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.
On Friday night, though, Maryland recruit Andrew Wiggins, a 6-foot-6 swingman, offered offered some hope there may be better days ahead.
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.
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).
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.
It’s rare that someone would prefer winter in Lincoln, Nebraska to winter in Miami.
But it worked out for James Palmer, Jr.
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.”
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.
Fifty years ago this week, Washington’s sports pages were full of stories on the Green Bay Packers’ recent Super Bowl II victory over the Oakland Raiders.
In sports news closer to home, local basketball fans were starting to notice a kid named Jim O’Brien, who kept showing up in the Stuart High School boxscores with 20 or 30 points to his credit. The rail-thin, 6-foot-7 redhead averaged 17.8 points per game as a sophomore on a team that finished just 11-10.
But by January of 1968, O’Brien had shifted his game into a different gear. He’d had a 42-point, 29-rebound game against rival Falls Church to open the 1967-68 season – a stunning statistical achievement in a 32-minute high school game.
For years, a string of Notre Dame football coaches has tried to duplicate the sustained success of the program’s glory days.
Notre Dame’s basketball program, meanwhile, doesn’t have that problem.
Mike Brey has seen to that.
The Bethesda native and former DeMatha point guard, now in his 18th season as head coach of the Irish, became the all-time winningest coach in Notre Dame basketball history on Wednesday night, thanks to an 88-58 victory over North Carolina State. That triumph gave him 394 victories at Notre Dame, pushing him past the 393 wins accumulated by Richard “Digger” Phelps, who coached at the school from 1971-91.
In a nice gesture, Phelps was even on hand in South Bend the other night to hand Brey the game ball after the final buzzer.
South Lakes High School in Reston recently retired Grant Hill’s No. 32 jersey. Nobody who plays basketball for the Seahawks will wear that number again.
And with good reason; Hill was one of the best basketball players Northern Virginia ever produced.
He played 18 seasons in the NBA and was a seven-time all-star. He averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists during his career. But he really made his mark in his first six seasons, before injuries limited his game. In his first six seasons, the multi-talented Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.
By the time he decided to quit, Hill had done well enough in business and with his investments to become part of a group that bought the Atlanta Hawks for an estimated $800 million in 2015.