Silas Mills, a former prep All-American who was dismissed from the University of Utah basketball team last year, says he has been told that he can return to the Utes this season, the Deseret News has learned.

Coach Rick Majerus has refused to comment on Mills's case, but, according to Mills, Majerus told an intermediary that he can rejoin the Utes."I'm on the team," said Mills. "I have to wait, though, until they make sure everything is all right with the NCAA. This is the best Christmas present a guy could ask for."

Mills, a versatile 6-foot-7 forward from Milwaukee, was kicked off the Ute team last year for disciplinary reasons. He attended Garden City (Kansas) junior college last year, and was kicked off that team halfway through the season for failing to get along with teammates.

Mills has been enrolled at Salt Lake Community College since last summer, but he hasn't played for the school's basketball team. Mills says he has passed enough classes at SLCC to regain admittance to Utah.

"I hope to be at practice on Sunday," said Mills, who has three years of eligibility remaining (counting the current season). "I could be ready to play against Texas (Dec. 29), but I don't know the offense. I'm out of shape, but that will come back. I've been jogging and doing line drills to keep in shape. But it's different when you're playing."

Mills averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game game for Milwaukee's Washington High School three years ago, and was named the Most Valuable Player at the prestigious McDonald's Kentucky Derby prep all-star game. Majerus has called him the most talented recruit he has ever signed at Utah.

Utah assistant coach Jeff Judkins once said of Mills, "He's a great passer, a great ballhandler, a great rebounder. He could play CBA ball or European ball right now. He's that good. He's a 6-7 forward who jumps out of the gym. He's the only guy I know who can play all five positions. He's that type of player. If we could get him this year or get him for next year and have two years with him, he'd be a 1-to-10 pick (in the NBA draft)."

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