NCAA Tournament: 9 homegrown players headed to The Big Dance
The Hudson Valley will be well-represented at the NCAA Tournament.
Not only are the Iona Gales making their second consecutive appearance at March Madness, nine homegrown players -- that we are aware of, anyway -- are also going to The Big Dance.
Here’s a quick look at them:
Sean Kilpatrick, G, Cincinnati
The former White Plains High star is the most accomplished of our locally bred players in the tournament. Kilpatrick leads the Bearcats in scoring (16.9 points per game) and is second in rebounding (5.2 per game). Cincinnati, the 10th seed in the Midwest bracket, will play seventh-seeded Creighton on Friday in Philadelphia.
Jordan Henriquez, F, Kansas State
The former Port Chester Ram might represent the Hudson Valley’s best bet to reach the Final Four. The Wildcats are the fourth seed and will play Friday in Kansas City, Mo., against the winner of the Boise State-La Salle play-in game. Henriquez is averaging 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game in his senior season.
Tavon Sledge, G, Iona
Although he played his high school ball on Long Island, Sledge, a Spring Valley native, is the Gaels’ only homegrown player. The Iowa State transfer is averaging 5.6 points and 3.2 assists a game for 15th-seeded Iona, which plays Ohio State, the second seed in the West bracket, Friday in Dayton, Ohio.
Isaiah Cousins, G, Oklahoma
The freshman from Mount Vernon is averaging 15.7 minutes and 2.5 points per game. Oklahoma, the 10th seed in the South, will face seventh-seeded San Diego State on Friday in Philadelphia.
Dante Taylor, F, Pittsburgh
Taylor is a Greenburgh native who played his high school ball at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Md., the same school that produced basketball standouts Patrick Ewing Jr., Kevin Durant and Deron Washington. Taylor, whom Greenburgh recognized as a “native son” in 2009, is averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds per game. Pittsburgh, the eighth seed in the West, will face ninth-seeded Wichita State on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Cleanthony Early, F, Wichita State
Taylor won’t be the only Hudson Valley native on the floor when his Panthers play the Shockers. Early, a Middletown native and Sullivan County Community College transfer, leads Wichita State with 13.6 points per game. He attended Pine Bush and Mount Zion (N.C.) high schools.
Terry Brutus, F, Mississippi
The former Spring Valley High homecoming king has been coming off the bench for the Rebels as a freshman. He is averaging 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds. Ole Miss, the West bracket’s 12th seed, will play fifth-seeded Wisconsin on Friday in Kansas City.
Reece Williams, G, Albany
The Woodlands High product has played sparingly as a freshman, seeing action in just three games. The Great Danes, the 15th seed in the Midwest, will take on powerhouse Duke, the second seed, Friday in Philadelphia.
Matt Lyde-Cajuste, F, Syracuse
The former Iona Prep standout is averaging just two minutes per game with the Orange. Syracuse, the fourth seed in the East, will face Montana, the 13th seed, Thursday in San Jose, Calif. Though Lyde-Cajuste’s lack of playing time isn't a good indication that an NBA career is in his future, don’t feel too sorry for him: He has plenty of academic accolades to fall back on and is majoring in aerospace engineering.