Some of the top programs from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area aren’t playing in the NCAA tournament this year, but that doesn’t mean March Madness is devoid of players from the DMV.
Here’s a breakdown of all the players with local ties getting ready for the big dance.
Naji Marshall, a freshman forward for No. 1 seed Xavier (West region), played at Eleanor Roosevelt in Prince George’s County. He led the Raiders to the Maryland 4A state championship in 2016 and earned first-team All Met recognition after his senior season.
After spending last year at Hargrave Military Academy to improve academics, Marshall has appeared in all 33 games, starting 16, as a rookie with the Musketeers. He’s averaging 8.1 points a game on 53.1 percent shooting, as his length and athleticism have translated to the college level and helped Xavier win the Big East regular season title for the first time.
The Musketeers will play the winner of N.C. Central and Texas Southern on Friday at 7:20 p.m.
Allonzo Trier, a junior guard for No. 4 seed Arizona (South region), played his junior season with Montrose Christian, earning first-team All Met honors in 2015-16 and Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year. He helped Montrose Christian to the National Christian Schools Athletic Association Division I title, averaging 24.9 points a game, before transferring to Findlay Prep (Nev.) for his senior year.
This season at Arizona, Trier has started all 32 games he’s played in, averaging 18.4 points a contest, second on the team. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 honoree this season and helped the Wildcats beat USC over the weekend for their second straight conference championship.
Arizona will play Buffalo on Thursday at 9:40 p.m.
Jeff Dowtin, a sophomore guard for No. 7 seed Rhode Island (Midwest region), played for St. John’s. He was a second-team All Met selection as a senior in 2015-16, averaging 15.8 points a game en route to the Cadets winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship for the first time since 2000.
Dowtin, who started 29 of his 30 games, averaging the second-most minutes (32.7) for the Rams, is preparing for his second run in the NCAA tournament. Last season, Rhode Island upset No. 6 seed Creighton behind Dowtin’s 23 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field. He also had five rebounds and no turnovers in 29 minutes.
Rhode Island will play Oklahoma on Thursday at 12:15 p.m.
Chris Lykes, a freshman guard for No. 6 seed Miami (South region), was last year’s All-Met Player of the Year. He led Gonzaga to WCAC, D.C. State Athletic Association and Alhambra Catholic Invitational tournament championships while averaging a team-high 18.6 points per game.
In his debut season for Miami, Lykes has averaged 9.6 points in 21 minutes a game, along with tying for third on the team with 76 assists. He’s used his 5-foot-7 frame to catch spectators off guard and win over Hurricanes fans’ admiration.
Miami will play Loyola-Chicago on Thursday at 3:10 p.m.
Jairus Lyles, a senior guard for No. 16 seed UMBC (South region), hails from DeMatha and played his first year of college basketball at Virginia Commonwealth. But upon transferring to UMBC, he’s climbed up the program’s all-time rankings for several statistics and powered one of the most surprising finishes in a conference tournament the past few weeks.
With 18 points and five steals, he helped the Retrievers win their first postseason game in four years during the America East quarterfinals. Then he hit the game-winning three-pointer in the championship to push the Retrievers past No. 1 seed Vermont and into the NCAA tournament on an automatic bid for the first time in 10 years.
UMBC will play No. 1 overall seed Virginia on Friday at 9:20 p.m.
Other local players in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament include:
No. 1 seed Virginia — Justice Bartley (Montrose Christian) and Nigel Johnson (Riverdale Baptist)
No. 4 seed Arizona — Kory Jones (Westfield)
No. 7 seed Nevada — Corey Henson (DeMatha)
No. 16 UMBC — Ishmail Jabbie (Eleanor Roosevelt) and Brandon Horvath (Southern)
No. 8 seed Virginia Tech — Nick Fullard (St. Mary’s Ryken)
No. 10 seed Butler — Aaron Thompson (Paul VI)
No. 12 Murray State — Anthony Smith (Potomac) and Byron Hawkins (Clinton Christian)
No. 16 (first four) seed LIU Brooklyn — Jamall Robinson (Paul VI)
No. 16 (first four) seed Radford — Ed Polite Jr. (DuVal)
No. 5 seed Clemson — Marcquise Reed (Capitol Christian)
No. 11 (first four) seed Syracuse — Frank Howard (Paul VI)
No. 16 Penn — Jelani Williams (Sidwell Friends) and Eddie Scott (Gonzaga)
No. 16 (first four) seed N.C. Central — Zacarry Douglas (National Christian) and Reggie Gardner Jr. (DeMatha)
No. 10 Providence — Nate Watson (O’Connell)
No. 13 UNC Greensboro — Kylia Sykes (St. John’s)