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Parker Van Dyke grew up watching Utah Utes basketball games in the front row of the Huntsman Center. The East High guard realized Monday that he wanted to be a part of that tradition.
Van Dyke, one of the premier combo guards in the Class of 2013, has committed to the Utah basketball program. He had entertained offers from Utah State and Arizona State, but in the end said he said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for the hometown team.
"I was just thinking about it, and it hit me," Van Dyke said. "It's the team I've grown up with, and it made a lot of sense."
The Utes get one of the state's leading scorers in Van Dyke, a 6-foot-3 shooter who is also capable of driving to the rim. He led Class 4A with nearly 25 points per game, also averaging six rebounds and three assists on his way to being named the Tribune's 4A MVP. He's started since his freshman year, averaging 17 points per game in his career.
Many consider him the No. 2 prospect in his class behind BYU-committed guard Nick Emery of Lone Peak. But Salt Lake Metro coach and former University of Utah assistant Dave Hammer says he'll make an impact.
"He can do everything he can score, good ballhandling skills he's a good player," he said. "He can blend into the team, or he can step up and make plays for you. I'm extremely high on Parker. He's one of the better player's I've had come out of the Metro program."
Van Dyke called coach Larry Krystowiak around noon to inform him of his commitment, then informed his other schools that he was off the market he described it as a difficult process.
"There was nothing that recruiters were doing wrong, and they were all great to me," he said. "But it's been a long process, and I want to get it over with. Coach K can kinda start to focus on coaching me now, and it's exciting."
The new Utes commit still has a long year ahead playing AAU ball for Salt Lake Metro and trying to improve on the Leopards' quarterfinal exit in the playoffs. After he graduates from East next spring, he plans on serving an LDS Church mission.
Van Dyke said his grandfather is a longtime season-ticket holder for the Utes, and he remembers watching Andrew Bogut anchor some of the better Utah teams of the past decade. The coaching staff and recent signees including West Jordan forward Jordan Loveridge helped convince him that Utah could be swaying back in that direction.
"Jordan committing was definitely a big step for the program, and it shows that Utah is back as a place for in-state kids," Van Dyke said. "I have a lot of trust in the coaching staff that Utah will be back on top pretty soon."
Hammer thinks with Van Dyke's decision to stay home, the Utes might be even more on their way.
"As far as I'm concerned, they got the best player last year and the best player this year," Hammer said. "It's good for the Utes."
Parker Van Dyke commits to the Utes
• 6-foot-3 combo guard from 2013 class
• Class 4A MVP for East High last season, leading the class in scoring
• Started as a freshman, and has averaged 17 points per game in his career