Utah landed a big one on Saturday — in several ways.

With Branden Carlson declaring for the NBA Draft earlier this week, the Runnin’ Utes are running the risk of losing their top frontcourt option and leading scorer. Carlson is keeping open the avenue to return to Salt Lake City for his final season of eligibility, but coach Craig Smith wasted no time finding another big to man the center spot should Carlson keep his name in the draft.

Former Colorado center Lawson Lovering has committed to Utah.

The 7-footer put his name in the transfer portal earlier this week. He’ll have three years to play two for the Utes.

The last time Lovering was on the court for CU, he turned in the best game of his career against Utah Valley in the NIT when he put up 21 points and seven rebounds in a loss. He started all 34 games the Buffaloes played this past season and departs Boulder after two seasons and 52 appearances.

A 7-foot-1, 225-pound center, Lovering averaged 4.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and one block in 23 minutes a night for the Buffs during the 2022-23 season.

If Carlson remains in the draft, Lovering gives Smith another huge body down low to serve as a rim protector. But if Carlson decides to return, the opportunity exists for a twin towers kind of lineup. Given Carlson’s ability to step out and knock down 3s, Smith might be able to experiment with two 7-footers on the floor together.