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Jan 20, 2011 admin COMMUNITY, DMV, SPORTS 0
When Prince George’s County, MD comes to mind, some of you may cringe at the alarming homicide rate that has casted a dark cloud over a predominately African-American community, which is one of the wealthiest in the nation. For most basketball coaches, scouts, and fans however, when someone mentions PG County you’ll probably see some sort of arrogant smirk on their face. That’s because over the past couple of years PG County has become the breeding grounds for hoop talent in the U.S.
NBA leading All-Star vote getter Kevin Durant, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green, 2010-2011 Big East preseason player of the year Austin Freeman, and his Georgetown Hoyas teammate Chris Wright, Duke guard Nolan Smith, and 2nd leading rebounder in NJCAA Division III Azel Prather. What these guys all have in common besides their array of basketball talent that has given them notoriety in their respective leagues, is that they all hail from PG County. The wave of basketball talent in the PG County area came to fruition 25 years ago when the late Len Bias (Northwestern High School) was the first basketball superstar to be referred to as the next Michael Jordan.
What makes PG County unique off the court is that you can go 20 minutes down the road to the Nation’s Capital and catch a glimpse of the White House. That monumental building is just a few blocks down the road from aging brown and white brick apartments that house drug dealers and drug addicts. You head back down the Beltway and you’ll see a very different picture that includes high schools that look like collegiate buildings, upscale shopping centers, and megachurches. In previous years, these kinds of night and day differences within the PG County area have kept some college scouts and coaches from seeing the flourishing basketball talent in players that call PG County home. However, the emergence of KD and Beasley in the college and professional ranks has scouts licking their chops to see what new basketball talent PG County has to offer.
Some may say that gentrification has pushed people out of the District of Columbia, so in-turn they migrate to PG County, leading to the increasing quality of athletes. Whether you agree with that theory or not, one thing that is for sure is the main reason PG County is now referred to as the true mecca for hoop talent is AAU basketball. It seems like overnight PG County AAU basketball has transcended to the top of the high school basketball circuit. AAU teams like Team Assault get around 40 college coaches in attendance at their games including legendary Duke Mike Krzyzewski, who has previously signed players from Team Assault. PG County’s high school basketball talent is no slouch either. It seems like every year PG County powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School is sending players to the McDonalds All-American games.
With the countless number of homicides that have occurred this year in PG County thus far, it’s good to see that we can shine the light on the hardwood, and focus on something more positive.
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