PROVO — In a move that had been expected for a couple of weeks, former Utah signee Caleb Lohner officially joined BYU’s basketball program on Friday.
“Caleb Lohner is an incredibly talented young player with a ready-made college body, a deadly stroke and an intense competitiveness that will be a hallmark of his BYU career,” coach Mark Pope said in a statement. “He is going to bring a unique persona and swagger to Provo that will endear him to Cougar fans. Caleb has lofty aspirations for his basketball career and a steely determination that will help him reach those goals with his teammates here at BYU.”
“Insanely excited to announce that I will be playing for BYU!! So excited and blessed to be in the position Im in today. Ready to get to work!” Lohner said on his Twitter account. “I am grateful to (athletic director) Mark Harlan and Coach (Larry) Krystkowiak for their willingness to grant my release. I have a lot of respect for both of them.”
Reports surfaced in early June that Lohner was seeking a release from his National Letter of Intent with Utah and that he wanted to sign with the Cougars.
The Utes released the 6-foot-9 forward from his NLI June 15.
“We are obviously very disappointed in Caleb’s recent decision requesting a release from his NLI,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak in a statement. “However, we will honor his wishes and turn our focus towards the motivated, talented and connected players and coaches that are committed to our program. We look forward to getting back on the court together this fall and return to prominence within the Pac-12.”
Lohner’s dad, Matt, played basketball at BYU from 1991-92, 1994-96. Caleb is the oldest of five boys and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While Caleb Lohner grew up in the Dallas area, he enrolled at Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant for his senior year. He averaged 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds and helped lead Wasatch Academy to a 27-2 record.
“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,” said David Evans, who coached Lohner at Wasatch Academy. “He already has a strong body, unlike a lot of top high school players, and he really works hard to get better.”
Lohner joins a BYU team that features Alex Barcello, Brandon Averette, Matt Haarms, Gavin Baxter, Kolby Lee, Connor Harding, Trevin Knell, Gideon George, Spencer Johnson, Richard Harward, Wyatt Lowell, Hunter Erickson, Jesse Wade, Cameron Pearson and Townsend Tripple.
Last August, Lohner committed to Utah, which came as a surprise to most observers. He signed with the Utes in November.
“If you told me that I’d end up signing with Utah, or even staying in Utah a year ago — I would have said you were crazy,” Lohner told the Deseret News in April.
Lohner is the latest Cougar to join the program, along with Erickson (a returned missionary from Timpview High School), graduate transfers Averette (Utah Valley University) and Haarms (Purdue), and junior college transfers Gideon (New Mexico Junior College) and Johnson (Salt Lake Community College).
BYU’s Class of 2020 also includes Dallin Hall (Fremont High School), Richie Saunders (Wasatch Academy) and Tanner Toolson (Evergreen High School). All three players are planning to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling at BYU.