March Madness is more than just the NCAA Tournament as Marquette recruits Vander Blue, D. J. Newbill and Jae Crowder surely know.
Crowder, the 6'6" forward, led the Howard College Hawks to the 2010 NJCAA National Championship over the weekend. In the title game the Hawks overcame a 10 point deficit and needed overtime to top Three Rivers Community College (Mo.), 85-80. Crowder finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds in the title game and as was named to the all-tournament team. Crowder will fit right in at MU -- in the NJCAA title game he was matched up against a seven-footer.
The Hawks finished with a gaudy 33-2 record and returned home to a celebration on campus. The comeback kids could not be stopped at Hutch this year -- realize the Hawks overcame a 16 point deficit in the semifinals to advance.
Turning to high school recruits, 6'4" Vander Blue led his Madison Memorial Spartans (23-5) to the state title game over the weekend but they failed to repeat as champions, falling 72-51 to Hartland Arrowhead. Blue struggled on 4-15 shooting from the field, winding up with eight points in the title game. The MU commit also finished with eight boards, seven steals and six assists. Madison Memorial appeared in the state tournament seven years in a row, winning the title in 2005 and 2009 and finishing in second place in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Blue talked about the end of his high school career after the game. Also, Mark Miller offered an honest perspective on Blue's journey at Memorial.
Blue was a unanimous choice for first-team all-state but was not named Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball. Despite the loss and the snub, Blue's talents continue to draw national attention. Blue recently accepted an invitation to attend the 2010 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team Training Camp. The USA U18 National Team will compete in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio in late June.
At Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion High School D.J. Newbill is drawing rave reviews from opposing coaches as he leads his team through the state tournament. In the state quarterfinals Strawberry Mansion topped Holy Cross 59-55 behind Newbill's 19 points. Strawberry Mansion takes on Imhotep Charter in a Class AA semifinal on Wednesday evening.
"My coach said he wanted me to be more aggressive scoring," said Newbill, who averages 25 points per game but had settled for 15 in Mansion's 61-54 second-round win over St. Pius X on Wednesday while spreading the ball around. "If it's open, I'm going to take [the shot]. I'm not going to force shots."
This video showcases Newbill's performance in the win over Holy Cross.
Strawberry Mansion takes on Imhotep Charter in a Class AA semifinal on Wednesday evening. Newbill has been clutch throughout the season -- check out this game winner from earlier in the campaign.