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New RSL Basketball Academy aims to be the ‘premier athletic and academic basketball development program in the United States’

Zions Bank Real Training Academy in Herriman on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.
Zions Bank Real Training Academy in Herriman on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Since 2018, Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman has provided young soccer players around the country a living environment in which they could train at a high level while going to school.

Soon, basketball players will be joining them.

On Tuesday, the Real Salt Lake organization with the Academy announced the launch of the RSL Basketball Academy, with the goal of becoming the “premier athletic and academic basketball development program in the United States.”

The program, which will begin competition in the Utah High School Activities Association this fall, will be coached by someone who has recent experience with such a setup. David Evans, who stepped away from the top role at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant just last month, has been tabbed to lead the way (he also previously led Lone Peak High School as it maintained national prominence).

“We recognized the opportunity to continue to develop athletes in the sport of basketball,” Zions Bank Real Academy president Jake Haueter said in a statement. “Our goal is to give them the resources they need to succeed at the professional level. Coach Evans’ expertise in working with elite basketball talent, coupled with our infrastructure and experience in developing professional athletes, is an ideal partnership. It will allow us to immediately establish ourselves as a development center within the sport.”

Like with the soccer academy, players will live in housing on the premises and attend school at the STEM-based RSL Academy High School. While a basketball-specific facility is constructed “within the next 18 months,” in Herriman, teams will play games at the Lifetime Activities Center on the campus of Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.

“I’m excited to be a part of Real Salt Lake Academy,” Evans said in a statement. “They are professional and have shown excellence in everything that they do. Their soccer program is first class and this is what we will do with the basketball program. We are excited to get started with kids from all over the world and not only train them to be excellent basketball players but help develop great human beings.”