SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier in the summer, the University of Utah wasn’t even on his radar. But Wednesday Caleb Lohner, a top-100 basketball player, announced his commitment to play for the Utes beginning in 2020.
Lohner, a 6-foot-6 forward who grew up near Dallas, Texas, was being recruited by some of the top schools in the country and was considering offers from Michigan State, Stanford, San Diego State and BYU, among others, before choosing Utah.
The four-star recruit is ranked in the top 100 by several publications — No. 70 by ESPN, No. 88 by 24-7 Sports and No. 90 by Rivals. He transferred to Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant midway through last season and will play his senior season there this year.
He said he was recruited by Utah when he was younger, but not as much for the past year before he and the Ute coaches showed mutual interest earlier this summer.
“I really clicked with the staff, their coaches and their vision for me is exactly what I needed and what I want,” he said from Provo where he has been living for several months. “My interest was sparked a month or so ago and I checked it out and was really impressed. After a few weeks I knew it was the right spot.”
Lohner’s father, Matt, was a backup guard for BYU in 1994-96 after playing for Provo High School. Young Lohner said he considered BYU before choosing Utah.
“The whole side of his family is not that happy with me right now,” he said with a laugh.
The oldest of five boys, Lohner is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but said, “I don’t think I’m going to do a mission.”
Lohner is known for his long, curly blond hair that has gone down his shoulders.
“People either love it or hate it,” he said. “One day I decided I’m just going to grow my hair and ever since then I’ve loved it. I just roll with what I want to do. It’s almost my look now. A lot of people are starting to brand me by my hair.”
Lohner said he’s been called a variety of nicknames — “Thor, Aqua-man, Sunshine, all sorts of stuff.”
He said he cut four inches off a month ago and although it’s “still really long,” he plans to keep it this length for awhile.
As for the type of player he is, Lohner called himself, “super versatile,” and added “I play hard, shoot the ball, make plays for my teammates and just have fun. That’s who I am.”
Lohner has met some of the players, including freshman-to-be Rylan Jones and said he already knew 2020 Ute recruit Ian Martinez, a 4-star recruit from San Juan Capistrano, California, from a few camps they’ve been part of together.
“I’m so excited, it’ll be a blast,” he said. “I’m so pumped up.”