Dante Exum says he would have attended Indiana

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In a few days Dante Exum will be drafted by an NBA franchise. That decision is out of his control, though, he will likely hear his name called within the first five — potentially first three — selections.

Up until late January, Exum had the option of deciding where he would spend next season. On January 28, he signed with an agent, abruptly ending any possibility of him committing to play college basketball for the 2014-2015 season.

Late last summer, Exum was still torn between declaring for the draft or enrolling in college. He eventually listed a handful of finalists — Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Oregon — and even intended on taking visits to each of those schools.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN wrote a profile on Exum earlier this week. In that piece, the 6-foot-6 guard reveals he would have committed to Indiana had he gone to college.

Exum finished his high school career in Australia, graduating in December while weighing his options: to realize his dream of playing college basketball or to go directly to the NBA. He trimmed his list to five schools: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon. Cecil says that Kentucky’s John Calipari even threw out the possibility of Dante joining Kentucky for the second semester of the season and jumping right into the fire.

“He would have been at a major disadvantage,” Cecil said. “Behind the eight-ball. I shot that down and told the other schools that was not an option.”

Dante maintains that he would have chosen to play for Tom Crean at Indiana, the lone school he actually visited, if he had opted to go the college route.

Indiana finished 17-15 (7-11 Big Ten) in 2013-2014 after losing four starters from the previous season. Noah Vonleh ended up joining Exum in the 2014 NBA Draft class, and several rotation players have since transferred out of the program. Returning point guard Yogi Ferrell won’t play alongside Exum next season, but he will be joined in the Hoosiers’ back court by top-50 incoming freshmen James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson.

The Philadelphia 76ers are projected to take Exum with the third overall pick on Thursday night, according to DraftExpress.com.

PHOTO: Baylor shows off new uniforms

Scott Drew
Associated Press
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Wednesday afternoon the Baylor basketball program sent out some images of its uniform combinations for the upcoming season, and the volt color way that first made a splash in 2012 is back. Baylor’s got four different uniforms it can wear this season: home (white), away (green) and two alternate uniforms.

While there is some volt green in each of the four uniforms, its presence is relatively tame compared to the uniforms Scott Drew’s program wore back in 2012. Of course those uniforms were part of adidas’ AdiZero uniform release (Baylor is now outfitted by Nike), with two other schools (Cincinnati and Louisville) wearing colorful uniforms with shorts that had “interesting” patterns on them.

While some of the new uniform designs in college sports have received some pushback from fans and alums, this stuff is about the players and recruits programs look to land for the future. Everyone likes free stuff, and when it comes to apparel for young athletes having something that’s both free and “exclusive” is seen as a positive.

Pressure is on new coach Steve Prohm at Iowa State

Steve Prohm
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AMES, Iowa (AP) Five months ago, Iowa State’s Steve Prohm was the coach at mid-major Murray State. Now he’s in charge of one of the big favorites in the Big 12.

Prohm officially began his first season in charge of the Cyclones on Tuesday with the team’s annual media day.

Iowa State has all the pieces to make a run at the league title and more – provided that Prohm can handle coaching college basketball at the highest level, of course.

In the minds of Prohm’s players, the Cyclones have nothing to worry about.

“Coach (Prohm) is in here earning our trust and our respect every day,” said senior forward Georges Niang. “Even though he’s not trying to cross any of our toes, he puts his foot down when he needs to and lets us know that stuff needs to get done. I think he has a great combination of how to keep us motivated…and still be stern and be able to get the most out of us.”

Fred Hoiberg’s departure for the Chicago Bulls after five mostly successful seasons gave Prohm a shot at a national title. The roster Hoiberg left behind for Prohm is loaded.

Niang, a likely preseason first-team All-American, second-team All-Big 12 point guard Monte Morris and league defensive player of the year Jameel McKay headline one of the nation’s most talented starting units. Throw in veterans like Naz Long, Matt Thomas, Abdel Nader and transfer Deonte Burton, and Prohm might just have the best roster a new Power Five coach has inherited since Bill Guthridge took over for Dean Smith at North Carolina in 1997.

Guthridge reached the Final Four with his first team.

Prohm isn’t shying away from the notion that Iowa State is among the handful of teams with serious national title aspirations.

“Yeah, they’re realistic,” Prohm said when asked about the sky-high expectations for this year’s team. “I think we have the opportunity to have a very special season.”

The similarities between what type of styles Prohm and Hoiberg use was cited as a big reason why Iowa State hired him. Hoiberg even lobbied for Prohm to athletic director Jamie Pollard during the hiring process.

To that end, Prohm is going to let his players have a ton of input on how they play. Prohm doesn’t plan many changes, just tweaks that mostly involve techniques to improve Iowa State’s somewhat inconsistent rebounding and defense.

“I don’t need to say, `This is the way we’re doing things guys because this is the way I did it.’ That’s stupid,” Prohm said. “I need to meet these guys halfway.”

Prohm also acknowledged that he’ll be doing quite a bit of learning himself this season. But Prohm said he intends to embrace the unique opportunity he’s been afforded.

“This is a great situation to walk into. No question,” Prohm said. “Is there pressure? Yeah. But who wants a job with no pressure?”