Utah four-star basketball recruit commits to playing for the Runnin’ Utes

Keita is set to join Canadian prospect Wilguens Exacte Jr. at Utah

(Jeff Chiu | AP) Utah coach Craig Smith celebrates after Utah scored against California during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.

Utah men’s basketball coach Craig Smith has filled one of three open scholarships at his disposal for next season, and he did so by potentially finding some immediate help.

Keba Keita, a 6-foot-8 forward from in-state powerhouse Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, committed to the University of Utah on Wednesday, which was the first day of the regular signing period, allowing high school commits to sign a national letter of intent.

The commitment was first announced by Keita’s AAU team.

Keita is the second Utes commit from the high school class of 2023. He joins NBA Academy Latin America shooting guard Wilguens Exacte Jr. The Canadian-born Exacte signed his NLI on Wednesday.

Mike Saunders Jr., a point guard transfer from the University of Cincinnati, also committed to Utah earlier this month.

In the wake of an 11-20 first season under Smith, Utah has been in the market for more size and physicality on the blocks. Keita checks off boxes, having led the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) last season in rebounding at 9.5 per game, while finishing third in blocks at 2.0 per game. Keita was named NIBC Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month.

The NIBC is considered among the top high school basketball leagues in the country, composed of elite private school programs like IMG Academy (Fla.), Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and La Lumiere School (Ind.).

Keita took an official visit to Utah during the weekend of March 25-27, and visited UNLV before that.