Four-star Wyatt Lowell spurned high major scholarship offers to verbally commit to Utah Valley late Tuesday evening, he told Scout.
"I wanted to play for coach Pope," Lowell said. "He played for Rick Pitino and won a national championship at Kentucky. He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers and coach by Larry bird for three years. He had a great NBA career."
Lowell, a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field, picked Utah Valley over Colorado, Utah State, Oklahoma State and USC.
"I've known coach Pope for quite a long time," Lowell said. "We built a great relationship. After watching them practice coach Pope is non-stop go, go and the way he'd be able to use me I'd be able to get my shot off and be a mismatch. That appeals to me.
"I also really like the challenge and am looking forward to building a program. UVU isn't really on the map or a basketball powerhouse. So I think it could be a really cool thing to leave a legacy and do something cool."
One of the breakout stars of July, Lowell, moved his way up to No. 24 at the power forward position with his strong play for the Arizona Warriors.
"Wyatt Lowell is an absolute steal for Utah Valley," scout analyst Josh Gershon told Scout. "At 6-foot-9 with a +1.5 wingspan, he has good size and can play either the four or five at the next level. He's a high level shooter for the position and can not only hit threes off the catch but can pull-up and hit midrange jumpers."
"Lowell has an impressive ball skills for the position and can take opposing posts off the dribble and get to the basket, where he's capable of finishing above the rim," Gershon added. "Lowell to Utah Valley is one of the bigger steals I've seen since I've been in scouting; he has the opportunity to be an elite player in the WAC."
Lowell is Utah Valley's first plege of the 2016 recruiting class.
Lowell is expected to do a Mormon mission and join the Utah Valley program in 2018.