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Boys basketball: Layton High duo Katoa, Miller sign with Utah, CSU San Marcos

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Nov 8, 2023

Patrick Carr, Standard-Examiner

Layton High School seniors KJ Miller (left) and David Katoa (right) sign letters of intent to play college basketball at Cal State San Marcos and Utah, respectively, on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 at Layton High School.

LAYTON — Layton High boys basketball seniors KJ Miller and David Katoa signed letters of intent Wednesday to play college basketball next season. Katoa signed with the University of Utah and Miller signed with Cal State San Marcos.

Miller said he picked San Marcos over Cal State East Bay, George Fox and College of Southern Idaho, and heard from Air Force as well.

Miller got recruited to San Marcos as a shooting guard, a position from which he averaged 13.5 points per game for Layton High last year with 73 made 3-pointers.

“I think just the thought of playing after high school, to continue what I love doing is really the main goal. And I think what a lot of kids don’t understand is like, it’s not D-1 or bust, like you don’t have to go D-1 to fulfill your dreams, so I think for me it’s meant a lot just to be able to say, ‘Hey, I get to keep playing, the ball isn’t done bouncing yet,'” Miller said.

CSU San Marcos is located in San Marcos, California, about 30 minutes north of San Diego just off Interstate 15. The Cougars’ athletic programs were founded in 1998 and they compete in the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association.

San Marcos went 20-11 last season and was picked seventh in the CCAA men’s basketball preseason coaches poll. BJ Foster left as head coach of CSUSM in April and the school announced Nick Booker as the new head coach on June 5.

After the coaching turnover, Miller got invited to CSUSM’s basketball camp over the summer and shot very well at the camp.

“And so next day I was at the beach, I got a text from the assistant coach saying, ‘Hey send me your transcripts, we want you up here tomorrow for a visit,'” he said.

Katoa is a familiar last name around Layton High School. David Katoa’s older siblings have graduated from LHS and some have gone on to play various college sports. His first basketball offer was New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Division-I America East Conference.

Most in-state schools started recruiting him. Katoa had offers from Utah State, SUU, Weber State and Utah Tech before Utah offered in August 2022. Katoa verbally committed to Utah a month after the Utes offered.

“If I feel at home and I found a place, why wait?” Katoa said about Utah. “I picked Utah because the coaching staff is amazing, I love the whole coaching staff, and there’s a family environment over there, just the whole program, everything about it is just amazing. … I love being close to my family and doing everything over here.”

David Katoa played the last three basketball seasons at the Real Salt Lake Academy charter high school. RSL Academy had an independent, traveling boys basketball program somewhat in the mold of the nationally known Wasatch Academy that was coached by David Evans, a former Lone Peak High and Wasatch Academy coach.

RSL Academy and the basketball program split up, with the basketball program transitioning to Mount Vernon Academy in Murray, but without Evans as coach. So Katoa, an athletic, 6-foot-4 guard, ended up at Layton High.

“I’d say the biggest thing about me is I’m a hard worker. I’m gonna be a dog, I’m gonna get on the ground, do the dirty work, hustle, I love the things that a lot of guys don’t like,” Katoa said. “I love defense, I’m gonna work hard really hard to rebound, and then scoring, I’m an athletic guard, I like getting to the basket, dunking on people.”

He averaged 13.4 points per game last season in seven games before tearing his ACL in December. He’s rehabbing his knee and hopes to be cleared by the start of Region 1 play in January.

Katoa being at Layton is an ironic, full-circle moment. When he was a freshman, his dad, Fotu, was the head football coach at LHS and David was planning on playing football.

In July 2020, ninth-grade David actually got a football scholarship offer to Utah, his first football offer.

“It’s crazy, first school to offer and I’m back,” he said.


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