Utah's signing class appears to have shrunk by one.
According to a Tuesday report in the Los Angeles Times, forward Josh Hearlihy has been asked by the Utes to opt out of his Letter of Intent. Coach Larry Krystkowiak has had no trouble cutting ties with players — six scholarship players on last year's team were released from their scholarship — but the 6-foot-7 Hearlihy presents a different and, potentially, more damaging situation.
But it does not appear that Hearlihy, whose senior year at Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) was plagued with injuries, is going willingly.
From the Times:
"I was very excited about going to Utah when I signed my Letter of Intent in November," Hearlihy said in a statement. "However, the coaching staff has reconsidered their commitment to me and has asked to be released from their obligation. I turned down scholarship offers and stopped exploring other options when I signed.
"Given the situation at Utah, I’m concerned about putting myself in an environment where I'm not wanted. It is still my dream to play college basketball and I will continue to work hard every day to make that dream a reality."
Hearlihy was on hand for both of Utah's games in Los Angeles in January, and watched the loss at USC fresh off his return from injury. In the hours before the game he scored nine points after making three 3-pointers.
Hearlihy was the second commitment Krystkowiak received for the class of 2012. He made his decision in September and signed with the Utes in November, along with four other players.
In September, Hearlihy said he developed a good relationship with Krystkowiak and was excited to play for the coach.
“He’s a great guy,” Hearlihy said at the time. “He’s quiet at some times but also has energy in his own way. I feel like I’m going to love playing for him and the assistant coaches, too.”
— Bill Oram