Alex Timmerman scrutinzed one of the biggest decisions of his life, carefully weighing his opinions of the four NCAA Division I basketball programs he was considering.
The Crystal Lake Central senior-to-be also thought about what other schools might come calling. Then, he realized he found what he wanted in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound center called Bucknell coach Nathan Davis Tuesday morning and committed to the Bison. He can sign his National Letter of Intent in November.
“It checked all of the boxes,” Timmerman said. “It is a cool place. It really is a basketball town. The whole community revolves around Bucknell basketball, which I thought is really cool. I liked all the coaches, the guys were super-nice, the campus, everything stood out about Bucknell. I really enjoyed it all.”
Timmerman will be the first Tiger boys basketball player since 6-8 Bill Heppner (DePaul, 1988) to sign with a D-I school out of high school. Timmerman averaged 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds for the Tigers (17-10), who had their best season since 2013.
“He was struggling a little bit with the decision of if he should wait and see if more offers came in July,” Central coach Rich Czeslawski said. “I asked him what he thought of Bucknell and what offers he was looking for to come in. He said, ‘I like Bucknell, it feels like the fit for me.’ We felt it was important to go to a program with a winning tradition like Bucknell has.”
The Bison have won the last three Patriot League regular-season titles and been to the last two NCAA Tournaments. As a No. 14 seed, Bucknell lost to No. 3 Michigan State, 82-78, in the first round this year.
Timmerman plays for Fundamental U in travel basketball, a program for which former Conant guard Jimmy Sotos played. Sotos now plays at Bucknell, so Fundamental U coach Mike Weinstein had a good read on Bucknell.
“It was a big help,” Timmerman said. “Yesterday (Weinstein) put me in touch with Jimmy. I was texting him all day about the school and stuff, how he likes it. It’s nice to have another guy from around here who knows Weinstein.”
Timmerman was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection. He passed 1,000 points for his career late in the season.
“It’s a great feeling (to go D-I),” Tiimmerman said. “I worked so hard fo this, it’s nice to see it all come together. It’s a big decision. It’s going to affect the rest of my life. Just to know now a little bit earlier than some other kids, where I’m going to college, is kind of nice.”
Czeslawski is close friends with Matt and Lauren Timmerman, Alex’s parents, and has know him since he was born. He brought Timmerman up as a freshman, realizing he could have problems, but also knowing that could pay dividends.
“When he came up, he was in over his head,” Czeslawski said. “We kind of wanted that for him to see how he responded. It’s done wonders for his mentality, how he approaches games, because he knows what it’s like to struggle and he knows what it’s like to be dominant. It’s been a great journey to watch for me as a coach. It’s been really fun to watch him grown into the man he’s become.”