"I fell in love with Coach (Wayne) Morgan and Coach (Damon) Archibald," said Ivan Chiriaev in an interview with CycloneNation.com shortly before the press conference. "They're very classy and I like their approach, so I did not need to visit Iowa State to know that I loved it.
"What really attracted me to the whole situation is that I feel I can make Iowa State a top 10 program in the country, and that's why I want to go there. I had full intentions of committing to Iowa State a month ago."
Several NBA Draft lottery teams have reportedly expressed interest in Chiriaev, who is actually more a perimeter player than post player at this stage of his career. He could play all five positions if he chooses to play college ball and enrolls at ISU.
"They feel like they can play me at all five positions, from point guard to center, and that I'd be able to play at least half the game in the backcourt," Chiriaev said. "They feel they can build the program around me. I'm excited about the opportunity to be a Cyclone, and it was important for me to go through the process."
Chiriaev also made another decision at his Monday press conference, entering his name in the NBA Draft. Many scouts vary on his draft ranking at this point, but Chiriaev said he was encouraged to pursue a pro career after being told he'd be a top-five pick in the first round.
According to a source close to Chiriaev, the 7-foot-1 Russian compares favorably to Dallas Maverick All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, and is considered the top shooter in the draft regardless of position. Recently in a private workout at St. Thomas Aquinas, he hit 88-of-100 3-pointers from NBA range.
He'll put his talents on display on American soil for the first time when he travels to San Antonio, Texas, for the Hoop Summit, which runs in coordination with the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and pits the top high school players from the United States against the World.