Provo • The basketball pipeline from Lone Peak High in Alpine to nearby Brigham Young University continues this year, but with a rather interesting twist.
Former Lone Peak star forward Josh Sharp, currently on an LDS Church mission in Texas but scheduled to return later this month, will transfer to BYU from the University of Utah after having spent a redshirt season with the Utes in 2008-09.
A source close to Sharp said the forward has already enrolled at BYU.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak confirmed that Sharp is leaving the University of Utah.
"I have been informed by Joe Sharp [Josh's father] that Josh will not be returning to Utah, and we wish him well," Krystkowiak said in a statement.
Utah was the only Division I school to pursue Sharp after his senior season at Lone Peak in 2008, originally offering him the opportunity to walk on. But he received a scholarship prior to his freshman year with the Utes after forward Stephen Weigh left the team and returned to Australia.
Because he has spent the past two years away from basketball, Sharp is not bound by NCAA rules regarding transfers and will be immediately eligible to play for the Cougars, who will join the West Coast Conference this coming season in basketball and other nonfootball sports.
"We want Josh to be a part of our program and are disappointed that rival schools can take advantage of a loophole in the system should they choose," Krystkowiak said last week. "Josh attended classes here for a year, signed an NLI [national letter of intent] and financial-aid agreement, and we want him to continue his education and playing career here.
"It is my understanding that there is an unwritten rule that players cannot be recruited by other schools while they are serving missions. To do so is not only inappropriate, but it creates an atmosphere of ill will."
Per NCAA rules, BYU coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits or transfers until they have officially signed.
firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @drewjay Reporter Bill Oram contributed to this story.