Weigh signs with Utah

? FORMER Rockhampton junior basketball star Stephen Weigh is combining talent and "perfect timing'' to follow in some big footsteps.

Weigh is home in Rockhampton for Christmas after signing a letter of intent to play basketball with the University of Utah Runnin' Utes on a four-year contract, which is always under negotiation.

"It feels great,'' Weigh said.

Utah's head coach, Ray Giacoletti, flew to Australia to recruit Weigh, who is now based at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra.

It is the university Australia's NBA number-one draft pick Andrew Bogut came from.

Bogut is now quickly making a name for himself with the Milwaukee Bucks and pocketing A$4.79m in his first season.

The new NBA star also started at the AIS before catching the attention of the University of Utah coaching staff.

While Weigh expects some comparisons with Bogut he is just grateful to the new NBA recruit for helping put the AIS program on the US map.

"It's been a huge favour for our age group,'' Weigh said. "The AIS has opened a lot of doors.''

Weigh joined the AIS program in September last year.

In Salt Lake City basketball rules ? the city is not involved in the national football or baseball leagues.

Sitting back in the shade trying to shelter from the sweltering heat next to Hegvold Stadium's outdoor courts, Weigh tries to remember back to his early years in the game after starting basketball as a nineyear-old in Rockhampton.

"It's going to be a bit different playing in front of 15,000 people in Utah,'' Weigh said.

Weigh, this year's Australian Under-20 Championships MVP and the AIS's leading scorer at the 2005 Jones Cup in Taipei during July, leaves for Utah in September or October next year after finishing AIS commitments.

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