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SALT LAKE CITY — The Runnin' Utes got some good news Friday morning.
Both Gach, who transferred back to the University of Utah earlier this year from Minnesota, received a long-awaited waiver from the NCAA, making the 6-foot-6 guard immediately eligible to play for the Utes this season, head coach Craig Smith said.
Utah opened up the season Tuesday with a 70-56 win over visiting Abilene Christian and were without Gach in the lineup as the program awaited word from the NCAA on Gach's transfer waiver. Because Gach transferred from Utah to Minnesota before last season, he was was not eligible immediately to play at Utah.
"We are excited for Both first and foremost," Smith said. "As I mentioned previously during our media availabilities, Both has been a consummate pro during this whole process, especially when he had to watch his teammates instead of helping them on the floor Tuesday night in our season opener. We can't wait to have him join us back on the floor this Saturday!"
Gach, who has been a full participant in the team's practices leading up to the season, will get his first opportunity to play Saturday (7:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks) as the Utes host Sacramento State at the Huntsman Center.
Smith has reiterated over the course of the preseason that the team was prepared to insert Gach into the lineup whenever the NCAA made a decision. He's gone through all the game walkthrough opportunities and the pre-game prep.
"He can help us bring a different element to our team," Smith said Tuesday night.
In Gach's two seasons with Utah, he played starter minutes and averaged 9.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Smith continues to tinker with his lineups, so where Gach fits is still to be determined. Smith looks to insert players based on matchups.