I’m a proud graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. I stayed local to study journalism and kick off my sports writing career in College Park. Most of us don’t stay local, though, and DeMatha boasts four exceptional athletes in the thick of March Madness.
Victor Oladipo and Jerian Grant, both of whom graduated with me in 2010, have been instrumental in leading their teams. Oladipo is among the leading candidates for the Naismith College Player of the Year Award. He’s averaged 13.7 points/game and closed out the regular season by scoring 14 while grabbing 13 boards, leading his Hoosiers to a narrow victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Grant has had similar numbers to Oladipo and received national attention when he sparked a late rally against Louisville, scoring 12 points in under thirty seconds to help Notre Dame force overtime. The Irish eventually won in five overtimes and find themselves ranked as the regular season closes.
Down in Durham, Quinn Cook has emerged as Duke’s premier point guard. He was a standout at DeMatha for three seasons before transferring to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior year of high school, following in the footsteps of some of the best ball handlers in recent memory, including former Terrapin Steve Blake.
Unfortunately, my hatred for Duke is the one thing that can overrule my loyalty to all things DeMatha, but it’s impossible to not respect his playmaking ability. Duke will finish the season as a potential NCAA Tournament #1 seed after routing North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Another notable DeMatha grad taking part in the madness is Pittsburgh Freshman James Robinson. His stats don’t look impressive on paper, but he has been getting good playing time and has come through in the clutch down the stretch.
DeMatha has always had a special basketball program, but it seems this latest wave produced by head coach Mike Jones has been especially prepared to immediately contribute at the college level.
Maryland would be wise to start reaching out to DeMatha. The Terps have a lot of talent, but if we had Oladipo, Grant or Cook, we would be one of the nation’s elite teams right now. Robinson would have us competing for a national championship each of the next three years, too. DeMatha produces too much talent for Maryland not to have any of it. We should regularly have at least one DeMatha grad on our roster.
Interestingly enough, Grant and Robinson will be joining Cook in the ACC next season while my Terps will move to Oladipo’s conference no later than the 2014-15 season. The dislike for Notre Dame and Pittsburgh may not be as inbred as my hatred for Duke, but if and when Grant and Robinson visit Comcast Center next year, I will have to root against some of DeMatha’s finest in favor of my Terrapins.
For you other DeMatha grads, especially along the east coast, I’m interested to hear how you react to our former athletes when they show up to play against your university. Does DeMatha trump all, or do you hope they play poorly for that one game?
Follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryPuffett.