The Greater Washington D.C., Maryland and Baltimore areas have long produced some of the best college basketball talent. Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Reggie Williams, Ty Lawson, Delonte West, Rudy Gay, Grant Hill, Tommy Amaker, Johnny Dawkins, Len Bias, Elgin Baylor, Juan Dixon, Dave Bing and Sherman Douglas are just a small sample of the many legendary names to make an impact in the NCAA.
Folks in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia) take a collective pride in the great basketball talent that is produced there. The Villanova Wildcats, the city of Philadelphia and the overall university community and alumni might still be celebrating their amazing 77-74, last-second win over North Carolina in the national championship, but so are folks in Baltimore, D.C. and Maryland.
Between the Wildcats and the Tar Heels, who were clearly the two most dominant teams in March Madness this year, five players from the area played big roles in their team’s success.
Kris Jenkins, from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, hit the game-winning shot for Villanova, a piece of nostalgic currency that will forever ensure that he never has to pay for a cheese steak for the rest of his life.
He scored 18 points and had eight rebounds in the Final Four win over Oklahoma, and became a NCAA Tournament hero with the final three of his 14 points against North Carolina. Jenkins attended Gonzaga College High School in Northwest, D.C.
Most people were touched when they heard about the relationship that Jenkins had with brother from another mother, Nate Britt, who happened to be playing against him in the national championship as a key reserve for North Carolina.
Britt, a mercurial floor general, is a role player who excels at pressuring opponents on the defensive end for the Tar Heels. Britt and Jenkins consider themselves to be brothers, as Kris moved into the Nate’s home and lived with the Britt family during his high school years.
The two were teammates at Gonzaga College High School until Britt finished up his senior year at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Villanova forward Daniel Ochefu was born and grew up in Baltimore before his family moved to Nigeria for a few years. When Ochefu returned to the United States, he attended the Westtown School and Downington East High School in the Philadelphia area, but he proudly claims his Bmore roots.
In the Final Four, he scored 10 points and had six rebounds. Against UNC in the title game, he scored nine points, had six rebounds and blocked two shots.
Josh Hart, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, attended the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Known more for its academics and as the school where Sasha and Malia Obama attend, Hart proved that Sidwell will now be known for more than just presidential kids (Chelsea Clinton went there as well).
He scored 23 points and had eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s Final Four win over Oklahoma, and followed that up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national championship win.
And last but not least, Baltimore’s Phil Booth, who attended Mount Saint Joseph High School, was the surprise player in Villanova’s championship run. Booth scored 10 points and had five steals in the Final Four, and led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points in the title game.
A lot of cities and areas brag about the great players they produce, but no one can say they did it as big this year in college basketball than the DMV.