West High boys basketball coach Steve Bergman is used to having talented players on his roster but not like his current situation.
Senior Dondre Alexander became the third Trojan to commit to a Division I school for basketball by picking Southern Mississippi after visiting the Conference USA school last weekend.
Alexander joins senior shooting guard Jeremy Morgan and junior point guard Wyatt Lohaus, who have made verbal commitments to Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference.
With their college decisions now out of the way, the three players can focus solely on defending their Class 4A state title in basketball over the winter.
“That sounds good in theory,” Bergman said. “I don’t know how it works. I’ve never dealt with it, truthfully. I’ve never had what I have.
“The guy from Southern Miss said you’ve got two guys that are committed to Valley teams and a Conference USA commit. That’s pretty good.”
Alexander averaged 16 points and 4.6 rebounds for the undefeated state championship team last year, shooting 55.8 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from 3-point range. He shot 78.2 percent from the foul line. He is as good of a perimeter defensive player as there is in the state, and he’s strong enough to be a Division I football recruit.
The 6-foot-3 Alexander is a standout receiver and outside linebacker for West’s undefeated and second-ranked football team. He leads the team in receptions with 32 for 580 yards (18.1 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. He has 18 tackles, five solo tackles for loss and one solo sack.
He was being recruited for football but decided last spring that he wanted to play basketball in college.
“It’s obviously two different sports, and basketball is just what I love to do most,” he said.
“It becomes more of a job when you go to college, so you better really like what you’re doing,” Bergman said. “And I think he decided that he would have more enjoyment in playing basketball.
“But I know he really loves football, too.”
Alexander flew Saturday morning to Hattiesburg, Miss., after West beat City in the Battle for the Boot on Friday. He went to the football game and was shown around campus and met players.
“I’ve just been waiting on my chance and the chance to go to a good school and Southern Miss, I just liked everything about it academic-wise and team-wise,” Alexander said. “The players on the team were pretty cool. It was easy for me to fit in and feel comfortable.”
Alexander said he talked some to Marquette, but several schools were reluctant to extend offers because of his academic situation.
“Like most people were kind of shaky because of my grades,” he said.
He said he is confident his grades will enable him to be a qualifier. Southern Mississippi was the first school to offer him a scholarship.
The 6-6 Morgan was in a similar situation as Alexander with schools also recruiting him for football and basketball. Morgan plays receiver and defensive back for the West.
Alexander has played a key role for West in basketball since he was a freshman. He plays mostly on the wing, but his athleticism allows him to play multiple roles. He said the Golden Eagles are looking at him as a shooting guard.
“He’s skilled enough and athletic enough and I think what people really like about him is his competitiveness,” Bergman said. “He’s just a real tough kid who will compete and hates to lose. And I think that shows every time he plays.”
Alexander and Morgan made first-team all-state in basketball as juniors last season while the 6-2 Lohaus was a third-team selection.