IOWA CITY – Three Division I college basketball players coming back. No pressure on you to repeat as Class 4A state basketball champs, Iowa City West.
“Those kids all know it,” West Coach Steve Bergman said Wednesday, after it was revealed senior guard Dondre Alexander has given a verbal commitment to play beginning next season at Southern Mississippi.
The 6-foot-3 Alexander joins teammates Wyatt Lohaus and Jeremy Morgan (Northern Iowa) as D-I-bound players. Lohaus is a junior, Morgan a senior.
Alexander visited USM’s campus in Hattiesburg last weekend, his first official visit. He averaged a team-high 16 points last season for West, which finished 26-0.
“I got there and liked everything about it. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like,” Alexander said. “I like the coaching staff, the players. I feel like I will fit in there for sure.”
Alexander also was considered a Division I football talent. A wide receiver, he leads the unbeaten Trojans with 32 receptions for 580 yards and three touchdowns.
“That was the tough part, actually getting him down there for a visit because he’s so busy with football right now,” Bergman said. “He’ll be a wing in college. That’s what he does best, getting out and playing (in transition). In talking to them, they really like his toughness. That was the thing with him.”
Southern Miss finished 25-9 in 2011-12, losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Kansas State. Former Iowa State Coach Larry Eustachy led that team but departed for Colorado State after the season.
USM hired former Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall to take over for him. Tyndall has Iowa connections as a former assistant at Iowa Central Community College from 1993 to 1996.
“Pretty rare,” Bergman said about having three Division-I players on one team. “I’m sure it’s not the only time it’s happened. It’s a great compliment to them. Those kids have worked hard to get the attention.”