NCAA Tournament 2018: 21 players with Philadelphia ties to watch during March Madness
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the Xavier Musketeers in the first half of a game at Cintas Center on February 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The 2018 NCAA Tournament tips off Tuesday night with the “first four” games and Thursday night in earnest with the first round. Philadelphia is known for its quality basketball scene, and it’s well-represented on the national stage with the likes of Ja’Quan Newton, Mo Bamba, Mikal Bridges and more taking their turn on the national stage.
Here are 21 players with Philly ties — the 21st is from a little bit more outside of the city — to watch in the tournament.
Texas forward Mohamed Bamba (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Austin, Texas. Kansas won 67-64.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Rustin Alum Justin Ammerman. #PROUDCOACH “Don’t Let Others Decide Your Destination: pic.twitter.com/hTZigaQjWM
— Rustin BBall (@RustinBBall) September 15, 2017
High school: West Chester Rustin
2017-18 stats: 0.4 points per game in 7 games
Ammerman is in his first year of college action as a walk-on after spending the 2016-17 season as a team manager. He averaged 4.0 points per game in 23 games as a senior at Rustin. No. 8-seed Virginia Tech faces No. 9-seed Alabama on Thursday night.
Mohamed Bamba #4 of the Texas Longhorns dunks the basketball during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on January 31, 2018 at United Supermarket Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Texas 73-71 in overtime. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
High school: Westtown
2017-18 stats: 12.9 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 3.7 blocks per game
Bamba was one of the most sought after recruits in the country in the Class of 2017, and he’s lived up to his billing as a 6-foot-11 game-changer at Texas. He put together an impressive list of season-best marks with 25 points against Ole Miss, 18 rebounds against Oklahoma and eight blocks against Kansas. He figures to be one of the first players off the board in the 2018 NBA Draft. No. 10-seed Texas faces No. 7-seed Nevada on Friday.
Pennsylvania’s Ryan Betley reacts as he cut a piece of the net after an NCAA college basketball championship game in the Ivy League Tournament against Harvard, Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Philadelphia. Penn won 68-65. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
High school: Downingtown West
2017-18 stats: 14.5 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game
Betley came to Penn after a decorated career at Downingtown West where he set the all-time scoring record with 1,333 points. He’s continued to be a scorer with the Quakers, and he scored 30 points in the regular-season finale against Brown. No. 16-seed Penn faces No. 1-seed Kansas on Thursday.