Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon (left), N.C. Central’s Ebuka Anyaorah (center) and UCLA’s Jordan Adams (right) are three former Gwinnett standouts in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Tennessee’s A.J. Davis also will play in the First Four play-in game. (Photos: USA Today)
Four Gwinnett grads will be a part of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins this week.
Here’s a look at each of those four and what roles they fill for their teams:
High school: Oak Hill Academy (Va.)/Central Gwinnett
Size: 6-foot-5, 220 pounds
Tourney opener: No. 5 seed UCLA plays No. 13 Tulsa Friday at 9:57 p.m. in San Diego — game will be on TruTV
The skinny: The first-team All-Pac 12 selection been a go-to scorer in both of his college seasons, including a freshman season that was highlighted by scoring 20 or more points in his first four games — he’s the first UCLA freshman to ever accomplish that feat. His 15.3-point scoring average was the fifth-highest ever by a Bruin freshman. He averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season, as well as setting a UCLA season record with 90 steals. The Lawrenceville native led Central to the Final Four as a sophomore before playing his final two seasons at Oak Hill, which went a school-best 44-0 with the FAB 50 national title his senior season.
College: North Carolina Central
High school: North Gwinnett
Size: 6-foot-4, 194 pounds
Tourney opener: No. 14 seed N.C. Central plays No. 3 seed Iowa State Friday at 9:50 p.m. in San Antonio — game will be on TNT
The skinny: It’s been a long, winding journey for the former all-state player at North Gwinnett — he averaged 26.3 points in a breakout senior season — who signed with Georgia out of high school. A stress fracture in his leg caused him to miss the 2008-09 season and he played in 28 games for the Bulldogs in 2009-10. He transferred to McLennan Community College (Texas) for the 2010-11 season, then averaged 8.3 points in 2011-12, his first at N.C. Central. A broken foot prompted another redshirt year for him last season, but Anyaorah came back for one final season in 2013-14. He played in 26 games this season for the Eagles, averaging 8.6 minutes and 3 points.
High school: Greater Atlanta Christian
Size: 6-foot-5, 217 pounds
Tourney opener: No. 1 seed Virginia plays No. 16 Coastal Carolina Friday at 9:25 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C. — game will be on TBS
The skinny: The methodical pace and tough defense that Virginia prefers leads to plenty of low-scoring games, but Brogdon is the team’s leading scorer at 12.6 per game. He also averages 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists, in addition to ranking among the league’s top free-throw shooters at 87.1 percent. The guard, who redshirted last year after foot surgery, scored 23 in the ACC Tournament title game win over Duke, which gave the Cavaliers a sweep of the ACC crowns.
High school: Buford
Size: 6-foot-9, 212 pounds
Tourney opener: No. 11 seeds Tennessee and Iowa meet in a First Four play-in game Wednesday at 9:10 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio — game will be on TruTV
The skinny: Davis saw action in 22 games this season as a true freshman, averaging 10.5 minutes, 1.5 points and 1.7 rebounds for the Volunteers. The guard/forward had his best game with six points, six rebounds vs. The Citadel back in November. His high in minutes during SEC play was 14 Feb. 1 at Alabama. Davis, whose sister Kaela is a freshman on Georgia Tech’s women’s team, began his high school career at Greater Atlanta Christian before transferring to Buford.