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Wasatch Academy forward, ex-Utah signee Caleb Lohner signs with BYU

Gregory Bull, AP Photo

Wasatch Academy forward, ex-Utah signee Caleb Lohner signs with BYU

By Sean Walker, | Updated - Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:37 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:28 p.m.

PROVO — When Caleb Lohner moved to Mount Pleasant to attend Wasatch Academy before his junior year of high school, he lived with his cousin — Tigers head coach David Evans.

Evans' sleep patterns were never the same afterward.

Lohner would often wake up early, and sometimes he'd pull Evans out of bed to go to the nearest gym or have the coach open the gym so he could shoot around before school, or even prior to early-morning practices, in some cases.

That's just the type of player he is, Evans said.

And it's the type of player BYU basketball is getting.

"Caleb is an all-in basketball player," Evans told KSL on Friday evening, shortly after Lohner signed with BYU. "He would often wake me up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the gym and lift. He wants to be very good, and he’s excited for the opportunity to go to BYU. He feels like it’s the right fit for him.”

After a winding world of basketball recruiting, Lohner, the No. 2-rated recruit in Utah and No. 34 power forward in the country by 247 Sports, has signed with BYU basketball, Cougars head coach Mark Pope announced Friday.

Lohner, who signed with the University of Utah last fall, was recently released from his National Letter of Intent by Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak. The Wasatch Academy wing played multiple positions in high school, and made up part of what was once the Runnin' Utes' best recruiting class in program history alongside Sky View’s Mason Falslev, combo guard Pelle Larson and four-star guard Ian Martinez of JSerra Catholic in California.

Prior to signing with Utah, Lohner also had offers from Baylor, Kansas State and TCU, as well as BYU, among others.

Lohner's father Matt played for the Cougars under former coach Roger Reid, from 1991-92 and 1994-96.

"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," Pope said in a news release from the school. "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."

At 6-feet, 9-inches and with a 40-inch vertical, Lohner was a matchup problem as a senior for the Tigers, who went 27-2 en route to a No. 2 national ranking.

The 230-pound native of Dallas, Texas who played previously in Flower Mound, Texas averaged 13.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game in two seasons at Wasatch Academy, where he played former Lone Peak coach Evans — his cousin — who called Lohner "the ultimate team-first guy."

When four-star center Mady Sissoko missed the start of his senior season with a hand injury, Lohner — who projects as a small forward at the next level — stepped into the starting center role, and thrived.

"When Mady went down with an injury, Caleb had to step in and play the five — and he’s a natural three-man," Evans said. "But he never complained once to me about it. And he had some really big games at the five spot."

Evans recently stepped down as head coach of the Tigers, and was replaced by former associate head coach Paul Peterson. Wasatch Academy was 53-6 under Evans, and would’ve been the No. 2 seed in the GEICO National High School Invitational prior to its cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Playing on a squad that featured five Division I-bound seniors — including future BYU teammate Richie Saunders — Lohner improved every facet of his game from his junior to senior year, increasing his averages to 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per contest as a senior.

In addition to Saunders, the Tigers also boasted Michigan State-bound center Sissoko, incoming Cincinnati guard Mike Saunders Jr., and Fresno State-bound wing Leonardo Colimerio, in addition to five-star junior-to-be point guard Richard Isaacs Jr.

Lohner, who will be eligible to play in the 2020-21 season, joins a signing class that also includes junior college transfers Spencer Johnson from Salt Lake and Gideon George from New Mexico, as well as graduate transfers Matt Haarms (Purdue) and Brandon Averette (Utah Valley). Former Timpview sharpshooter Hunter Erickson will also join the Cougars after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while signees Saunders, Fremont's Dallin Hall and Tanner Toolson of Evergreen High School in Washington will first serve missions prior to enrolling.

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