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Throughout his recruiting process, Austin Waddoups reminded himself that patience would eventually bring rewards. Last week, it finally paid off.

The 6-foot-1 senior guard verbally committed Monday to Southern Utah University. When he signs his letter of intent - he plans to next week - he'll be on his way to achieving a longtime dream of playing Division I basketball.

The most interesting thing about Waddoups' offers is both came in at the eleventh hour, so to speak. Idaho State offered him on May 4, and SUU officially offered him only two days later.

"It feels great - it feels like a huge stress relief," he said. "I kinda knew it was gonna be like this. A lot of people have told me I'm too small to play Division I ball. I wanted to be patient."

And waiting for something good worked out for Waddoups, who helped lead American Fork to a share of the Region 4 title this past season. He was the second-leading scorer on the Cavemen, which also boasted Utah State signees Quincy Bair and Marcel Davis.

Waddoups said he had been drawn to the Thunderbirds since before the coaching change, and it also helped that the school is moving into the Big Sky Conference. He got to know new coach Nick Robinson on his visit this past weekend and enjoyed the experience.

"I like the way he coaches," Waddoups said. "I've got a lot of respect for him, he knows the game."

Waddoups will go on an LDS Church Mission in July in Pittsburgh and return for the 2014 season. He gave credit to American Fork coach Doug Meacham for his development, as well as his Salt Lake Rebels teammates and coaches.

Caveman teammate Zac Hunter is also expected to commit this week, sporting offers from SLCC, Dixie State and BYU-Hawaii. Waddoups said he hoped the two would sign officially together.

— Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon