NCAA Tournament: Rashad Whack, BeeJay Anya lead D.C. area players into First Four


DeMatha alumnus and N.C. State freshman BeeJay Anya is one of eight D.C. area players featured in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The NCAA Tournament officially gets underway Tuesday and as is the case almost every year, the Washington area is represented well on a number of the 68 men’s college basketball teams that made the field.

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We’ll first take a look at the D.C. area players competing in the First Four games on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a broader look Thursday once the field is whittled down to 64 teams.

N.C. STATE (vs. Xavier at 9:40 p.m. Tuesday on TruTV)
BeeJay Anya, Fr. (DeMatha)
After earning first-team All-Met honors as a junior and senior at DeMatha, Anya has used his big body to make an impact off the bench in his first year with the Wolfpack, averaging 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in 31 games this season.

Lennard Freeman, Fr. (St. John’s)
Freeman averaged 9.7 points as a junior for St. John’s before playing his final year of high school at Oak Hill Academy. The forward has started 11 games for the Wolfpack and averaged 4.4 points as a freshman.

MOUNT ST. MARY’S (vs. Albany at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday on TruTV)
Byron Ashe, Fr. (Friendship Collegiate)
Ashe shined as a senior at Friendship with an average of 20 points to earn first-team All-Capital Beltway honors. As a freshman for the Mountaineers, Ashe is averaging 7.2 points and has started 14 of the 30 games in which he’s played.

Charles Glover, Fr. (Gonzaga)
Glover had a breakout season as a senior at Gonzaga, averaging 11.9 points to lead help the Eagles to an undefeated record in WCAC regular-season play and earn a spot on the All-Met fourth team. He has yet to play in a game as a freshman at Mount St. Mary’s.

Gregory Graves, So. (Potomac Falls)
The swingman was named third-team All-Met and Virginia AA Division 4 Player of the Year at Potomac Falls following the 2011-12 season. His playing time has increased as a sophomore for the Mountaineers this year, and he’s averaging 6.7 points while starting four of the 32 games in which he’s appeared.

Maalik Howard, Fr. (Potomac)
Howard served as Potomac’s defensive stalwart last season and averaged 10 points a game. As a freshman this year, he has played in 16 games but has yet to score.

Will Lyle, So. (Pallotti)
Played a key role in advancing Pallotti to the MIAA-B championship game with an average of eight points and 10 rebounds. In 13 games as a sophomore at Mount St. Mary’s, Lyle is averaging 0.5 points and 0.4 rebounds.

Rashard Whack, Sr. (McNamara)
The sharpshooter broke the school record for three-pointers and earned second-team All-Met honors as a senior at McNamara in 2007-08. After playing two years at George Mason, Wack transferred to Mount St. Mary’s, where he’s led the team in scoring the past two seasons. This year, Wack is scoring 17.7 points and pulling down 4.4 rebounds.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 2
Times in the last three seasons that Paul VI boys’ basketball team has finished atop The Post final Top 20 rankings. The Panthers achieved the feat this year by winning the WCAC, VISAA Division I and Alhambra Invitational championships.

BREAKFAST LINKS
– The Riverdale Baptist girls’ basketball team finished atop the girls’ basketball Top 20 final rankings after winning the National Association of Christian Athletes Championship and earning a spot in next month’s Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Tournament. It’s the fifth time in the last six years that the Crusaders have finished the season No. 1.

– National Cathedral junior guard Marta Sniezek, the area’s leading scorer for two years running, was named Gatorade D.C. girls’ basketball Player of the Year.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Fill out your brackets and take part in The Washington Post Bracket Challenge. The winner takes home a midweek sports package for four at the Wintergreen Resort.

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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