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Dan Palombizio was one of the best high school basketball players in the nation.

The 1981 Mr. Basketball from Michigan City, Rogers High School had most major programs wanting him to play for them.

He originally committed to Indiana, then signed with Purdue before transferring to Ball State.

Palombizio is a recreation director for the Indiana Department of Corrections' Westville Correctional Center. He also owns Absolute Apparel & Promotions, which specializes in screen print and embroidered spirit and corporate wear, team uniforms and corporate gifts and tradeshow giveaways.

He and his wife Cheryl have been married for 30 years and all of their children have or are attending college with athletic scholarships.

Palombizio, who was also a prep All-American, said he has one regret in life.

"I should have committed and signed with Indiana," Palombizio said. "I made a mistake. Indiana won the (1981) national championship and they wanted to redshirt me. I was Mr. Basketball and didn't want to redshirt. I wanted to play right away."

He led the state in scoring and rebounding  his senior year in high school, averaging 31.8 points and 17.4 rebounds per game. At Rogers, he set or tied game, season or career records 42 times. He also earned the nickname Windex for the way he cleaned the boards.

He graduated as Indiana's ninth all-time prep leading scorer with 2,092 career points and 1,224 career rebounds. He was the state's second player to make first team all-state three times.

He played two seasons at Purdue for Gene Keady, then transferred to Ball State.

"I probably should have stayed at Purdue, but I thought things were gonna go through Russell Cross, so I transferred to Ball State."

At Ball State in 1984-85, he  was the nation's third-leading scorer and 12th-best rebounder. He set a Cardinals single-season scoring mark with 762 points. He was a two-time honorable mention All-American.

"Ball State was great," Palombizio said. "I really enjoyed my two years there and I met my wife there."

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers before playing in Europe and the Dominican Republic.

"I loved it," Palombizio said. Great cultural experience and the people couldn't be nicer. I loved Italy and played for their national team."

Palombizio is of Italian heritage.

He also played in what was a big rivalry against Elston High School.

"Biggest rivalry in the state," Palombizio said. "Everyone in Michigan City was talking about that game every year. If it was at our place, there would be over 8,000 fans. At Elston, 2,800 plus standing room.

"It was great to play in that game. Loved it."

He also noted Michigan City was a hotbed of basketball.

"We had three Mr. Basketballs in me, Delray (Brooks, 1984) and (Elston's) Charles Macon (1992)," Palombizio said. "There was an electricity, lightning in the air when Elston and Rogers played."

Palombizio likes working with and helping rehabilitate inmates.

"I tell them when they leave here, I don't want to see them back here again," Palombizio said. "I mean that in a good way. I hope they go out and lead successful lives."

He said he has been at Westville for seven years and likes what he does.

He loves working with organizations with his apparel company.

"It is Karma, customer service and helping them out," Palombizio said. "Whether it is corporate or helping a church that is just looking to see T-shirts for a fundraiser, you treat everyone with respect. The smallest order is as big of a priority as a large one. Treat people like you want to be treated."

To submit a "Where Are They Now?" idea, contact Mike Nieto at mike.nieto@nwi.com or (219) 933-3232.

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Jason is a sports copy editor and avid traveler whose goal is to see and do everything before he expires from this mortal coil. Also, mosquitoes find him delicious.

Sports Director

Hillary has covered prep, pro and college sports -- and even a Dixie Baseball World Series -- for newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995.