Midvale • High school hoops are returning to the hill.
The Utah High School Activities Association executive committee approved Wednesday morning that the 4A/5A high school boys’ basketball tournaments will be held in the Huntsman Center starting in 2014.
It is the first time 4A/5A postseason basketball will be played at the University of Utah since 1999.
"We’re really excited the University of Utah and the current personnel and coaches are willing to work with us and bring high school kids to their campus," said Rob Cuff, executive director for the UHSAA.
The 4A/5A tournaments will be played in the Huntsman Center in 2014, 2016 and 2018, while the Dee Events Center on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden will play host in odd years in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Cuff said the UHSAA has had ongoing discussions with the University of Utah for 10 years in hopes of having the main attraction of high school boys’ basketball inside the 15,000-seat arena.
"We’ve just tried to do it every year, and finally they were able to," he said.
Cuff said the relationship with the university stemming from their work together for holding the state football championships at Rice-Eccles Stadium played a role in the agreement, adding that it was a product of mutual interest.
The return to the Huntsman Center is the result of the UHSAA getting the green light from the cluster of Utes coaches who are willing to give up floor time in late winter. Cuff said the tournament will kick off with eight games on the Utes’ floor the Monday and Tuesday of tournament week.
"I think a lot of it has to do with them juggling their gymnastics, men’s and women’s basketball and then the feeling and philosophy of their coaches," he said. "Them building the new practice facility may have something to do with moving forward."
Cuff said an official contract has not been signed yet — it is a six-year deal — but he expects one to be signed soon.
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