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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Highland's Sam Orchard drives under the hand of Bountiful's Dan Prawitt in prep basketball in Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sam Orchard had accepted the fact that he wouldn’t be playing Div.-I basketball.

After a very successful senior season at Highland High School, he received offers from Dixie State and Westminster College and had interest from some other programs, but playing Div.-I basketball was his goal.

So when Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill called several weeks ago and offered him a spot with the Aggies, Orchard jumped at the chance.

“I had basically given up and was planning to go play for Westminster College,” said Orchard. "They (the Aggies) showed me some interest during my senior year, but they didn’t offer, but now I guess they had a spot open late for them, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Orchard made unofficial visits to Utah State, and liked what he saw there.

“The atmosphere up there when they play is just incredible,” he said. “It’s hard not to be a fan of that program when going to those games and seeing that atmosphere. It’s something I’m very much looking forward to — to have the opportunity to play in a great program like Utah State with that kind of atmosphere. It’s what I’ve always wanted as a player.”

Orchard will likely redshirt this coming season before leaving on an LDS Church mission.

“I’ll have all of my eligibility when I get back from my mission, so that will be real nice,” he said. “It’s great because I all but gave up on my dreams of playing Div.-I basketball, so this is like a dream come true. I can’t wait to get up there, and when I get off of my mission, I'm going to work hard to help contribute to the great program they have up there.”