The crowd of 11,000-plus roared as the Utes hit a shot to increase their lead over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday.
And perhaps few were more excited than the group of kids hamming it up near half court, a collection of teenagers who one day might be on the hardwood at the Huntsman Center instead of in the red chairs.
The basketball program invited a handful of high school standouts to watch the game, an upset victory over No. 19 Oregon, and Davis and Weber counties certainly were well represented.
There was Brekkott Chapman, a 6-foot-8 forward from Roy who has drawn interest from top programs across the West. Zac Seeljas, a 6-6 forward from Bountiful who averaged 15 points a game during his sophomore year. Jarriesse Blackmon, of Layton, another athletic sophomore who can score was there.
As was Davis High’s starting backcourt: Abel Porter and Jesse Wade.
“It’s so fun,” said Wade, a sophomore who averaged nearly 15 points per game last season, “especially with them. I just love being with them all.”
The northern Utah contingent, some of the state’s best basketball prospects, has played with and against each other for years.
“It’s just cool that we’re all right by each other and we can play ball whenever we want,” Wade said. “I’ve known all these guys through basketball for a long time.”
And the group certainly has caught the attention of coaches.
Wade has been invited to several Utah games this season.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I feel definitely blessed and lucky that it’s happening. It’s definitely fun to be in the mix of all this.”
But the sophomore, who can handle the ball and knock down 3s, says he’s not ready for the Division I stage just yet.
“Not right now,” he said. “Hopefully through a lot of practice and hard work I will be.”