Gary Colbert, a California prep star, has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Utah.

Colbert, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound point guard from Entiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, averaged 16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 3.5 steals as a senior.Utah coach Rick Majerus said the LA Times Inland Empire Player of the Year would sit out a year to shore up his academic performance before possibly taking over for Andre Miller.

Miller, after weeks of consideration, recently announced he would play out his senior season rather than make himself available to the NBA draft early.

That means Colbert could see action at the then-graduated Miller's spot during the 1999-2000 season.

"(Colbert) has the potential to be a premier point guard in the Western Athletic Conference in a relatively short period of time," Ma-jer-us said Wednesday.

"Gary can absolutely shut the opposition down," the coach added. "He comes to Utah as well-coached as any high school player I've ever recruited. He understands the game.

"He is the consummate point guard and there is no one with better skills and athletic ability that we could have gotten."