Mark Pope didn’t have to go far to secure his first commitment for the 2021 class.
Timpview’s Jake Wahlin, a 6-foot-7 wing player, committed to BYU on Instagram Live Tuesday afternoon.
“This has been the most exciting time of life but also very stressful,” Wahlin said. “As blessed as I am this is not as easy as it sounds. It’s been really tough. But after a lot of prayer and consideration I think it’s time be going to Brigham Young to play for the Cougars. Let’s go!”
With that, Wahlin removed his hoodie to reveal a BYU T-shirt.
Wahlin said one of the reasons he chose the Cougars was so his family could easily see his games.
“Also Coach Pope and his staff have got me all fired up,” Wahlin said. “Last season I got to go to a few games and the one game I really remember is the Gonzaga game. I remember after the game Coach Pope and all the fans were on the court and I was like, ‘Man, how could you not want to be a part of this?’
Wahlin is a versatile player who can contribute at multiple positions. Last season, he led Timpview with 13.8 points per game, including 45 3-pointers and 183 rebounds. The T-Birds advanced to the Class 5A state finals before falling to Springville.
Wahlin averaged 5.5 points per game as a sophomore but started to receive more attention as he developed on the AAU circuit.
“Part of it is just being young and playing varsity for the first time,” Timpview coach Kevin Santiago said. “The kid loves the game. He just works and works. He’s one of the hardest workers around. A lot of times after practice he’ll go work out on his own
Wahlin also had offers from Arizona State, San Diego State, New Mexico and Nevada, among others.
“I think at the end of the day it’s nice to stay at home, so proximity was a factor,” said Santiago, who played basketball at BYU from 1988 to 1992. “Honestly, I thought he’d go to Stanford or Utah State because he really liked the coaches there. But Mark Pope is a player’s coach. And it’s hard to grow up in Provo, play high school ball here and not want to play up the street at BYU.”
On 24/7 Sports, Wahlin is a 3-star recruit and is listed as the third-best prospect in Utah. He is expected to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and enroll at BYU in 2023.
“I think his upside is gigantic,” Santiago said. “He gets in a stance and he moves so well. That’s what all the college coaches love about him is how he moves. He’s still getting used to his body and he’s working hard on handling the ball. A lot of coaches want him to play the 1 or the 2 in college.”