Zoran Talley had a tough decision to make on March 16 of last year. The 6-foot-6 Merrillville senior had his season end that day in the Class 4A Northern Semistate game against Carmel.
Since he broke his wrist the summer before, there was no AAU games and no Division I college offers. So he took half of his graduation money and paid for one year of school at Midwest Elite Prep School in his hometown.
And it paid off as Talley committed to play basketball at Old Dominion and Conference USA next year.
"I used to rely on my jump shot too much," said Talley, who is in China for two weeks playing in an international showcase. "Prep school made me more aggressive. I started attacking the basket more."
OD coach Jeff Jones went to watch Talley play at the Vincennes Jamboree and offered him after the game. Talley also had offers from LaSalle and Arkansas-Little Rock.
"They were on me first so that's where I wanted to go," Talley said.
Merrillville coach T.J. Lux has been nothing but impressed by the growth of Talley, both physically and mentally. The former player at Northern Illinois was not surprised that Talley rung the D-I bell.
"Zoran is an ever-evolving player," Lux said. "He just keeps getting better and better. After last season, he had some D-II offers but he wanted more. He came here in the summer and he was putting the ball through his legs in the air and would dunk it.
"His athleticism is out of this world."
Talley's tale is an example that dreams do come true.
"I'm excited, I'm ready," Talley said. "I'm ready to play college ball. It's always been my dream."