The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is known for producing Division I talent. Most of the top teams in the conference feature players from the conference. This years NCAA Tournament will have it’s fair share of players that played high school basketball in the WCAC. Here is a look at some of the players.
Kris Jenkins, Forward
High School: Gonzaga College High School (DC)
Junior Kris Jenkins is having a breakout season, averaging 13.8 points per game. It’s a major step up from last year when he scored 6.3 points per contest. The 6 foot 6 forward is also shooting 37 percent from the three point line. Jenkins scored a career high 31 points against DePaul on Mar. 1 and 23 points in the Big East Championship game against Seton Hall.
During his time with Gonzaga, Jenkins a two-time WCAC and DC Gatorade Player of the Year. He was named Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year. That same year, Kris averaged 18.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.3 steals a game. As a junior, Jenkins scored 20.4 points and collected 10.4 rebounds a game.
Besides Kris Jenkins, Villanova has three players from the Maryland area but they didn’t play in the WCAC. The most notable one is guard Josh Hart who went to Sidwell Friends. The Wildcats are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will play UNC Asheville in the first round.
Melo Trimble, Guard
High School: Bishop O’Connell (VA)
In just two seasons playing college basketball, the former Bishop O’Connell standout has become one of the top guards in the nation. Trimble started the 2015-16 season strong but has struggled as of late. Despite that, it’s been another good year for Melo. He is averaging 14.1 points and 5.1 assist per game. He tallied a season high 25 points against UConn on Dec. 8. He finished with 21 points and made the game winning three point basket against Wisconsin on Jan. 9. Trimble was named Second Team All-Big Ten.
While playing for Joe Wootten and O’Connell during his high school days, Melo was the 29th best player in the country and the No. 1 player in Maryland according to ESPN. The McDonald’s All-American scored a career high 47 points against Gonzaga in his senior year and was the Washington Post All-Metro Player of the Year in 2014.
Melo looks to help the fourth seed Maryland past South Dakota State in the first round of the tournament.
James Robinson, Guard
High School: DeMatha Catholic High School (MD)
Pittsburgh point guard James Robinson isn’t going to blow you away with amazing scoring ability or ball handling. But he will get the job done. During his time as a Panther, Robinson has been teams most efficient player. This year, James is averaging 10. 3 points and 5.1 assists per game.
He registered 12 points and made two clutch baskets in Pittsburgh win over Syracuse in the ACC Tournament. Robinson tallied 14 points and seven assist in the Panthers win over Duke on Feb. 28. Robinson is the ACC Leader in career assist to turnover ratio and ranks among the Pitt all-time scoring leaders.
James is the all-time winningest player in DeMatha basketball history with 120 career wins. He led the Stags to three WCAC titles, three City Championships, and two Alhambra titles. He averaged 11.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists as a senior and was named First Team All-Met.
Pittsburgh is the No. 10 seed in the tournament and will play No. 7 Wisconsin in the first round Mar. 18.
Franklin Howard, Guard
High School: Paul VI (VA)
Syracuse freshman Franklin Howard didn’t do too much during his first year with the Orange as he is only averaging 1.6 points per game. But he has a lot of potential to be a good player over the years.
In high school, Howard was named First Team All-WCAC as a sophomore and a senior. He missed his entire junior season due to a knee injury. It made a big comeback the following season, averaging 16.6 points per game and scored in double digits in 14 straight games.
The No. 10 seed Syracuse will face No. 7 Dayton in the opening round of the tournament.
James Palmer, Forward
High School: St. John’s College High School (DC)
James Palmer is averaging 3.7 points per game which ties his season totals from last year. Palmer scored in double figures twice this season. He had 14 points against Mississippi State on Nov. 19, and 11 points when the Hurricanes played UT Rio Grande on Nov. 13.
Palmer was the No.1 player in Washington, DC according to ESPN and scored 15.7 points per game during his final year with St. John’s. As a junior, James averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and two assist per game. Miami will take on Buffalo in game one of the NCAA Tournament.
Nate Britt, Guard
College: North Carolina
High School: Gonzaga College High School (DC) & Oak Hill Academy (VA)
Coming off the bench, Nate Britt is scoring 5.7 points a game. He had a season high 17 points when North Carolina played Fairfield and Davidson. In the Fairfield game, Britt knocked down four three pointers.
Nate played three seasons for Steve Turner and Gonzaga before transferring to Oak Hill Academy. Britt was named First Team All-WCAC his sophomore year and second team as a junior. In 2011, he averaged 13.5 points, 5.2 assists, four rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game and was named DC Gatorade Player of the Year.
North Carolina is the No. 1 seed in this years tournament and they will square off against Florida Golf Coast or Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round.
Ibn Muhammad, Guard
High School: Bishop McNamara High School (MD)
Iona guard Ibn Muhammad has filled in the role as the Gaels starting point guard since Schadrac Casimir is out with an injury. He averaged 5.2 points per game and scored a career high 15 points twice this season. Muhammad not known for being a scorer but a leader on the court.
The Gaels will face Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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