Hometown: Dallas, Texas
High School: Wasatch Academy
Caleb Lohner Player Preview
Lohner came to BYU last summer after signing with Utah and then deciding BYU and Mark Pope was the better place for him. He got off to a bit of slow start, but he was an elite rebounder from the start and turned around his three point shooting in conference play. In WCC play, Lohner was a blistering 15-30 (50%) from three in 19 games after shooting 4-25 (16%) in non-conference play.
Lohner was named to the WCC All-Freshman team and was rewarded going into this year by being named Preseason First Team All-WCC.
Rebounding is Lohner’s best skill, as he averaged 7.1 boards per game and was 89th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and 220th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, according to KenPom. With BYU a bit more undersized this year, Lohner will be counted on more to clean up on the glass and create second chance points with offensive rebounds. His two biggest assets are 1) rebounding and 2) hitting outside shots to stretch out the defense. The next phase of his game will be creating offense off the dribble and coming off screens, but if he can do the first two things really well and be a versatile defender, then he should be an All-Conference player at the end of the season and get on the radar of NBA scouts.
Lohner was a good defender for a freshman last year, and he will be asked to do more this year. Lohner will mainly play the 4 spot, but he will also play the 5 at times in order to get the most talent on the floor. When he plays the 5, BYU will be able to get an additional wing like Seneca Knight or Trevin Knell on the floor to maximize BYU’s offensive firepower. A lineup of Alex Barcello, Te’Jon Lucas, Gideon George, Seneca Knight, and Caleb Lohner gives up interior size, but they compensate with some length, versatility, and a lot of scoring options.
If Lohner can become a consistent three-point shooter that shoots close to 40%, guard multiple spots on defense, and continue his elite rebounding, then anything else he provides is gravy and we’ll start talking about the NBA for him.
Player Comp: Julius Randle
Why do I say the New York Knicks All-Star forward? Well, that’s who BYU coaches are telling Lohner to model his game after, sources told me. Randle was a stud freshman at Kentucky, started off his NBA career nicely, and then shot up to an all-star level with the Knicks.
Coaches told Lohner to watch Randle because they are both the same size. Randle came into the NBA averaging double digit rebounds before developing his offensive game as his career progressed. Lohner is similar in that he already is an elite rebounder but isn’t nearly as developed offensively.
Developing into Randle is a tall task, but if Caleb can get even close to that then he will have a fantastic BYU career and a shot at the NBA.
2021-2022 Expectations: Starter, Foundational Piece
Lohner will be one of the best 3-4 players for BYU this year. He’ll be asked to do more since BYU isn’t big, so the jump he takes from year one to year two will have a lot of say in BYU’s success this season. If he’s similar to freshman Caleb, then he’s a good starter but BYU probably doesn’t win a game in the NCAA Tournament. If he makes a jump in year two and is a double-double guy that consistently hits threes and can guard bigs and wings, then BYU could be a Sweet 16 team.