Washington D.C., also known as “The DMV,” is widely known for its politics, monuments, national history and, of course, its lowly Redskins. Other than that, any basketball fan should be aware that this area has become a national hotbed for basketball.
High school coaches such as Morgan Wooten and Stu Vetter are recognized throughout the country and names such as DeMatha, Spingarn, Montrose Christian, Suitland, the WCAC and D.C. Assault have produced quality NBA players year after year.
D.C.-based NBA players have a lot of pride in their hometown and feel that the competition growing up has helped fuel them to become the athletes they have become today. College powerhouses such as Duke, North Carolina, UConn, Syracuse, Maryland and Georgetown all have benefited from the consistent talent that has evolved from the metropolitan area.
As the playoffs have come to an end, Washington-based players have contributed to many teams throughout the league, such as Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls. While Texas and Florida will be known as a football breeding ground, the DMV should be acknowledged for basketball.
Kevin Durant is arguably a top-five player in the NBA as well as a top-five player to ever come out of the area. He has excelled in every level of competition that he has faced and is currently the youngest superstar in the NBA.
Kevin Durant’s AAU team was the P.G. Jaguars, while his teammate was Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also played for one of the best high school programs in the country at Montrose Christian, as he teamed up with Greivis Vasquez.
Durant played one year in college at Texas where he led the nation in scoring and was a first-team All-American and became the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft.
Durant’s skills translated easily to the NBA and now his Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the most exciting teams to watch. It appears that many All-Star games, playoff appearances and MVP Awards will be in his future.
In a surprising trade this season, Jeff Green was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Boston Celtics. Although he struggled with his new team, Green had developed into a productive NBA player while teaming up with Kevin Durant.
Jeff Green went to Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD in which he led his team to the state championship.
Jeff continued his local quest to stardom by playing at Georgetown University. He left after his junior season after being named Big East Player of the Year and was selected fifth overall by the Seattle SuperSonics. That Seattle team featured three players all from the same county (Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Delonte West).
Upon the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City, Green’s game has improved to an effective all-around offensive game.
Now playing in a reserve role in Boston, West is another Washingtonian who has been a consistent player throughout his career. Most notably for the dynamic backcourt at St. Joseph’s University with Jameer Nelson and starting with LeBron James in Cleveland.
Delonte was a former Washington Post, All-Met Player of the Year out of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland; he led the Raiders to the 4A state championship in a losing effort.
West struggled through an injury-plagued season this year, but came on strong in the playoffs while filling in for Rajon Rondo, showing his versatility in either guard position.
After being the second overall pick, Beasley has not lived up to expectations, but he seems to be taking a step in the right direction while playing with power forward Kevin Love.
Beasley, from Frederick, Maryland went to many high schools, but mostly developed his reputation through his AAU experiences. Michael was initially on the P.G. Jaguars team with Kevin Durant and later played for nationally recognized D.C. Assault with fellow college stars in Nolan Smith (Duke), Chris Wright (Georgetown) and Julian Vaughn (Georgetown).
He starred in his only collegiate season at Kansas State, earning himself Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as a consensus first-team All-American.
Originally drafted by the Miami Heat, who later traded him to the T-Wolves to clear up space for LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Beasley increased his scoring average to 19 points a game and is proving to be a late bloomer in his career.
Another Prince George’s County product starred in college at North Carolina and seems to be the point guard of the future in Denver.
Lawson is from Clinton, Maryland and began his high school career at a WCAC school Bishop McNamara until transferring to Oak Hill Academy. He was named a McDonald’s All-American and continued his career at UNC and won a national title.
After leaving his junior season, he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft and served as a backup to Chauncey Billups in his first two seasons. Halfway through this season, Billups was traded alongside Carmelo Anthony to New York and since then Lawson has established himself as a starting point guard.
This Bethesda, Maryland product played close to home at Georgetown Prep, where he was tremendously inexperienced. Despite his inconsistencies in high school, Hibbert’s 7’2" frame was good enough to play at Georgetown.
Hibbert started off with a limited role in college and eventually transformed himself into an All Big-East player in 2007, including leading his team to the Final Four.
Roy has always been considered a project, even though he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Since then, he has improved every year in Indiana and has become a serviceable starting center.
The former second-round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers has worked his way into a dependable player in the league.
The 2005 All-Met Player of the Year started his high school career at St. John’s in the district battling other premier basketball schools like DeMatha, Gonzaga, Bishop McNamara and Good Counsel. Dante graduated from Potomac High School, while leading the basketball team to an undefeated record.
Cunningham moved onto the Big East, while playing at Villanova University. He took home the Big East Most Improved Player Award his senior season and led his school to their first Final Four appearance in over 20 years.
Cunningham’s role in Portland was increasing in his second year, while playing behind LaMarcus Aldridge. Back in February, Dante was involved in the Gerald Wallace trade that sent him to Charlotte, where he has been given an opportunity to start.
Many NBA fans are shocked to see Keith Bogans still in the league, but he has remained a role player for veteran teams, while being a reliable three-point threat.
Bogans played for the previously mentioned DeMatha Catholic High School, while leading them to a 34-1 record and No. 3 ranking in the nation. Bogans decided to go to the University of Kentucky, where he was named SEC Player of the Year in 2003.
Keith has been a league-wide journeyman, having played on six teams and being traded four separate times. While he’s not going to be signing any big contract, Bogans plays a significant role in Chicago, while guarding some of the game’s best offensive players.
The former ACC Player of the Year at the University of Maryland transitioned himself into a 2010 first-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies.
While his role in Memphis has been limited, he showed signs of promise, most notably in the playoffs as he was Mike Conley’s backup.
Vasquez played at Montrose Christian with Kevin Durant, forming one of the more dynamic teams in the country as they had a 43-5 combined record in their junior and senior seasons.
Greivis continued his stellar play at Maryland, where his team won the regular-season title his senior year and was awarded as a second-team All-American, as he was beloved by the student body and all Maryland basketball fans.
The surprise team of the playoffs was without their best scorer in Rudy Gay and it would have been an even more interesting playoffs if he could have helped Memphis down the stretch.
Gay played at Archbishop Spalding High School in the Annapolis, MD area, in which he was a first-team All-American, as well as the Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year. He continued his basketball career at the University of Connecticut.
At UConn, Gay was named the Big East Freshman of the Year in 2005 and became an All-American his sophomore season. Gay led the Huskies to a 30-3 record until they were famously knocked off by the Cinderella George Mason. Rudy declared himself eligible for the NBA draft following that season.
Rudy Gay was originally drafted eighth overall by the Houston Rockets and was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Shane Battier. Upon his arrival, Gay has been a legitimate scoring threat in the NBA, with a bright future ahead. He was rewarded last offseason with an $80 million contract. The Memphis Grizzlies seem to be an up-and-coming franchise that could be potentially anchored by him.
The sharpshooter has bounced around the league the past few years, but he has developed himself into another trustworthy role player that who climbed his way back to the NBA after playing overseas.
The Silver Spring, MD native played at Our Lady of Good Counsel in the WCAC, as he guided his school to their best seasons ever. Mason was named “Mr. Basketball” by Powerade as he was awarded the best player in the Washington, D.C. area.
Mason committed to play at the University of Virginia, where he set free-throw records at the school and is currently third on the ACC’s all-time list for free-throw percentage. Mason declared himself for the draft following his junior year.
Roger was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. After playing sparingly for two seasons in Chicago and one in Toronto, Mason played in Greece and in an Israeli league. After two seasons away from the NBA, Roger Mason revitalized his career with the Washington Wizards. His play in Washington, earned him a contract with the San Antonio Spurs and he is currently on the New York Knicks roster, where he has the reputation as a three-point shooting threat.
After being one of the most experienced players in the league, Grant Hill is one of the NBA good guys and is one of the most respected athletes in this era. Having played for three different teams in his career, Grant is still performing effectively.
The Reston, Virginia native played for South Lakes High School and was selected as a McDonald’s All-American back in 1990.
Grant Hill famously played at Duke University alongside Christian Laettner and Bob Hurley and became a two-time national champion.
He was selected third overall by the Detroit Pistons and was the NBA co-Rookie of the Year with Jason Kidd. Hill additionally has become a seven-time All-Star, has been given the Sportsmanship Award on three separate occasions and won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.
Despite suffering major injuries throughout his career, Grant Hill’s longevity is admirable and he will be a model player for years to come.
Another Prince George’s County product has worked himself into the NBA. Sam Young attended Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland. He led his high school to Maryland state titles in 2003 and 2004 while averaging 24.6 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots per game.
Young played his college ball at Pittsburgh. He played all four seasons with Pitt while being honored as a third-team All-American his senior season and becoming a scoring threat by averaging over 18 points per game his last two seasons in college.
Sam Young was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft and served as a bench player his rookie season. In his second year, Young found himself as a starter when fellow Washingtonian Rudy Gay was injured. While he’s not going to be a premier force in the NBA, he has established himself as a valued teammate on the bench.