COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - If you love March Madness and do not have a team to cheer on, you’re in luck! Many former Midlands high school stars are dancing in the field of 68.
My current count has nine Midlands natives earning the chance to dance in the NCAA Tournament.
We begin with Clemson senior Clyde Trapp. The gritty guard out of Lower Richland ranks second on the team this season in assists (59) and rebounds (5.4 rebounds per game).
“People are starting to wake up about South Carolina and Columbia basketball,” said Trapp. “It’s great seeing my friends from home, all those guys, being able to compete at the highest level with the whole world watching. It’s great for our city.”
Next up, sophomore guard Russell Jones Jr. at Winthrop. The former Westwood standout has been part of back-to-back Big South Tournament title teams.
The next trio is the Alabama crew. Columbia natives Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate), Jordan Bruner (Spring Valley), and Kendall Wall (Spring Valley) all earned the SEC championship on Sunday and head to the NCAA Tournament seeking the ultimate prize! Gary scored eight points in 17 minutes in Alabama’s win over the LSU Tigers in the conference title game.
Georgetown center Malcolm Wilson heads to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The former Ridge View enforcer in the middle is in his second season with the Hoyas. Georgetown enters the dance as Big East champions. Wilson has played in eleven games this season.
We keep the ball rolling out west in Southern California. Former Hammond High star, Chevez Goodwin, serves as a key reserve for the Trojans. The senior forward this season averages 5.9 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Moving to the Lone Star State, former A.C. Flora Falcon star, James Reese, leads North Texas to the NCAA Tournament. The senior guard ranks second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg), first in steals (38), and first in made three-point field goals (54).
And Syracuse sophomore forward Robert Braswell has done well down the stretch to propel the ‘Cuse into the field of 68. He scored in double-figures in the last two games.
On the coaching side, former Gamecock standout point guard Michael Boynton heads to the Big Dance. It marks his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with the Cowboys in four seasons. Oklahoma State is a No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region and faces Liberty in the first round.
The NCAA Tournament will entirely take place in Indiana, with the majority of tournament games held in Indianapolis.
If we happened to leave any former local high school stars off the list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.