Small school guys underperform??
You mean like Myers Leonard, Mike Tisdale, Brian Cardinal, Ethan Happ, Keita Bates-Diop, Ryan Kalbrenner, LARRY BIRD??
Always good to ask oneself before posting, is what I'm writing actually true or just an unfactual bias? Fact of the matter is there just aren't many small school players at this level.
So you picked 7 names over the past 45 years, and Kalkbrenner is from St Louis. Not exactly a convincing argument. You also picked 3 7 footers, and 2 other post players. Height is height no matter where you were born. There just aren't many guys that tall in the world.
It is a fact, that guards from small schools that don't play the level of competition consistently have struggled in college at the P6 level. Not every single one of them but a good enough percentage that it gives you pause.
I personally think, outside of Illinois, Notre Dame was the best choice Certa could have made. I don't know if he's Catholic, but I'm sure all Catholic school kids have at least a bit of affinity for Notre Dame. It's a top academic institution, it's close to home, they have one of the best young coaches in America, they're rebuilding so PT should be available. Northwestern also fits the bill of close to home and top academics, but I think there's a much better chance of winning consistently and winning big at Notre Dame.