The NCAA basketball tournament, known affectionately as “March Madness” will have two local performers participating this year.
Former St. Anthony standout Kyle Anderson will lead UCLA into the tourney, while former St. Peter’s Prep star Ronald Roberts will be the top performer for St. Joseph’s of Philadelphia, as the Hawks move into the tourney.
Anderson, named the Most Valuable Player in the Pac-12 Tournament by virtue of his brilliant 21-point, 12-rebound performance in the tourney title game against Arizona last Saturday night, will lead the Bruins into the tourney in the South Regional in San Diego against Tulsa.
Anderson has been flawless in his play this season, taking advantage of his 6-foot-9 frame as a point guard. He’s playing much like he did when he was in high school with the Friars, earning Hudson Reporter Player of the Year twice and earning McDonald’s All-American status as a senior.
Anderson was clearly upset by the way he was used last season by former coach Ben Howland, but is now flourishing under Steve Alford.
Anderson flirted with the idea of leaving college early and making himself eligible for the NBA Draft last year, but decided to return to school. It turned out to be the wisest decision Anderson could have made, because the North Bergen native has now catapulted himself up the rankings as a pro prospect.
It’s still a little early to speculate whether Anderson will leave school this year after his breakthrough year, but if he does, the prospects look so much better. Anderson is also one of the top 15 finalists for the John Wooden Award as college basketball’s top player. That alone says how much he’s improved. Winning the MVP of the Pac-12 tourney and a ranking among the top 15 players in all of college basketball? That says it all.
Roberts will lead the surprising Hawks, winners of the Atlantic 10 Tournament title, into the NCAA Tourney, where they will square off against the University of Connecticut.
Roberts was named All-Atlantic 10 and earned a berth on the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament team, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. Roberts, a native of Bayonne, has certainly developed his game while under the tutelage of Phil Martelli at St. Joseph’s.
Roberts’ development is almost eerily similar to the development of former St. Anthony product Ahmad Nivins during his days with the Hawks.
So as you watch the NCAA Tourney this weekend, remember the two locals who will be key contributors for their respective teams…
Former Hudson Reporter Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year Breana Bey is currently flourishing for Monroe College of New York.
Bey, the former Lincoln standout, scored 25 points in the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II District N tournament, enabling Monroe to earn a place in the NJCAA national championships in Overland Park, Kansas next week. It’s the 11th straight trip to the NJCAA nationals for Monroe…
New Jersey City University outfielder and former St. Peter’s Prep baseball standout Michael Martucci had two distinctions take place last week. Martucci not only collected the 100th hit of his collegiate career, but he was also selected as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Week…
Yes, that is a baseball note. The snow is rapidly melting and with spring practices able to begin the first week of March, it means that the local teams can actually take to the diamonds. So throw away the shovels and get the bats out. Spring is coming, faster than you think. And after the winter we’ve endured, we all need it. The high school baseball and softball seasons begin April 1. …
Heavyweight boxing contender Tomasz Adamek, who used to live in Jersey City and still trains at the World Boxing Gym in downtown, lost a tough decision to former sparring partner Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov at the Sands Resort and Casino in Bethlehem, Pa.
The 37-year-old Adamek, who now owns a 49-3 professional record, was looking to get another shot at the world heavyweight championship, but now looks like he might be headed toward retirement…-Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.