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Forward Jake Wahlin Commits to Utah Post Mission

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Timpview HS grad Jake Wahlin committed to BYU in September 2020 as part of the 2021 class. A 3-star prospect, Wahlin was a top 200 player in the 2021 class. Wahlin signed with BYU before leaving on his mission in June 2021.

Jake returned home from his mission May 16 and announced Monday that he has committed to Utah. Sources close to Jake tell me he signed with Utah May 8.

With Wahlin gone, BYU has one open scholarship to fill for the upcoming season. I believe Jake will have a nice career and I would’ve liked to see him in BYU blue. He was 6-foot-7 before his mission, but a source close to Jake told me he grew to 6-foot-9 on his mission.

With Jake off the board, there are three things I am thinking of: 1) Who will BYU add with the last scholarship? 2) What does this mean for Collin Chandler? and 3) How does the 2024 recruiting class tie into this?

Who will BYU add with the last scholarship?

Based on conversations I’ve had, I believe BYU will add a front court player or someone that can play the 3 and 4 spots. BYU needs rebounding and someone that can play defensively next to Fouss or Aly on the court at the same time. If BYU can get a good scorer then that is a bonus, but I want someone that fills those two roles.

Aly Khalifa and Fouss are BYU’s two best front court players and complement each other well offensively, but I have concerns for them defensively when they are on the court simultaneously. Neither one of them can move particularly well laterally, and that will be exposed by Big 12 frontcourts that have mobile four men that can play on the perimeter. Atiki will be able to guard some of those 4 men since he can move better laterally, but I want BYU to add someone else that can guard mobile four men on the perimeter. BYU also needs another rebounder, so that player needs to be able to get on the glass as well.

If BYU can get a frontcourt/long wing that can do those two things then that will shore up some of the front court concerns. BYU is talking to some transfers and I’m aware of at least 4 international 2023 kids BYU is talking to in order to fill the last scholarship.

What impact will this have on Collin Chandler?

Collin and Jake are close. I was told before Collin left on his mission that he and Jake planned to room together at BYU. Collin is still a year away from returning home.

Utah wouldn’t have added Jake if they didn’t think he was good enough, but I also have no doubt they also added him to increase their chances of getting Collin once he returns home from his mission. Collin grew up in a Utah family and his family still goes to Utah football games. They were considered the favorites for months until BYU was able to reel him in.

Collin’s family may support Utah football now, but they have always supported Utah football. And he still chose BYU. The things BYU has going in its favor haven’t changed, and may be even stronger now. Collin committed to BYU because 1) BYU will play in the Big 12, the best basketball conference in the country and with fanbases that actually support hoops, 2) BYU had one of the best basketball fanbases in the WCC, and 3) Mark Pope.

The Pac-12 had USC and UCLA when Utah recruited Collin. Those two programs will be in the Big 10 when Collin returns home. Arizona is the only school in the Pac-10 that consistently supports hoops.

For fan support, Utah has had the top of the Huntsman Center curtained off for years now. When Collin went to BYU’s Midnight Madness on his official visit, he was blown away by the fan support. Utah basketball hasn’t come close to matching that in years, and BYU will take it up a level in the Big 12.

And Mark Pope. As long as Pope is at BYU, I believe Collin sticks around. Pope was the key to BYU getting Collin. Collin and his parents have known about Jake’s decision to go to Utah for months. Sources tell me that BYU coaches talked with Collin and his family about Jake’s decision, and they reiterated their support to BYU. It may be small, but Collin’s mom commented on Isaac Davis’ commitment post when he committed with BYU support — this was after they all knew Jake wasn’t coming to BYU.

BYU’s coaching staff talks to Collin and his family regularly. They know they CANNOT lose Collin Chandler. This won’t be over until Collin is actually at BYU, but I’m confident he remains a BYU Cougar as long as Mark Pope is at BYU.

2024 Recruiting

Losing Jake Wahlin may not mean much if BYU can clean up in the 2024 class. BYU has already landed Isaac Davis and is in heavy pursuit of Brody Kozlowski and Malick Diallo. All those players are 4-star prospects. If BYU lands all three and none go on missions, which I don’t expect as of now to happen, that is three young front court players on your team next year. A transfer can bridge the gap this season, and those three young guys can fill the young front court void by not having Wahlin. Even if BYU just gets Brody and Isaac, that helps offset the impact of losing Jake. Wahlin is probably realistically a year away from really contributing in a Power Conference, so having an experienced transfer fill the gap this year and then getting some of the 2024 guys next year mitigate losing Wahlin.

I wish Jake nothing but the best. I have no doubt he’ll have a good college career, and who knows how things will be in 1, 2, 3, or however many years from now with the transfer portal.