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Wasatch player released from letter of intent

 

By Matt Harris

Staff writer

6-18-2020

 

MT. PLEASANT—Wasatch Academy power forward Caleb Lohner was widely regarded as the crown jewel of Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak’s 2020 recruiting class.

As of yesterday, he is a Ute no longer.

Lohner and the University of Utah men’s basketball team officially announced on Monday afternoon that the program had honored the former Tiger’s request to be released from his National Letter of Intent. Lohner made the request on June 4, according to the Deseret News.

Lohner’s request, which was submitted to both the Utes’ athletics department and the NCAA Eligibility Center per NCAA requirements, was met with a great deal of intrigue among media members and fans of Utah and, for different reasons, BYU athletics.

Not only had Lohner been looking to get out of a legally binding agreement to play for Krystkowiak, which, if not honored, would cost Lohner a year of eligibility, he was also doing so in the 11th hour of the recruiting season for college basketball and leaving a vacant spot in the Utes’ upcoming roster they desperately needed filled.

To further beleaguer the Utah athletics program, it is widely believed from local sources that Lohner will be signing with rival school BYU. Lohner’s father, Matt Lohner, was a member of BYU basketball for two years in the mid-90s, and although Matt was a benchwarmer at best, the Texas businessman also grew up in Provo and attended Provo High School.

Lohner transferred for his senior season to Wasatch Academy to play for head coach David Evans, a distant relative of his. At starting forward, Lohner averaged 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds and attained multiple double-doubles over a 27-2 season.

Krystkowiak, who wrapped up his ninth year as the Ute’s coach last spring, was presented, along with Mark Harlan, Utah’s athletic director, with the choice of whether or not to release Lohner from his legally binding agreement. Although the release was granted, Krystkowiak’s official statement was perceived by some to have a sour flavor.

“We are obviously very disappointed in Caleb’s recent decision requesting a release from his NLI,” Krystkowiak’s statement read. “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 has remained personally silent about his feelings and his intentions since he last confirmed by text to Deseret News that he was trying to get out of his commitment. He did not answer messages asking for comment on this story.

Evans, who has remained close to Lohner despite stepping down from Wasatch Academy last Thursday, commented on the situation by assuring that the decommitment was “100 percent Caleb’s decision.”

“I know there’s a lot of noise out there that his dad did something or I did something,” Evans said. “Y’know, whatever, but the main thing to realize it is 100 percent Caleb’s decision. This is what he wants to do. That’s what needs to be portrayed in the media.”