This is a critical month for Utah in its effort to secure commitments for next season. The Utes don't yet have a commitment in the class of 2014, and will have three open scholarships as Renan Lenz is a rising senior. Parker Van Dyke will head on an LDS Church Mission following his freshman season. There is an open scholarship from this past season, but at this point it's highly unlikely Utah will use it on anyone, as the Utes pretty much have a full team heading into the new year.
Wednesday marked the first day of the evaluation period, and that will last through the remainder of the month. In the following three weeks, the Utah staff will be on the road recruiting and will be at most - if not all - of the major events on the west coast and beyond. Remember, incoming freshman Ahmad Fields is from Washington D.C., so the Utes have begun to make inroads in other areas of the country.
The major tournaments will happen in Las Vegas from the 24th through the 28th. Those will be the Adidas 64 and the Fab 48. All of the major in-state AAU programs - Utah prospects, Pump N Run, Salt Lake Rebels and Salt Lake Metro as well as Salt Lake Dynasty - are slated to be on hand.
Below is a guide to who Utah's been working on in the last few months.
Brekkott Chapman (Roy High School, Utah Prospects) - The 6-8 power forward is the most obvious name on the list. He's ranked among the top 100 players in the country in every single major recruiting serivce around the country, and is Utah's top recruiting priority in the 2014 class. At this point, Larry Krystkowiak's been at every one of his games for the past year and that won't change this month. Krystkowiak has built a great relationship with Chapman and that's served as a key factor in his recruitment, even with attention from the likes of Gonzaga, Arizona and UCLA. He has an outside chance at becoming a McDonald's All-American and this is a big month for him personally if he wants to achieve that status. Utah offered him a full scholarship 18 months ago and he's looked upon as almost a must get for the Utes in their drive to compete at a higher level in the Pac-12. Chapman has it all. He's athletic, he can play both forward positions. He can shoot from three-point range and he can handle the ball. Defensively, he blocks shots. His major weakness is his weakness. He needs strength, but that will come in time.
Makol Mawien (Granger High School, Utah Prospects) - A 6-9 center, Mawien burst onto the scene this spring. He's already considered the best defensive big man in the state, and the Utes offered him officially after his performances this spring. He's Utah's top target in the Class of 2015. Mawien is big, he's athletic and a beast defensively. He's the kind of big man who can complement Chapman as a rim protector defensively. His offense is raw, but getting better. He's showing signs of being able to his a 15-footer, and has developed a jump hook with either hand. He's certainly one to watch. Utah State has offered, and he could be seeing much increased attention in the coming weeks.
Kyle Kuzma (Rise Academy Pa, Dorian's Pride) - Kuzma is a 6-foot-8 small forward and a knock down shooter. He holds an official offer from the Utes and is originally from Michigan. He's the kind of player who can space the floor in a hurry with his shooting and his length is key in his ability to get his shot off - think Klay Thompson. Kuzma likes the Utes, but his recruitment is heating up. He's originally from Flint Michigan, a well-known pipeline to Michigan State (Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, Morris Peterson). If MSU or Michigan offers, it will be difficult for Utah to pull this off. As it is, Kuzma is a coveted target.
Ryan Andrus (American Fork) - A 6-10 power forward, Andrus has held an official offer from Utah for two years. He's long stated that the Utes are his leader, but BYU offered a month ago and that may change things. For Ute fans, it should be considered good news that Andrus didn't commit to the Cougars on the spot. BYU has absolutely owned Utah County in the past five years, so the Cougars are formidable. Utah remains very interested. Andrus will almost certainly embark on an LDS Church Mission following his senior season, so his true rookie year in college won't be until 2016. It's easy to see why coaches like him. He has terrific size for a power forward at the next level. He shoots it well on the perimeter and he's shown improvement over the last two years. Andrus is an important recruit to Krystkowiak. The Utes would love to gain a foothold in Utah County, and Andrus would be a good way of doing so.
Noah Togiai (Hunter, Pump N' Run) - A 6-5 shooting guard, Togiai has interest from Utah because of his supreme athleticism, toughness and overall skill set. He's a Pac-12 talent. He doesn't hold an official offer from the Utes, who are closely monitoring his progress. He also plays football, is a standout on the gridiron, and will probably have to choose between the sports at some point in the future. Togiai is in the Class of 2015
Malek Harwell (Century, Pump N' Run) - This 6-4 combination guard has a well-rounded offensive game, and superior athleticism. Holds an official offer from Utah State, but not from the Utes as of yet. He is heading into his junior season and is from Pocatello. Harwell has shown significant improvement over the last year and made an appearance this summer at Utah's elite camp.
Jesse Wade (Davis, Utah Prospects) - Wade is probably the best point guard in the state in the Class of 2015. He's small and he won't ever in life be picked first in a pick-up game at the local rec center. But Wade can play basketball. Is a knockdown shooter. Has more quickness than will ever be given credit for. Runs the pick and roll extremely well. At 5-11, can hit floaters over big guys, shoot off the dribble and finish at the basket. He doesn't hold an offer from Utah, but after Mawien he may be the most likely player in the 2015 class to receive one. Wade has an offer from Utah State and heavy interest from Gonzaga. He's without a doubt one of the top six or seven high school players in Utah right now.
Zach Seljaas (Bountiful, Utah Prospects) - A 6-7 shooting guard, Seljaas has a chance to be special as a shooter and ball-handler. He has offers from BYU and Utah State in addition to heavy interest from the Utes. Utah will evaluate him during this period. Seljaas has great basketball IQ, can make shots from the perimeter and score in the lane as well. He's a very good passer, also. His height is a big advantage and he could grow even more in the coming years. Seljaas will be in the class of 2015.
Jake Lindsey (Olympus, Pump N' Run) - At 6-5, Lindsey can play both guard positions. He's the son of Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. Lindsey is tough off the dribble, defensively and just plain tough. He's one of those competitors that everyone wants to play with. Doesn't give an inch to anyone. Lindsey needs to improve his jumper. If he does that, his recruitment could soar, because he has almost every other attribute you could want in a player.
Brock Miller (Brighton, Utah Prospects) - A 6-5 shooting guard, Miller is the younger brother of Brandon Miller, who is currently serving an LDS Church Mission before coming to Utah. Miller has an offer from Utah State officially. He's improved greatly over two years and has been playing varsity ball since he was a freshman. Miller is a good shooter and has terrific length on his frame. He's the kind of player who may have another 2-3 inches of growth remaining. His oldest brother Corbin plays at Harvard. As the youngest, he has the most height in the family.