The further you get away from the 2009-10 DeMatha basketball team, the better it looks.
That year, the Stags were their typically excellent selves, going 32-4 en route to a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title and a victory over Ballou in the City Title Game at Verizon Center.
The Mike Jones-coached Stags lost only to national powers Mater Dei (California) and St. Anthony’s (New Jersey) and twice to league rival Gonzaga. The second loss to Gonzaga came in the finals of the season-ending Alhambra Catholic tournament at Frostburg State.
Through the years, DeMatha’s had a host of 30-win seasons and league championships under both head coach Morgan Wootten and Mike Jones, a former player at DeMatha.
The school’s basketball has been so consistently good, it’s difficult to make comparisons between one team or one era and another.
But as time goes on, the collection of talent Jones had at his disposal looks more and more impressive.
On Thursday, Jerian Grant, a member of the 2009-10 Stags, was selected 19th overall by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA Draft. He was almost immediately sent to the New York Knicks as part of a three-way trade that also involved the Atlanta Hawks. Grant was an All-American this past season at Notre Dame, averaging 16 points and six assists per game.
He becomes the third player off that particular DeMatha team to get drafted. Two years ago, Ex-Stag Victor Oladipo went second overall to the Orlando Magic. Last year, Grant’s brother Jerami, went in the second round to the Philadelphia 76ers. He, too, played at DeMatha in 2009-10.
Oladipo averaged 17.9 points in 72 games with the Magic, while Grant averaged 6.3 points in 63 games with the Sixers.
Jerian Grant seems likely to join them as an NBA regular. The Knicks are rebuilding after a 15-win season in 2014-15, which means Grant will at the very least be given a chance to show what he can do in training camp. He could even start, given the dearth of talent on the New York roster.
And the parade of players off that DeMatha team may not be over.
The most decorated player off that team in high school was point guard Quinn Cook, who was The Washington Post’s high school Player of the Year that season.
All Cook did in his senior year at Duke was average 15.3 points per game in helping the Blue Devils win the NCAA championship. Cook didn’t get drafted, but given his talent and pedigree, it seems likely he’ll get asked to play on somebody’s summer league squad and possibly get an invitation to training camp this fall.
Two more DeMatha players off that team are poised to draw NBA interest next spring with strong seasons in the college basketball season just ahead. Pitt senior guard James Robinson is the top returning assist man (5.1) in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while N.C. State junior forward/center BeeJay Anya has the kind of size (6-foot-9) and shot-blocking ability (91 last season) that intrigues NBA personnel types.