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After 2 1/2 years, Horner finally signs with Iowa

Sunday, November 18, 2001

IOWA CITY - For 2 1/2 years, Mason City's Jeff Horner could only give his word that he would play basketball at Iowa.

Wednesday, he finally was able to put it in writing.

Horner signed his letter of intent on the first day of the November signing period. He had committed to Iowa in April of 1999 as a 15-year-old freshman.

"It feels like it's been a decade since I committed," Horner said. "I'm glad this day is finally here."

Another player with a long held commitment, Carroll's Adam Haluska, signed with Iowa State. Haluska was a sophomore when he accepted coach Larry Eustachy's scholarship offer.

"It's kind of hard to grasp right now, but it's getting there," Haluska said. "When I first committed, I thought, `Wow, it's going to be a long time before I sign.' But it's gone quicker than I thought."

Horner, a 6-foot-3 guard who led Mason City to the state tournament last season, was one of three players signing with Iowa. Coach Steve Alford also signed 6-7 Greg Brunner of Charles City and 6-6 Josh Rhodes of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Recruiting analyst Van Coleman ranks all three among his top 75 prospects nationally.

Eustachy signed two junior-college transfers, 7-1 Chris Alexander of Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa and 6-10 Jackson Vroman of Snow Community College in Utah. Vroman's father, Brett, played on two NCAA championship teams at UCLA.

Tim Barnes, a point guard at Southeastern Community College in Harrisburg, Ill., has committed to Iowa State but has said he'll wait until spring to sign.

Horner, who averaged 25 points and 10 assists last season, said he never had any regrets about committing early.

"Everybody asks me if I think I made the right decision," Horner said. "I encourage younger kids to do that. If you feel right about it, which I did, I think it's the right choice to make."

Brunner averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds his junior year at Charles City, then played impressively in AAU tournaments and camps last summer.

"I feel a lot of pressure has been lifted off my shoulders now," Brunner said. "It's not so much the signing, but just getting on with the season at Charles City. Once this season's over, then I can start to think about Iowa."

Haluska, a 6-5 forward, averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds last season. He spent the spring and summer playing pickup games with the current Iowa State players and said he knows what he's getting into with Eustachy, a demanding coach who runs tough practices.

"I've seen their practices. There's nothing easy about them," Haluska said. "But in the end, they're better conditioned than any other team. He's a great coach and gets the best out of you. That's what I want."

Northern Iowa signed 6-3 Ben Jacobson of Sioux City East and 6-7 Dusty Jura of Columbus, Neb. Coach Greg McDermott offered Jacobson a scholarship the day he became Northern Iowa's coach last April.

"He is a gym rat," McDermott said. "His ability to shoot the 3-point shot and score off the dribble should allow him to make an immediate impact."

Drake coach Kurt Kanaskie signed two Iowans, 6-6 Josh Powell of Des Moines Lincoln and 6-10 Shaun Wumkes of Garner-Hayfield.

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