Monday, March 26, 2012

Homegrown Talent in Final Four

We're down to the Final Four teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

I was curious to see how many of the four remaining teams had home-state players in their starting lineups.

Ohio State (31-7) leads the way with three -- guards William Buford of Toledo and Aaron Craft of Findlay, and forward Jared Sullinger of Columbus.  The other starters are guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. of Zion, Ill., and forward Deshaun Thomas of Fort Wayne, Ind.

The other teams don't have homegrown starters although Louisville freshman Chane Behanan, whose hometown is Cincinnati, played his last two seasons at Bowling Green High School in Kentucky. The other starters for the Cardinals (30-9) are guards Peyton Siva of Seattle, Wash., Chris Smith of Millstone, N.J., and Kyle Kuric of Evansville, Ind., and center Gorgui Dieng of Keberner, Sengal.

Kansas (31-6) starts guards Travis Releford of Kansas City, Mo., Elijan Johnson of Las Vegas, and Tyshawn Taylor of Hoboken, N.J., forward Thomas Robinson of Washington, D.C., and center Jeff Withey of San Diego.

And top-ranked Kentucky (36-2) showcases guards Marquis Teague of Indianapolis, Doron Lamb of Queens, N.Y., and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Somerdale, N.J., forward Terrence Jones of Portland, Ore., and center Anthony Davis of Chicago.

As for the entire rosters, Ohio State has six, Kansas has two, Louisville has three, and Kentucky has four homegrown products.

One thing it shows is that national programs recruit on a national level for the most part. Ohio is a populous state so it was fertile recruiting territory for the Ohio State coaching staff. And the Northeast is a hotbed for great players on this year's teams.

Regardless of where the players are from, I'm sure the fans of their respective teams have embraced them as one of their own.

Until the next time...

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