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On the same day Utah basketball's star center announced he's headed to the NBA, another big man signed a letter of intent to join the Runnin' Utes next fall.
Salt Lake Community College star and NJCAA All American Tyler Rawson has signed with the Utes, holding a ceremony at noon with his Bruin teammates.
"I'm ecstatic," Rawson said in an interview with The Tribune. "It feels a little more real."
The American Fork grad started his career at Southern Utah before transferring to SLCC, where he guided the Bruins to an NJCAA championship run last month in Kansas. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game and finished as a third team All American.
The Utes had talked with Rawson from his high school days about joining as a walk-on, but http://bit.ly/22VKRPI">finally felt comfortable offering him a scholarship last month.
"He is a Utah kid and we have known him since his sophomore year of high school," coach Larry Krystkowiak said in a school news release. "Tyler has developed into an outstanding player and he is an excellent addition to our team. He is a terrific passer, has developed into a very good three-point shooter and he has an outstanding feel for the game."
Expected to compete with Kyle Kuzma for minutes at power forward, Rawson has some stretch capability, with strong ball-handling for his size and a 36.5 shooting percentage from deep.
Kuzma was one of the first to reach out to Rawson after he committed.
"He said he'd let me know whenever they have runs, so we can get started," he said. "It's a great group of guys off the court, and they're really good on the court, too."
He's also close friends with sophomore Jake Connor from their AAU days, and said they'll probably be roommates next fall. He plans on majoring in exercise science.
Rawson will add size and depth to a roster that loseshttp://bit.ly/1oYuXF0"> Jakob Poeltl to the pro ranks and http://bit.ly/1RpPxcP">Chris Reyes, who is transferring. After having only one player on the roster who was taller than 6-foot-9 last year, the Utes plan on having three, as well as Kuzma and Makol Mawien who are 6-foot-9.
Rawson is Utah's only known signee this spring, but the Utes have also made a habit of adding late talent, including Poeltl and Reyes in 2014 and Lorenzo Bonam in 2015. The spring signing period lasts through May 18.