DeMatha has produced yet another NBA draft pick.
The selection of Markelle Fultz Thursday marked the 23rd time a graduate of the Hyattsville Catholic school has produced a pro basketball player, second only to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, according to a count by USA Today.
The Washington Post notes that the school has done even better with top picks, like Fultz.
Fultz figures to be DeMatha’s fifth top-six pick in 42 years, following Adrian Dantley (sixth in 1976), Kenny Carr (sixth in 1977), Danny Ferry (second in 1989) and Victor Oladipo (second in 2013).
Five top-six picks in 42 years? That’s absurd. It’s more than Michigan or Michigan State, more than Louisville or Cincinnati, more than Florida or Arizona. That’s as many as Boston College, Clemson, Pitt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, combined.
The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that DeMatha’s strength in basketball has a long history:
DeMatha’s rich basketball history dates back to the 1950s. The Stags were recognized by media polling as the nation’s best team in 1962, 1965, 1968, 1978, 1984 and 2006.
The team has also produced Basketball Hall of Famers in Adrian Dantley, who went on to an illustrious college and pro career, and coach Morgan Wootten, who compiled a 1,274-192 record and was coach for five of those top DeMatha teams.
Deadspin went even further, arguing that all of Prince George’s County has for years been “to hoops what Champagne is to Champagne.” It attributed the county’s basketball culture to the exodus of D.C. residents in the 1960s, connections to the Washington Bullets and strong youth basketball teams:
“You know how they say in life, it takes a village to raise a child? That’s how we take the basketball programs in this county,” Brown says. “It’s everybody. Everybody knows everybody. We have so many coaches, guys who played AAU here and then went off to play college basketball and are coming back home to work with kids at the young ages, when they’re just 8 to 13. The level of competition here from a young age is like nowhere else.”