The Josh Grant sweepstakes are over.
Late Wednesday night the highly sought 6-foot-9 East High graduate made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Utah.Grant, who returned from an LDS mission two weeks ago, has been the subject of intense basketball recruiting by Utah, BYU and Utah State along with Arizona State and UCLA of the Pac-10.
He said there were two main factors in his decision.
"I feel very comfortable with Coach (Lynn) Archibald. He's recruited me ever since it was legal, since my junior year," said Grant. "Also, I kind of like being able to stay at home."
Grant was a three-year starter and a two-time all-stater at East, from where he graduated in 1986. He left on a mission to England that summer and just returned two weeks ago today. He visited BYU, Utah State and Arizona State before making a trip to UCLA Monday night. He made his official visit to Utah Tuesday.
Archibald was ecstatic about the news. "He's the type of player who could come in and play right away because of his skills and maturity. He gives Utah something it hasn't had - someone who is both an excellent passer and an excellent shooter, who is also tall. He has the skills to play a lot of different positions for us. He's a great kid and comes from a great basketball family."
Speaking of family, a lot of people wondered about the fact that Josh's older brother Greg - the former Utah State star - was hired by Archibald as a part-time assistant coach a couple of weeks ago. Josh was adamant that his brother's hiring in no way influenced his decision.
"That's not the way it works. Lynn's a fair person, Greg's a fair person and I'm a fair person. We don't deal that way. If Greg had been hired at BYU or Utah State, I'd still be going to Utah."
Josh pointed out that his brother Nathan plays for Utah State and that his sister, Melissa, along with many friends and cousins, attends BYU.
"It was my decision all the way," he said. "A lot of people tried to sway me a different way. But it all boiled down to me."
Archibald isn't concerned about people who compare his hiring of Greg Grant to Larry Brown hiring Danny Manning's father.
"That doesn't bother me at all," said Archibald. "That's their problem. I could have waited and announced this after he (Josh) decided and people would have thought the same thing. And if he decided to go somewhere else, no one would have thought anything of it. I hired the best person for the job. Greg is a great addition to the staff."
Since Grant is a returned missionary who has never signed a letter of intent, he isn't under the same requirements as players coming directly out of high school as far as signing a letter of intent. Therefore it is possible he could still change his mind. But he said the decision will stand. Wednesday night he called all of the coaches who recruited him to inform them of his decision.
Grant, who says he doesn't like playing the post, will be competing with a host of players for outside positions at the U. Besides returning starters Tommy Connor and Keith Chapman, Utah's top four recruits were outside players - JC guards Mark Lenoir and Michael Bullock, Boise State transfer Bill Perkins and point guard Van Gray. Another top reserve, Jon Hansen, is also back, along with Dan Sampson.
"In my mind, I know how good I am. I have a goal to play whether it takes 10 days, a month or a year," said Grant.