Plenty of Mass. appeal in NCAA basketball tournament
For a second straight season, there aren’t any Massachusetts teams represented in the NCAA tournament, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any local flavor in this year’s Big Dance.
Vermont, Providence and Rhode Island each advanced to the tourney, but beyond that, there are a handful of players in the Dance with some ties to the Bay State.
Bruce Brown, Miami: A freshman guard from Boston, he’s made a major impact for the Hurricanes, who open the tourney against No. 9 seed Michigan State on Friday night in Tulsa. The 6-foot-5 BABC product is third on the team in scoring, which included 30- and 25-point performances in wins over North Carolina and Duke, respectively, two wins that were critical in getting Miami an at-large bid to the tournament.
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The New Bedford native put up an ACC Player of the Year-caliber season for the Irish. The junior 6-foot-5 forward averaged a double-double (17.5 points, 10.2 rebounds), making him a candidate for the Wooden Award. Notre Dame has made back-to-back Elite Eight appearances and Colson is the biggest reason why the Irish, who open Thursday against No. 12 seed Princeton in Buffalo, are a threat to return.
Terance Mann, Florida State: The 6-foot-6 guard from Lowell spurned an offer from BC to play for the Seminoles, who face Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night in Orlando. The Tilton School (NH) and BABC alum came off the bench as a freshman, but has seen an expanded role as a sophomore this season, starting in 32 of 33 games and is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game.
Joe Rahon, St. Mary’s: He played for two years at BC before transferring following the dismissal of Steve Donahue. Now, the point guard is relishing in a starting role for the Gaels, who take on 10th-seeded VCU on Friday in Salt Lake City. Rahon was named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the league’s first team this season.
Wenyen Gabriel, Kentucky: The Wilbraham & Monson Academy star played for the Mass Rivals on the AAU circuit, where he really started to get noticed as a five-star prospect. The 6-foot-9 freshman for the Wildcats has been a key contributor off the bench this season, averaging 5.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Kentucky opens against Northern Kentucky on Friday night.
Andrew Chrabascz, Butler: The Portsmouth, R.I. native, starred at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham and is a BABC alum. Chrabascz, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, has been one of the Bulldogs’ top players over the last three seasons. This season he has started every game and is second on the team in scoring at 11 points per game. Butler opens tourney play Thursday against No. 13 seed Winthrop.