Brey has Irish Eyes Smiling

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Mike Brey

Don’t look now, but Mike Brey’s Notre Dame basketball team sits atop what may be the best conference in college basketball.

Nobody should be surprised by this.
It’s the sort of thing the former DeMatha point guard/assistant coach has been doing for a decade and half, ever since he took over the basketball fortunes of the Irish.

Yet somehow – perhaps because of the school’s geographic isolation from its rivals in the Big East and now the Atlantic Coast Conference – Brey’s accomplishments seem to be perpetually overlooked.

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Make 2017 a Banner Year for Adrian Branch

The University of Maryland athletic department announced this week that it will unveil a banner honoring former basketball coach Lefty Driesell before the Feb. 11 home game against Ohio State.

The move is long overdue. Driesell put Maryland on the college basketball map in the 1970s, raising the program to the point where it could compete against the best.

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Adrian Branch

Now that the athletic department has addressed this oversight, I’ve got another suggestion. How about school officials also raise a banner for ex-player Adrian Branch?

In the early 1980s, Branch helped Driesell accumulate 82 victories from 1981-85, a healthy chunk of the 348 wins Driesell amassed during his 17 years in College Park.

It’s not like Branch isn’t deserving. He’s the only 2,000-point scorer in school history whose jersey number doesn’t hang from the ceiling.

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DeMatha’s Fultz a fabulous freshman

marquelle-fultzThe new college basketball season is still taking shape. As a result, it’s difficult to draw many definitive conclusions based on what’s happened so far. After all, preseason No.1 Duke has already lost once; perennial power Michigan State has lost three times.

One of the few certainties in this still-young season is this: Upper Marlboro native and DeMatha grad Markelle Fultz is playing as well as any freshman in the country. Through the first five games of his college career at the University of Washington, Fultz is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

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Private schools dominate local basketball courts

Congratulations go out to DeMatha’s Markelle Fultz and Paul VI’s V.J. King, who were recently named to the McDonald’s All-America team. This year marks the first time in nine yars that the Washington area has had two representatives on the prestigious squad.

The teams Fultz and King play for are doing well this year, too. DeMatha is 16-3 and ranked No. 1 this week, although that should change after the Stags’ loss to league rival Gonzaga. Paul VI is a more modest 12-7 and ranked 18th.

Both players – along with standout  St. John’s guard Anthony Cowan – are ranked among the ESPN’s top 100 high school prospects in that latest rankings. Fultz is No. 10, King is No. 26 and the Maryland-bound Cowan is No. 69.

These numbers once again point up the oustanding caliber of basketball played in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the private school league that includes the area’s top three teams, according to the Washington Post (DeMatha, St. John’s and Gonzaga), as well as four of the top nine overall.

Fans of the WCAC can rightfully claim their league as one of the best – if not the best – in the county, year in and year out.

That’s all well and good. But does it bother anybody – other than me – that  more and more, the private schools are the only ones that really matter during high school basketball season?

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