Ejim signed, getting closer to Barnes’ decision

Greg McDermott isn’t sure exactly how many scholarships he’ll have for next year’s class.

He filled one Wednesday with the addition of forward/guard Melvin Ejim, who plays at Brewster (N.H.) Academy. That takes care of the roster spot that’ll be vacated by senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken.

After that, there’s some uncertainty.

“Nobody knows for sure what Craig (Brackins) is going to do,” McDermott said Wednesday before practice, “and we are going to attempt to get Marquis (Gilstrap) another year, and we won’t know on that for quite some time.

“There’s a chance we could sign one more in this early period.”

McDermott cannot say specifically who that may be, but there’s no doubt who he would like it to be. 

He and Iowa State basketball fans would be willing to do just about anything to secure the signature of Ames High star and No. 1 national recruit Harrison Barnes, who will make his decision public Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Barnes will choose between ISU, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The smart money is on one of the Tobaccco Road schools, but there seems to be a growing feeling that the Cyclones are not as big of a long shot as once believed.

As of right now, Ejim is the only player signed, sealed and delivered.

“We are excited about Melvin and have been since the first time I saw him,” McDermott said. “His defensive tenacity and his love for playing on that end of the floor is what attracted us to him.”

Ejim averaged 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds last season at Brewster. He’s added to his offensive game that was already strong behind the 3-point line. 

Physically, the 6-6, 215-pound Ejim won’t have any problems adjusting to the college game. 

“His body is ready for the Big 12,” McDermott said. “He likes to get in the weight room and do the things necessary there.”

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