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Prized Utah basketball recruit Caleb Lohner asks for release, reportedly eyeing BYU

SHARE Prized Utah basketball recruit Caleb Lohner asks for release, reportedly eyeing BYU

Wasatch Academy’s Caleb Lohner #41 in action against Oak Hill in a Boys Quarterfinal game at the Geico High School Basketball Nationals in the Queens borough of New York on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

Gregory Payan, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah basketball team might lose another player, but this time it could be before the student-athlete even steps on the court for the Utes.

Caleb Lohner, an athletic 6-foot-9 guard/forward from Wasatch Academy via Dallas, Texas, has asked to be released from his official letter of intent commitment to Utah, the incoming freshman confirmed to the Deseret News on Friday afternoon.

As if losing a player of his caliber — a top-100 high school prospect — isn’t a bad enough scenario for a Ute program that already lost starting guard Both Gach and 7-foot-4 center Matt Van Komen to the transfer portal this spring, Lohner’s preferred destination might make the loss sting even worse.

Lohner reportedly wants to be released from Larry Krystkowiak’s team in order to join Mark Pope’s squad at BYU, according to UteZone. The report indicated it’s uncertain if Krystkowiak will grant him a release from his LOI but that Lohner would petition the NCAA for a waiver if denied.

Lohner was a key part of the Utes’ highly rated group of 2020-21 freshman. His dad, Matt Lohner, played for BYU so it was a surprise when the younger athlete pledged to Utah prior to the 2019-20 prep season.

“I just didn’t want anything to do with Utah, to be honest,” Lohner told Deseret News sports writer Brandon Gurney this past spring. “I had all the offers I needed, I thought, and I was just always sort of a BYU guy, growing up, because my dad played there and all that. So no, Utah wasn’t even an option for me through most of it. I just never gave them a chance through most of it.”

The four-star player became impressed with the Utes, however, and eventually decided to play alongside fellow recruits Ian Martinez from Southern California, Mason Falslev from Sky View High and Sweden’s Pelle Larsson.

“The thing that makes him so special is that he really does move like a guard, being as tall as he is, and as big as he is,” Wasatch Academy coach Dave Evans told the Deseret News. “He already has a strong body, unlike a lot of top high school players, and he really works hard to get better.”

Lohner, a sharpshooter with a 40-inch vertical leap, averaged 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds last season for the powerhouse Tigers from Mount Pleasant.

A university athletics spokesperson said they had no comment on the matter at this time.

Contributing: Mike Sorensen