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2024 NCAA Tournament: CoBL-Area Alumni to Watch (Men's)

03/19/2024, 10:30am EDT
By Owen McCue

By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

The 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament tips off with two play-in games Tuesday night. As usual there's plenty of local talent in the 68-team field, even without a local squad in the bracket. Here are the CoBL-Area products to look out for in the tournament this week:

Al Amadou (Fr. | Marquette)
The former Springside Chestnut Hill Academy big man has seen limited minutes in his first season at Marquette, appearing in six games. Amadou and the Golden Eagles will face Western Kentucky in their opener Friday afternoon.

Alex Capitano (Sr. | Colgate)
Capitano’s one of three local products who have had quite the run at Colgate. The Episcopal Academy product has seen action in 20 games over his four seasons, including one this year, and after winning a fourth straight Patriot League championship will be back in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time.

Christian Bliss (Fr. | Virginia)
After two seasons at the George School, which included a run to the PAISAA title game, Bliss re-classified to join the Cavaliers a year early this offseason. He’s been out all season with a foot injury, but will get to witness the tournament as a freshman.

Jack Clark (Gr. | Clemson)
Clark came out of Cheltenham in 2019-20 and spent his first four seasons at La Salle, which included a medical redshirt in 2020-21. He transferred to NC State last season and made the NCAA Tournament. In his third and final college stop, the 6-10 forward will make a second straight appearance in March Madness. Clark is averaging 4.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg for Clemson and has started the last 10 games he’s played heading into Friday’s first-round game against New Mexico.

Ryan Dunn (Soph. | Virginia)
Dunn did a prep year at Perkiomen School before arriving at Virginia last season. He’s had a breakout sophomore campaign, averaging 8.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.3 bpg and being recognized as a top defensive player. Dunn and the Cavs are back in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, facing Colorado State in a play-in game Tuesday night.

Imhotep product Justin Edwards is averaging 8.7 ppg as a freshman at Kentucky. (Photo: Gavin Bethell/CoBL)

Justin Edwards (Fr. | Kentucky)
The heralded recruit out of Imhotep Charter has started 29 of 31 games for the Wildcats this season as a freshman, averaging 8.7 ppg and 3.5 rpg. He popped off for a career-high 28 points against Alabama on Feb. 24, going for double figures in four of his last six games. Kentucky will take on Oakland on Friday night.

Jalen Gaffney (Sr. | Florida Atlantic)
After a trip to the Final  Four with the Owls last season, the Westtown product returned to help FAU back in the tournament this season as a No. 8 seed — one line higher than last year — facing Northwestern on Friday. He’s averaging 5.8 ppg and 2.5 apg, playing in all 33 games (18 starts) in his second season since transferring from UConn.

Thomas Haugh (Fr. | Florida)
The 6-foot-9 freshman surged as a prospect before his final season at Perkiomen School, when he helped the Panthers win their first PAISAA title. He’s carved out a role off the bench for the Gators in year one, averaging 3.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 35 games. Haugh and the Gators play Friday against Boise State/Colorado.

Trey Hicks (Jr. | Longwood)
Hicks, who finished his high school career at the Hill School, hasn’t seen much action during his first three college seasons, but he’ll make his second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years when the Lancers face Houston on Friday. He saw his first action of the season in the Big South championship game.

Michigan State senior AJ Hoggard is coming off a Sweet 16 trip last season. (Photo: Michigan State Athletics)

A.J. Hoggard (Sr. | Michigan State)
Hoggard, a Coatesville native who played his first two high school seasons at Archbishop Carroll, is in his fourth year with the Spartans and his second as a starter. He’s averaging 11.0 ppg, 5.2 apg and has 49 steals this season and was an All-Big 10 honorable mention. This is Hoggard’s fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in four years under coach Tom Izzo, making the Sweet 16 last season. The Spartans will face Mississippi State on Thursday.

Elmarko Jackson (Fr. | Kansas)
Jackson starred at ANC before finishing his preps career at South Kent last season and earning McDonald’s All-American honors before joining the Jayhawks. Jackson has seen his role fluctuate in his first year at Kansas averaging 4.1 ppg in 18.6 mpg heading into Thursday night’s first-round game against Samford.

Seamus McDermott (Fr. | Duquesne)
McDermott played under legendary Holy Ghost Prep coach Tony Chapman in his final season last year. Now, the walk-on will be part of Dukes coach Keith Dambbrot’s final years as Atlantic-10 Tournament champion Duquesne makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1977. The Dukes face BYU in one of the early games Thursday.

Ryan Moffatt (5th | Colgate)
Moffatt had a terrific career at Hempfield before doing at postgrad year at Hill School and heading to Colgate, where all he’s done is win five straight Patriot League championships. Moffatt averaged 10.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg this season for the Raiders, earning second team All-Patriot League honors on the way to a fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Rahmir Moore (Sr. | Wagner)
The Philadelphia native was projected to be one of Wagner’s best players this season, but a fractured wrist has kept him out since Nov. 14 and will continue to sideline him during the team’s March Madness run. Moore began his high school career at Mastery Charter before spending his senior year at Rise Prep in Ontario and playing his first two college seasons at St. Joe’s. The Eagles tip-off against Howard in Dayton on Monday night.

Haverford School product Jameer Nelson Jr. is headed back to the NCAA Tournament with TCU. (Photo: TCU Athletics)

Jameer Nelson Jr. (Sr. | TCU)
The Haverford School product and son of a former St. Joe’s star will finish up his career with his second NCAA Tournament appearance. Nelson Jr. played two years at George Washington, starred for two seasons at Delaware and averaged 11.3 ppg and 3.3 apg in the Big 12 this season after transferring to TCU. He’s started in 10 straight games heading into Friday’s first round game against Utah State.

Marcus Randolph (Jr. | Saint Peter’s)
Randolph was on a Richmond team that won an NCAA Tournament game in 2021-22 and now returns to the Big Dance in his first season with the Peacocks after transferring this summer. The former Archbishop Wood star has averaged 6.4 ppg in 34 games (18 starts) for Saint Peter’s, earning a spot in the starting five over the last 12 games that included a MAAC championship run. The Peacocks play Tennessee on Thursday.

Blake Smith (Soph. | Northwestern)
The Germantown Academy product saw just two total minutes of game time before Feb. 18. However, with the Wildcats down a few players, Smith seems to have carved out a role, seeing extended action in Northwestern’s last seven games, including a pair of starts. He scored a career-high 11 points March 2 against Iowa. Smith should get a good run on the floor Friday against Florida Atlantic after watching both of the Wildcats’ NCAA games from the bench last season.

Jeff Woodward (Sr. | Colgate)
Woodward, who will still have a season of eligibility after this year, has gone four-for-four in tournament appearances during his college career, helping Colgate win a fifth straight Patriot League title this season.. The 6-foot-11 forward from Methacton is averaging 7.2 ppg and 4.2 rpg and has found a way to thrive off the bench as of late for the Raiders, reaching double figures in four of their last six games. They will play Baylor on Friday.

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