Year after year colleges come to Philadelphia grab the basketball talent and use it to help them become dominant college basketball teams and win NCAA championships? This year Philadelphia basketball players are all over the landscape.
You have Marcus and Markieff Morris at Kansas, as well as Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson and Dion Waiters at Syracuse. Brad Wannamaker is the leader of an outstanding Pitt team. Put those guys on the same team and you might have the NCAA tournament winner.
The Morris twins are big, physical and dominating. They have Kansas Jayhawks going into the tournament as one of the favorites to win the championship.
Markieff stands 6’10” and is well-put together at 245 pounds. He has doubled his scoring output from a year ago with a 13.6 points per game average, while leading the Big 12 in rebounding with a 8.2 average.
” ‘Kieff’ is different,” Self said. “He’s more of a low-post presence. He doesn’t have the perimeter skill set that Marcus has. But he’s not far behind. Everybody talks about Marcus, but Kieff’s improvement has probably been more rapid than Marcus’ has from last year to this year.”
Marcus is the smaller of the two, standing 6’9″ and weighing 235 pounds. He’s a scoring machine with a 17.3 points per game average. He was voted the conference player of the year and there seems to be nothing he can’t do on the court.
“He can do more things on a basketball court than anybody I’ve ever been around,” Self said. “He can post, he score over either shoulder, he can face, he can drive it, he’s a great passer, he can stretch it, he can slide. … He can do a lot of things.”
Jardine is the guy who runs the offense for the Orangemen, as both a playmaker and scorer from the guard position. They’ve got the talent to go all the way. He led the Big East in assists at 6 per game, while also averaging 12.6 points per game.
Jackson is a beast down low for Syracuse. He led the Big East conference in rebounding with 9.9 per game. He averaged 12.6 points and led the conference in blocked shots per game with a 2.8 average.
Philadelphia-native Wannamaker is the floor leader of a Pitt team, which could definitely win it all, if they play the way they’re capable. He does it all and you can see it in his stats. Wannamaker is averaging 11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.5 steals.
Those are some astonishing numbers for one guy to put up. Wannamaker is known for his tough play. They say he’s a Philly guy in a complimentary fashion.
It’s no coincidence that Philadelphia-bred happen to play for the some of best teams in the nation.
Don’t be surprised if one of these Philly guys helps their school win a championship.