Utah Valley University men’s basketball team has a winning culture

Mar 14, 2023, 9:30 PM

Utah Valley University coach Mark Madsen directs his players during a basketball game against BYU a...

Utah Valley University coach Mark Madsen directs his players during a basketball game against BYU at Utah Valley University in Orem on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Madsen joined Inside Sources on Tuesday to discuss the winning culture he has developed at Utah Valley University. Photo credit: Laura Seitz/Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Valley University men’s basketball team received an invitation to play in the National Invitational Tournament over the weekend. The Wolverines will play at New Mexico on Wednesday night.

The Wolverines are 25-8 on the season and won the Western Athletic Conference regular season title.

So, what was the secret to the Wolverines’ success this season? UVU head coach Mark Madsen joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Tuesday to discuss his team’s success.

Winning mentality for Utah Valley University basketball

Matheson says UVU has developed a culture that reflects grit and a make-it-happen kind of mentality. 

He asked Madsen, “But describe especially in a year like this, how you’ve been able pull that team together and kind of reflect that kind of culture?”

“First of all, it helps to have a phenomenal group of young men,” Madsen said. “And so that’s the first thing I would say.”

Madsen says his players come from such different backgrounds. He has players from Senegal, Brazil and Spain. The UVU roster is also made up of players from areas such as Chicago, suburbs and the countryside.

“And so, you have all these different personalities coming together,” he said. “And this idea of come as you are, we will accept as you are.”

In building culture, Madsen has being honest with one another is important.

“If I do something that doesn’t sit well with the player,” the UVU coach said. “I hope there is space for them to come to my office and say ‘coach Madsen, I didn’t like this, or I didn’t like this decision in the game.”

NBA and college experience help as a coach

Matheson asked, “But tell me what you learned from your NBA and your college experience that is now helping you as a coach to understand all of those different personalities and dynamics that brings oneness out of diversity?”

Madsen says former NBA coach Phil Jackson used to say ‘Hey, the way you pass the ball to each other is an indicator of how you feel about each other.'”

The UVU coach also talks about how frustrating it is when certain players just dribble the basketball. Because everyone wants to be involved.

“I think one of the reasons why we’ve had a successful year thus far is that everyone wants to share the ball with each other,” Madsen said. 


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Utah Valley University men’s basketball team has a winning culture