Utah Utes basketball: Josh Sharp leaving Utah for BYU?

Published: Wednesday, June 1 2011 6:37 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has confirmed that Josh Sharp, who is currently serving an LDS Church mission in Texas, will not be returning to the Runnin' Utes.

The 6-foot-7, 185-pound forward from Lone Peak High School was expected to fill one of the program's 13 scholarship slots this season.

Krystkowiak learned of Sharp's decision in an e-mail from the player's father.

"I've been informed by Joe Sharp that Josh will not be returning to the University of Utah and we wish him well," Krystkowiak said.

The Daily Herald in Provo is reporting that Sharp plans to enroll at BYU upon his return. He'll be eligible to play immediately because of a paperwork technicality at Utah.

The university announced last week that other schools were allowed to contact Sharp, who redshirted in 2008-09 before leaving on his mission, because he did not sign his National Letter of Intent and financial aid agreement with Utah simultaneously. Binding agreements require that both be done at the same time.

Sharp signed his NLI in November of 2007 and the financial agreement papers months later.

The gap opened the door for Sharp, who would have been the lone in-state player on scholarship next season, to go elsewhere without obtaining any sort of release from Utah.

It prompted Krystkowiak to issue a statement on the matter last week.

"We want Josh to be a part of our program and are disappointed that rival schools can take advantage of a loophole in the system should they choose," said Krystkowiak, who has repeatedly declined to specifically identify any other programs. "Josh attended classes here for a year, signed an NLI and financial aid agreement, and we want him to continue his education and playing career here."

Sharp averaged 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as a senior at Lone Peak. He earned first-team all-state honors from the Deseret News after helping the Knights win back-to-back state championships.

"It is my understanding that there is an unwritten rule that players cannot be recruited by other schools while they are serving missions. To do so is not only inappropriate, but it creates an atmosphere of ill will," Krystkowiak said in his initial statement. "We hope that Josh returns to our team and wants to be part of what we are building here, but regardless of what happens, we remain strongly committed to recruiting the best players in the state of Utah."

The new coaching staff, which has recruited seven new players to the program since Krystkowiak replaced the fired Boylen last month, now has another spot to fill.

email: dirk@desnews.com

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