UM recruit Wiggins shines brightest at Capital Classic

Recent news about the Maryland basketball program hasn’t been too good.

Coach Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins endured a difficult, injury-plagued season that wound up with them missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years.

Once the season ended, three of the team’s top players – Bruno Fernando, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson – declared themelves eligible for the June NBA Draft. Jackson plans to sign with an agent, and will not return. Fernando and Huerter could be back, depending on where they’re projected to be drafted.

Andrew Wiggins, center, poses with fellow Maryland basketball recruits Jalen Smith, left, and Serrel Smith right, following Friday night’s Capital Classic at Catholic University
Andrew Wiggins, center, poses with fellow Maryland basketball recruits Jalen Smith, left, and Serrel Smith right, following Friday night’s Capital Classic at Catholic University (photo by John McNamara).

On Friday night, though, Maryland recruit Andrew Wiggins, a 6-foot-6 swingman, offered offered some hope there may be better days ahead.

Continue reading UM recruit Wiggins shines brightest at Capital Classic

One local product staying put, one moving on, another makes history

During the past week, one local basketball product will be staying put, another will be moving on and yet another made a bit of history.

MarcusDerrickson
Bowie native Marcus Derrickson, who played his high school basketball at Paul VI, has announced he’ll leave Georgetown to enter the NBA Draft.

At Notre Dame University, Mike Brey (Bethesda/DeMatha), the winningest coach the program’s history, has signed a contract extension through the 2024-25 season.

The new deal was in recognition of his body of work, even though injuries derailed what could have been a promising season in 2017-18. The Irish wound up in the NIT, rather than the NCAA Tournament, and finished 21-15. Brey, 59, has taken the Irish to 12 NCAA tournaments in 18 seasons.

“My goal has always been to be good enough to retire as the head coach at Notre Dame,” Brey said in a statement. “It sure looks like I might be able to pull that off with this extension. I am truly honored and humbled to be the head coach at the University of Notre Dame. …

“I’m proud of what our program has achieved in the past 18 years and I could not be more excited about what the future holds.”

Brey is 403-201 at Notre Dame, having surpassed Digger Phelps as the school’s all-time leader in victories earlier this season. Brey, who graduated from DeMatha in 1977, has an overall record of 502-252 in 23 seasons as a Division I head coach.

He also enjoyed a successful five-year stint at Delaware (99–51, two NCAA Tournament trips), which landed him the job at Notre Dame. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach to two of the best in the business – Morgan Wootten at DeMatha and Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

“Mike Brey has built one of the most consistently successful programs in the country,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “And the foundation of that success is a winning culture that develops the members of his teams as both basketball players and young men. He is a perfect fit for Notre Dame and we are excited to have him lead our program well into the future.”

HOYAS’ DERRICKSON MOVING ON: Georgetown forward Marcus Derrickson (Bowie/Paul VI) announced that he’ll enter the NBA draft and hire an agent after three seasons with the Hoyas.

“I will forego my senior year at Georgetown by entering the draft with plans of signing with an agent,” Derrickson wrote in an Instagram post.

Derrickson averaged 15.9 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior for the Hoyas and hit 46.5 of his 101 3-point attempts. Derrickson, who averaged 17.2 points in Big Est play, was Georgetown’s second-leading scorer behind center Jessie Govan. Govan also announced he would enter the draft, but will not sign with an agent, leaving the door open to return to the Hoyas next season.

Derrickson’s announcement came as a surprise; several times during the season, the 6-foot-7 forward said he planned to remain in college for his senior season.

Before coming to Georgetown, Derrickson played for one year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire after spending three years at Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Va. He helped lead Paul VI to two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles.

FULTZ SEEING DOUBLE: Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Markelle Fultz (Upper Marlboro/DeMatha) finished the NBA regular season with a bang, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

Fultz had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 25 minutes after coming off the bench as the Sixers won their 16th straight game, beating Milwaukee in the regular-season finale.

At 19 years and 317 days, Fultz is the first teenager in NBA history to post a triple-double. He’s younger than Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball (20 years, 15 days), who earlier this season took over the claim as the youngest with a triple double. Before Ball, the distinction belonged to Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James (20 years, 20 days).

Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists during the regular season. But a lingering shoulder injury kept him on the sidelines for 68 of the Sizers’ 82 regular season games.

In Fultz’ lone college season at the University of Washington, he averaged 23.2 points per game, the highest scoring average in the Pac-12 in 20 years. He also led the team in minutes played (35.7) and assists per game (5.7). He finished second on the team in rebounds per game (5.9).

Elgin Baylor finally got a statue in L.A. When will D.C. follow suit?

The Los Angeles Lakers unveiled a bronze statue of Elgin Baylor at Staples Center before Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Elgin Baylor, a 10-time NBA All-Star, is the greatest basketball player ever produced in Washington, D.C. Shouldn’t the city have a statue for him?

What took them so long?

The Staples Center has been in existence since 1999; Baylor has been retired since 1971.

Baylor, a Washington, D.C. native, became the sixth Laker to be honored with a statue outside the arena. He joins Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and longtime play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn.

“He was unique. He helped build basketball here. The Lakers wouldn’t be the Lakers without him,” his longtime teammate Jerry West said in a video tribute shown before the unveiling. Continue reading Elgin Baylor finally got a statue in L.A. When will D.C. follow suit?

Forty years ago this week, DeMatha came up with the perfect ending

Forty years ago this week, DeMatha’s basketball team made history.

By that time, Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten had been at the school 20 years and had turned it into the premier high school basketball program in the Washington area, if not the country.

But the Stags had never finished a season unbeaten. That is, not until a 74-64 victory over league rival Mackin in the finals of the Alhambra Invitational Tournament on March 18, 1978.

Wootten art
In 1977-78, DeMatha basketball coach Morgan Wootten directed his first-ever undefeated team.

Continue reading Forty years ago this week, DeMatha came up with the perfect ending

Happy 62nd birthday to DeMatha great Adrian Dantley

Adrian Dantley
While at Dematha, Adrian Dantley was a three-time All-Met selection and helped lead the Stags to four straight No. 1 rankings in the Washington area.

It was a cold winter morning in December of 1969. Schools were on break, with teachers and coaches like DeMatha’s Morgan Wootten happy for a respite from their responsibilities.

This particular morning, Wootten heard a knock on the door of his Hyattsville home. He went to answer it and discovered ninth-grader Adrian Dantley standing on his doorstep. Dantley, then an up-and-coming star for the Stags, wanted to borrow the keys to the DeMatha gym, so he could squeeze in a workout.

Continue reading Happy 62nd birthday to DeMatha great Adrian Dantley

Local product Palmer finds winter in Nebraska to his liking

It’s rare that someone would prefer winter in Lincoln, Nebraska to winter in Miami.

But it worked out for James Palmer, Jr.

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James Palmer, Jr, who played at Henry Wise and St. John’s, is one of the main reasons Nebraska is battling for an NCAA Tournament bid as March approaches

Palmer, an Upper Marlboro native and former standout at St. John’s and Henry A. Wise, started his college career at the University of Miami. The 6-foot-6 wing played sparingly there, averaging about 12 minutes and three points per game for the Hurricanes.

With prospects for playing time looking bleak, Palmer opted to transfer to Nebraska. There, coach Tim Miles has shown a knack for landing transfers from big-time schools like Terran Petteway (Texas Tech), Walter Pitchford (Florida) and Andrew White (Kansas). All flourished at Nebraska and later pursued professional basketball careers of one kind or another.

“Those guys left a trail for me to follow,” Palmer told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star. “That shows a good example of Nebraska getting good transfer players and really developing them.”

Continue reading Local product Palmer finds winter in Nebraska to his liking

50 years ago, Northwestern’s Fox played a game to remember

Harold Fox
Harold Fox, a three-time All-Met selection from Northwestern High School, played his college ball at Jacksonville.

Was it the greatest single-game performance in the history of D.C. area high school basketball?

It just might be.

Fifty years ago this week, Harold Fox, a 6-foot-1 guard at Northwestern High School, pumped in 64 points in a wild 103-87 victory over Oxon Hill. Fox, a senior, connected on 29 of 44 shots, pouring in 28 points in the final quarter – 41 in the second half.

At the time, only one local high school player had ever scored more in a game –­ Mount Vernon’s Marty Lentz, who erupted for 74 points against Stuart during the 1960-61 season.

In terms of points, Fox’s game would have to rank among the best. But he didn’t limit himself to just scoring that night. According to The Washington Post account of the game, Fox was credited with 15 rebounds and 13 assists as well. Continue reading 50 years ago, Northwestern’s Fox played a game to remember