UVU adds former Idaho Player of the Year to heralded recruiting class

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OREM — Utah Valley University basketball coach Mark Pope's biggest impact in his first season might be recruiting, and he added to an already plentiful bounty Thursday with the addition of former USF signee Jared Stutzman.

Stutzman, the 2014 Idaho 4A Player of the Year, chose the Wolverines over recruiting interest from Davidson, Santa Clara, Utah State and Utah, among others. The all-state honoree originally signed with San Francisco, but was released from his scholarship upon returning from a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Arcadia, California, after former Dons coach Rex Walters was fired.

"We are so hyped that Jared has chosen to become a Wolverine," Pope said in a statement. "He is a prolific shooter with range well beyond the 3-point line. Like most great shooters, he is overly obsessed about his stroke and is a 24/7 gym rat. I love that about him. With his size and length, he will be a great asset for us on both ends of the floor.

"He plays with great composure that is hard to find in players of his age and he has a quiet confidence and peace about him that will be a great steadying force in our locker room. It is a great day for UVU hoops."

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound guard broke Bonneville High School's (Idaho Falls) all-time scoring record with 1,665 points in a four-year varsity career. He started every game for the Bees from freshman to senior season, when he averaged 22.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Stutzman played high school basketball with current Wolverine guard Telly Davenport. The sophomore-to-be played in four games in 2015-16, averaging 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds for Utah Valley.

Prior to his mission, Stutzman also held offers from Utah, Utah State, Fresno State, Miami (Ohio), Weber State, Idaho State, Portland and Yale.

Upon enrolling in classes, he will be immediately eligible to play for the Wolverines during the upcoming 2016-17 season.

"It was a really tough decision for me as I had several great options and great coaches recruiting me, but in the end, I decided I wanted to be a part of what Coach Pope was building at Utah Valley," Stutzman said. "I truly believe Coach Pope is the best choice to develop my game and that he will build UVU into something special. I want to be in on the ground floor of that."

Stutzman was the latest in a slew of late additions by Pope and his new staff at UVU. On Wednesday, former BYU guard Jake Toolson made known his decision to transfer to UVU. A nephew of former BYU All-American Danny Ainge, Toolson is eligible to apply for a medical redshirt to get back the 2015-16 season after leaving the Cougars for medical reasons after just 10 games of his sophomore season.

Toolson becomes the second BYU-to-UVU transfer since Pope took over the program following the retirement of Dick Hunsaker, joining ex-BYU big man Isaac Neilson. He will sit out the 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.

"We appreciate all that Jake has done here at BYU,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement. "We wish him all the best as he moves forward with his career."

Stutzman and Toolson join junior college transfers Conner Toolson, the Lone Peak graduate who helped lead Salt Lake Community College to the NJCAA national title last month, and Finnish prep school star Joonas Tahvanainen to commit to the Orem-based school in the late signing period.


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