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Former BYU Basketball commit Christian Popoola jr signs with Utah

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Popoola flips commitment to the Utes

BYU v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Former BYU basketball commitment Christian Popoola jr committed to The University of Utah Saturday afternoon via his twitter account:

Christian had previously committed to BYU back in August:

Popoola first attended Lone Peak High School with Quincy Lewis and TJ Haws before moving to Las Vegas to attend powerhouse Bishop Gorman.

I spoke with Christian quite a bit before and after he committed to BYU. He committed to BYU due in large part to his relationship with Coach Quincy Lewis and players on the team. He told me back in August, via cougarnation.com, “Coach Lewis is family. He’ll forever be Coach Lewis...playing for him would be a dream come true... I’ve been in the gym with a lot of these {BYU} guys and have known them growing up. I’ve worked out a lot with Nick, TJ, Yoeli and Gavin [Baxter}. Those are my guys. A lot of these guys are my friends, so that’s a good thing.”

So, why did Christian decommit from BYU and head to Utah? After Popoola first committed to BYU, the coaching staff went down to Vegas to watch Popoola and support him. Naturally, the staff wanted Christian to sign in the early signing period in November. Christian didn’t sign then, most likely to wanting to see what other offers would come his way, and BYU’s coaching staff was reportedly turned off by that. They didn’t want to play the wait-and-see game.

A family member of Christian told me back in January, “BYU coaches have not been to a practice or game. I think they have moved on since November. No patience.”

Ultimately, I believe a lot of blame falls on BYU’s coaching staff. They cut ties with Christian after he didn’t sign back in November. One knock on the staff has been the dedication and time they put into recruiting, and this is one example of that. They could have stayed on Christian throughout his high school basketball season, and he more than likely would be signing with the Cougars.

On the other hand, I haven’t heard BYU’s coaches reasoning for why they stopped recruiting Christian. There may be more to the story than him simply not signing in November, but that is one of the biggest reasons, if not THE main reason, for why he’s not coming to BYU. BYU could have had a guy who had offers from Oklahoma, USC, Stanford, Rutgers, San Diego State, Pepperdine, LMU, among others.

Utah now gets a dynamic athlete who is one of the most electrifying high school dunkers in the country. Christian has won multiple dunk contests during his high school career.

Here’s an example of what he’s capable of:

BYU signed guard Rylan Bergersen earlier in the week, and will likely sign at least 1 or 2 other guys in the next month.

Christian is one of the most well-spoken high school kids I have talked with. He’s very bright, and has a good support system around him. His dad played at UNLV, and was very influential in his recruiting process.

BYU fans may be tempted to be upset and classify Christian as a “traitor” or question his loyalty, but that seems a bit harsh. It’s comical that an 18-year old high schooler’s college decision would cause many to be upset. It’s his personal decision for how he wants to live his life. Plus, BYU coaches didn’t stick around long for him to come to BYU even if he had decided later.

Best of luck to Christian as he heads to Salt Lake City.