The Utah men’s basketball team officially added 6-foot-11 forward Lahat Thioune to their incoming recruiting class Wednesday, giving them a second post player in what’s currently a five-member class.
Thioune, a senior at Florida Prep Academy in Melbourne, Fla., signed on the first day of the NCAA’s spring signing period. He announced his commitment to Utah in February following a campus visit.
Thioune, who is from Dekar, Senegal, played two seasons at Florida Prep. He averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game at Florida Prep as a senior. He reportedly also received scholarship offers from Louisville, Iowa State and UNLV.
“He was very raw,” Florida Prep assistant coach Chris Thornton said of Thioune when he first joined the program. “You could tell that he had a skill set, it just wasn’t polished or he hadn’t reached his peak yet.”
Thornton said Thioune arrived in August before his junior season, and has since made significant improvements. Thioune gained confidence in his ability and added weight during his time at Florida Prep. Having arrived weighing approximately 200 pounds, he’s now closer to 210.
“I definitely would say one of his strengths is being able to run the floor,” Thornton said.
Thioune moved as well as most of the guards, beat opposing big men down the floor and became adept at throwing down put-back dunks, according to Thornton. He also caught the ball well in pick-and-roll situations, showed a nice touch around the rim as well as the ability to knock down jumpers. Defensively, he made big strides in terms of avoiding foul trouble and knowing when to be aggressive going after shots.
“We are excited to have Lahat join our program,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said in a release. “With his ability to run the floor, block shots and rebound, he brings a great deal of balance to this year’s class. Lahat has a motor and upside that we are excited to coach, but more importantly he’s a phenomenal young man with a great attitude that our fans and community will enjoy.”
Thioune joins the Utes’ four signings in November, including four-star wing Timmy Allen from Arizona, record-setting forward Riley Battin from California, guard Naseem Gaskin from California and junior college transfer Charles Jones Jr. from the College of Southern Idaho. Jones, an Oregon native, earned first-team junior college All-American honors this week.