Garden State basketball talent blooms in NCAA Tournament
When Princeton beat Missouri, this MC, David Teele, posted highlights with commentary. He wasn’t the only one to happily follow the Tigers. Governor Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey was also swept up in excitement. He and his wife, Tammy Snyder Murphy, visited the Princeton office on Tuesday. The governor, a Massachusetts native, told the players that all of New Jersey and much of the country is supporting Princeton.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, he also highlighted the success of FDU and St. Peter’s and made sure to mention the New Brunswick-based state university.
“Rutgers have been in the tournament and I think they’ve been pushed around a bit in the selection, if I may add, this year,” he said. “You’re starting to see not just the talent New Jersey is producing in hoops, men’s and women’s, but the talent that’s staying here.”
Rob Kennedy, the head of Hoop Group, a Neptune, NJ-based company that runs camps, clinics and tournaments for everyone from young kids to elite professional talent, says New Jersey high schools compare to any high school in the country. It recalled the heady days of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, before it closed in 2017. It was led by Bob Hurley Sr., one of the most successful high school coaches of all time. He was eventually challenged by another Jersey icon, Kevin Boyle at St. Patrick of Elizabeth, before Boyle migrated to Montverde Academy in Florida.
Their tradition lives on. This year, four McDonald’s All-Americans — a third of the Eastern roster — are from New Jersey, including Elmarko Jackson, of Marlton, Mackenzie Mgbako of Roselle Catholic and DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw, both of Camden High School. .