Since the day he arrived on campus, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak has maintained that one key step in rebuilding the program is to attract the top local talent to the team. East (Salt Lake City, Utah) guard Parker Van Dyke was the first local commit for the class of 2013, and in Van Dyke, the Utes got one of the most prolific scorers in the state.
Van Dyke was an important recruit for the Utes not only because of his talent, but because he grew up attending Utah basketball games in the Huntsman Center. Although he had other offers, Van Dyke's relationship with Coach Krystkowiak and assistant Tommy Connor as well as the opportunity to play for the team he grew up cheering for made his decision easy.
"I've always kind of thought about playing [at Utah]. Then it just hit me that it's the place for me," Van Dyke told UteZone in June when he committed. "I just decided. Utah just kind of hit me. I wanted to stay home. I wanted to play for the team that I grew up watching, to play for my hometown team."
In Van Dyke, the Utes landed one of the top scorers in Utah. As a junior, the 6-foot-3 inch combo guard averaged 24.7 points, 6 rebounds and 2.74 assists per game, while hitting just a little more than two 3 point baskets each game. Dave Hammer, Van Dyke's coach with AAU team Salt Lake Metro, believes that the talented guard should be an instant impact player for the Utes.
"He's a great player. He's really skilled at just about everything. He's a tremendous shooter, has a good pull up game, and can get to the rim and finish. He's a really good passer as well. He should be an instant impact guy for Utah. He's a quality player. This is my 19th year in club basketball, and he's one of the better guys that I've ever had," Hammer said.
According to Hammer, Van Dyke not only possesses the basketball skills to excel on the court, but is also someone that will fit in well to the Utah program off the court as well. "He's a quality kid. Parker shows great leadership skills. One of the things that I've always emphasized to him is to be mentally tough and not react to anything that happens to him on the court. At East, he sees so many junk defenses that he can't allow himself to be frustrated and take himself out of the game. He's a good leader. Nothing rattles him. He's a tough minded, tough kid," he explained.
"Parker is a good teammate. He can take a game over and score, but can also blend with the team and do what's necessary for the entire team to be good too. He doesn't have a huge ego. He's content to play basketball the right way. That's why I think he'll be an impact player. He's supporting of teammates and has a good attitude," he said.
Despite his skill set, Hammer believes that Van Dyke will need to mature physically before he can hit his stride in the Pac-12, but that is something that will come when he joins the team and participates in the strength and conditioning program at Utah. "Parker needs to grow into his body and mature physically. I don't know that he can't improve on a lot of other things. Being in practice with those guys every day will make him better. He's very good, but he'll need to grow into his body," he said.
The bottom line is that Hammer believes Ute fans should be excited about what Van Dyke brings to the program. "I expect big things from him," he said.
Van Dyke had offers from Utah State, Arizona State and San Francisco, and was also getting serious consideration from Stanford when he committed to the Utes last summer. He plans on serving a two year mission for the LDS church, but will likely play a season before leaving.