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Tom Smart, Deseret News
East High's Parker Van Dyke drives on Springville's McKay Murphy as East High School defeats Springville High School in the first round of the 4A State High School boy's basketball tournament Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in West Valley City, Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — East High School’s Parker Van Dyke grew up with a keen knowledge of how good Utah basketball can be. In making his commitment to sign with Utah late last night, he firmly believes the program is headed in the right direction and will shortly begin to emulate the program he fell in love with as a kid.

“I’m very excited about my decision and the opportunity I have to help build Utah back to where it once was,” said Van Dyke. “I had some other options and I really considered all of them, but when it came down to it, Utah was where I want to play most.”

Van Dyke is a 6-foot-3 guard who can play at either guard position. He held offers from Arizona State, Utah State and from San Francisco, with Stanford likely to offer after he was deemed academically eligible in a few months.

While Van Dyke had a lot of interest in Stanford, he chose not to wait for academic clearance. “I wanted to decide before July, so I just couldn’t wait around for Stanford,” he said.

Van Dyke grew up attending Utah games where he saw players such as Andrew Bogut vault the team into national prominence. With that reference point, he firmly believes that Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has the program moving in the right direction.

He says one move in the right direction was the signing of West Jordan’s Jordan Loveridge — last season’s 5A MVP.

“It just shows you that Utah is on its way to bringing in the best players in the state again,” said Van Dyke. “Loveridge is a dominant player and someone I’m very excited to play with. He’s the type of player that Coach Krystkowiak is starting to bring into the program, and it’s definitely the type of player I want to play with.”

Van Dyke brings quite the resume to the table himself. He led the 4A in scoring last season, averaging just short of 25 points per game, and was widely considered as the No. 2 in-state guard prospect behind Lone Peak’s Nick Emery.

“He can do it all,” said Salt Lake Metro coach Dave Hammer, who has coached Van Dyke in AAU ball for a number of years. “He shoots the ball very well, he handles it well, he’s a team player and he’s really adept at every facet of the game. He’s certainly one of the best players we’ve ever coached at Salt Lake Metro, and we’ve had our share of great ones. Utah is getting a fantastic young man and a great player.”

Van Dyke is LDS and has plans to serve a mission straight out of high school. When he gets home, Loveridge will likely be entering his senior season with Utah assumed to be well into its rebuilding process.

“I’d love to play more with Jordan (Loveridge), but it’s just not going to work out,” said Van Dyke. “I know that Utah is headed in the right direction. Coach K (Krystkowiak) knows how to rebuild the program, and talking to him and seeing the moves he’s made gives me so much confidence that Utah will be back, and being part of all that is something I don’t want to miss out on.”

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney