Wildcats, Tigers and Hurricanes, oh my!

Several former Neumann-Goretti basketball players are showing they’ve got college game

Quade Green’s rookie season at the University of Kentucky has included a 21-point performance against ETSU. Photo provided by UK Athletics

By Bill Gelman

The NCAA Tournament is still several months away, but come Selection Sunday, several athletes with South Philly ties will receive word that they’re going dancing. We’re talking as members of powerhouse programs like Kentucky, Villanova and Miami. Since there is a long way to go before teams hit the road to the Final Four, here is an early look at how some former Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th St., players are faring on the Division-I level.

Look at the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, and they both have a clear cut №1 — the 11–0 Villanova Wildcats. Dhamir Cosby-Rountree, a 6-foot-9 forward, is averaging 12.2 minutes and 2.8 rebounds per game. The perfect mark includes a 87–67 victory over Philadelphia Big 5 rival Temple University. Up next is Friday night’s game at Hofstra University followed by a Dec. 27 game at DePaul University, which will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Former classmate Quade Green, a 6-foot guard, has started eight out of the first 10 games for the 9–1 Kentucky Wildcats, who were ranked No. 5 in last week’s USA Today Coaches Poll. He is averaging 11 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. His career-best performance to date came in last month’s 78–61 victory over East Tennessee State where Green finished with a team high 21 points He spoke about his successful night following the game.

“I was just reading how they were playing me, you know shoot when I’m open and then play hard, get in the lane, swing it, get everybody involved. It’s as simple as that,” Green said during the press conference.

Up next for Kentucky is a Saturday trip to New Orleans to play UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic (4 p.m. on CBS) followed by a Dec. 29 game at the University of Louisville (1 p.m. on CBS).

In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Ja’Quan Newton, a 6-foot-3 guard, and his Miami Hurricanes, who are ranked №6 in the AP Top 25, are off to an 9–0 start. Newton has started all eight games, and is averaging 28.8 minutes and 10.1 points per game. He tallied nine points and six rebounds in last week’s 69–54 victory over Boston University. The Canes are heading to Hawaii to play in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Classic to play host Hawaii on Friday and either Davidson on New Mexico State on Saturday. The tournament, which can be seen on ESPN2 or ESPNU, will wrap up on Christmas Day.

Closer to home, Lamarr Kimble, a 6-foot junior guard, is sidelined for the season after having surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. It’s the same foot injury that cut his sophomore season short. His only action came in the season opener against Toledo, which the Hawks lost, 96–86. He chipped in 10 points before having to leave the game. Kimble, who averaged a team high 15.5 points per game as a sophomore, will continue to serve as team captain for the second-straight season.

Troy Harper, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, is suiting up for the Drexel Dragons after having to sit out last season following his transfer from Campbell University. Through five games, all of which he started, Harper is averaging 10.6 points per game, which ranks fourth best on the team. The 5–5 Dragons are back in action tomorrow night at Loyola University.

Staying in the Colonial Athletic Association, Towson University guard Zane Martin, a sophomore guard, was named the New Day USA Student-Athlete of the Week earlier this month after averaging 20 points in wins over Morgan State, 82–78 in overtime, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 78–65. Against Morgan State, Martin connected on the game-tying three-pointer with 8.1 seconds remaining in regulation. He is leading the 10–1 Tigers with 17. 9 points per game. Towson travels to Oakland University tonight followed by Friday night’s game at the University of Pittsburgh.