After years of hard work and months of deliberation, it all came to fruition for Lafayette High School senior TJ Alexander.

The Fighting Irish basketball guard announced his commitment on Twitter Friday morning to further his education and career at Mount Marty College.

“I’m very excited,” Alexander said. “This was my plan. This is what I’ve been wanting to do for my whole life.”

When the soon-to-be Lancer visited the campus in Yankton, South Dakota, earlier this year, he knew it would be the place for him.

“Out of all the schools, that was the only one I got to visit since the (coronavirus pandemic) started. I liked it up there the first time I went. I watched them practice and I liked all of it,” Alexander said.

Mount Marty College head men’s basketball coach Todd Lorensen made an immediate impact on Alexander as well.

“The coach started talking to me during the summer, and he gave me my first offer so I had a good connection with him,” Alexander said.

But it was Lafayette head basketball coach Kevin Bristol who helped Alexander fine tune what he wants out of a program.

“He told me to just take my time and let all my offers settle and see what I like best, just see how the coaches interact with me and who really wanted me, and what coaches communicated with me a lot,” Alexander said.

Bristol’s advice centered on his own experiences throughout the years, and he ensured that his players saw the full picture.

“Just make a decision that’s based on you because you’re going to be there for four or five years. So find a place that you feel comfortable with and that you think you can grow into a young adult at,” Bristol said.

In the 2019-2020 season, Alexander averaged 6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

His tenacity as a defender provides a testament in Bristol’s eyes to the type of athlete he is on the court.

“He could guard positions from one through four and be successful at it,” Bristol said. “I think TJ has turned himself to be a better scorer than what people may think of so I like to see that come into fruition on the next level.”

Bristol added Alexander is a special player in his own right.

“Just seeing him progress the past two years with the confidence he displays on the court and willingness to do what it takes to get the job done and win games,” Bristol said.

Before he says goodbye to St. Joseph, Alexander is doing everything he can to gear up for the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

“It’s like a lot of catch and shoot and ball screens, getting downhill and making shots for our players, so I want to work more on my shot and still work on defense by getting quicker and faster,” Alexander said.

Alexander wants to major in athletic training, with plans to pursue a master’s degree.

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Micaela Dea is a sports reporter for News-Press NOW. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Growing up in San Diego, Micaela loves to travel, meet new people, and tell stories. Have a story idea? Don't hesitate to email!