Only one Arizona team is playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Although, there are several Valley natives playing on Power 5 to mid-major conferences teams within the field of 68. Some are key players while others seldom have playing time.
Here is a list of those players and their Arizona high schools before the tournament tips off on Wednesday.
Zylan Cheatham, ASU
The All-Pac-12 first team senior forward is the Sun Devils’ heart and soul. The 6-foot-8 Phoenix South Mountain alum inspires with his electrifying dunks, slashing inside play, and heartfelt story off the court from earlier this season. The Sun Devils are going to need his veteran leadership for their No. 11-seed play-in game against St. John’s on Wednesday.
Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
The WCC Defensive Player of the Year and former Phoenix Desert Vista standout is the defensive general for the West region’s No. 1 seed Gonzaga (30-3). The 6-8 junior forward is the Zags’ second-leading scorer, top rebounder and shot-blocker averaging 16.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and ranks fourth among the nation’s field goal percentage leaders at 69.3 per game. The Zags will go head-to-head on Thursday against the winner of the 16th seed play-in game between Fairleigh Dickinson and Prairie View.
Markus Howard, Marquette
Howard is one of college basketball’s most explosive scorers who ranks fifth in the nation at 25 per game. The two-time Big East Player of the Year and All-American junior guard is a Chandler native who attended Desert Vista before becoming a Marquette Golden Eagle. The West region’s first round game between No. 5 Marquette and No. 12 Murray State, one of the most anticipated matchups between Howard and NBA lottery prospect Ja Morant (24.6 ppg, 10.0 apg), is Thursday.
Tommy Kuhse, St. Mary’s
The 6-2 guard is the Gaels’ starting point guard and assists leader who shined as a top scorer for Mesa Mountain View until 2016. After St. Mary’s (22-11) was routed by conference rival Gonzaga by 48 points on Feb. 9, Kuhse had eight points and three assists to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year as unranked-Gaels over the top-ranked Zags in stunning fashion 60-47 in their conference tournament final on March 12. The 11th-seeded Gaels face defending national champion and No. 6 seed Villanova in the South region’s on Thursday.
Darnell Cowart, Murray State
The Racers’ space-eating 6-10, 300-pound junior starting center averages 10.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 56.9 field goal percentage per game. Cowart is a Chicago native who played two seasons of prep basketball at Avondale Agua Fria before he graduated in 2016. He also had a one-year stint at Glendale Community College during the 2016-17 season.
Other Arizona natives on team rosters in NCAA Tournament
Grant Fogerty, ASU, Jr., G, Scottsdale Desert Mountain
K.J. Hymes, Nevada, Frosh, F, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix)
Elston Jones, UC-Irvine, Sr., F, Goodyear Millennium
Malik Ondigo, Texas Tech, Soph., F, El Mirage Dysart
Isaiah Ross, Iona, Jr., G, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix)
Nigel Shadd, Kansas State, C, Chandler Tri-City Christian
Dylan Sheehy-Giuseppi, VCU, Soph., F, Lake Havasu City, Impact Academy (NV)
Klay Stall, Utah State, Soph., C, Chandler Basha
Trevor Thompson, ASU, Soph., F, Phoenix Moon Valley
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