Branden Carlson is returning to the Utah basketball program for the 2023-24 season

Utah center Branden Carlson is returning to the Utes program for the 2023-24 season after declaring for the NBA draft this offseason. He announced his decision Wednesday via social media. Players had until today to withdraw their names from the draft.
Utah center Branden Carlson is returning to the Utes program for the 2023-24 season after declaring for the NBA draft this offseason. He announced his decision Wednesday via social media. Players had until today to withdraw their names from the draft. | Ryan Sun, Deseret News

Branden Carlson isn’t going anywhere just yet.

The 7-foot star Utah center, who previously declared for the NBA draft, announced on social media Wednesday that he is returning to the Runnin’ Utes program for the upcoming season.

“This year, the NBA process has taught me a lot and showed me the level I aspire to be, but I’m not done here — not yet,” Carlson said in a video announcing his return to Utah. “Legacy, that’s what’s on my mind — my legacy as a Ute, as a player and as a teammate.”

Players who entered the NBA draft had until Wednesday to withdraw their name and return to school if they chose to.

Thanks to the extra year the NCAA allowed due to COVID-19, Carlson has one year of eligibility remaining after playing for the Utes the past four seasons.

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Carlson, who prepped at Bingham High, is coming off his best season in a Utah uniform, when he earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors after starting 31 games in the post.

He led the Utes in points (16.4), rebounds (7.5) and blocks (2.0) last season, while also shooting 49.6% from the field.

By returning, Carlson will also have the chance to chase program career marks. He is tied for No. 24 all-time in career scoring at Utah (1,261) and third all-time in blocks (187).

“There’s unfinished business. I have more to give,” Carlson said.