 level, and started in 30 games as the team's point guard.
"I always have confidence in myself," Worster said. "My coaches do, my teammates, my family, friends, everybody so that helps a lot but I just think just that self-confidence being able to go out there and just play my game, just try and relax and have fun with it."
This year, he averaged just over 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He shot at a 43.5% clip from the field and 32.8% rate from 3-point range.
"It was really fun and I expect that from myself and that's what I work towards but it was super fun," Worster said. "I just love playing. Regardless of how things go, I'm always going to have fun just being out there on the court but at the end of the day I do want to win."
Utah struggled in Worster and Smith's first year in Salt Lake City as they finished the season 11-20 overall and 4-16 in conference play. That included a stretch of 10 straight losses that began in late December and ran through the entire month of January.
Worster said that was a result of everyone getting used to each other in their first year together.
"My roommate and I, Marco Anthony, we transferred here together but other than that it was all new guys and guys from all over the place trying to come into the program and make it one, make it whole," Worster said. "And I think that was kind of our biggest challenge this year was to get everyone playing well together and I think we had spurts of that this season."
But with the season in the books, Worster said he's confident the team found some positive takeaways toward the end of the year, and it's about growing in the offseason as Utah attempts to get back on track.
"I just think the biggest thing is to take everything we can from this season," Worster said. "It's really eye-opening for us. You notice everything when you lose and forget some things when you win but having a tough season like that builds character and it's about bouncing back and what we can do in the future."