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Minnesotans in the NCAA Division I tournament

03/12/2017, 9:30pm CDT
By Jake Lunemann, SportsEngine

Twenty-five North Star State natives will grace the NCAA tournament this year.

After posting its worst overall record in school history last year, Minnesota’s men’s basketball team has bounced back this season and earned the No. 5 seed -- the program’s second-highest seed in its history -- in the South Region of the NCAA Division I tournament.

With Big 10 Coach of the Year Richard Pitino at the helm, the Golden Gophers boast seven North Star State natives -- a group that makes up about 25 percent of the total number of Minnesotans (26) participating in the men's tournament this year. 

“One constant remains for players from Minnesota: they receive great coaching at the high school level to prepare them for college,” former president of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association and current Hayfield coach Chris Pack said. “The talent of our players continues to elevate and these players continue to be more successful at the national level.”

Howard Pulley just wrapped up one of its best seasons, finishing atop its division and earned the No. 1 seed in several tournaments -- evidence of the state's continually growing talent pool.

“We continue to see an increase in the number of DI basketball players from Minnesota. While our AAU teams continue to be more successful and skills coached are more prevalent,” Pack said. “The hard work these players have put in over the years is showing and they are making Minnesota proud.”

North Dakota, making its first tournament appearance as the No. 15 seed in the West Region, also has five Minnesotans on the roster. Former Park Center player Quinton Hooker leads the team with 19.1 points per game, followed by Geno Crandall (DeLaSalle), who averages 15.6 ppg.

Northwestern also earned its first berth in the tournament and grabbed the No. 8 seed in the West Region with the help from team captain and four-year starter Sanjay Lumpkin, who played for Benilde-St. Margaret’s. 

“I would like to wish our Minnesota athletes the best of luck in the NCAA tournament,” Pack said.

--Trevor Squire, SportsEngine

Name College Seed High School
Nuni Omot Baylor 3 Mahtomedi
Jarvis Johnson Minnesota 5 DeLaSalle
Darin Haugh Minnesota 5 Eastview
Brady Rudrud Minnesota 5 Eden Prairie
Reggie Lynch Minnesota 5 Edina
Stephon Sharp Minnesota 5 Hopkins
Amir Coffey Minnesota 5 Hopkins
Michael Hurt Minnesota 5 Rochester John Marshall
Kyle Washington Cincinnati 6 Brewster Academy
Isaiah Zierden Creighton 6 Benilde-St. Margaret's
Sanjay Lumpkin Northwestern 8 Benilde-St. Margaret's
Alex Illikainen Wisconsin 8 Grand Rapids
Sacar Anim Marquette 10 DeLaSalle
JP Macura Xavier 11 Lakeville North
Marcus Marshall Nevada 12 St. Paul Johnson
Ben Oberfeld Bucknell 13 Eastview
Anders Broman Winthrop 13 Lakeview Christian
Bjorn Broman Winthrop 13 Lakeview Christian
Geno Crandall North Dakota 15 DeLaSalle
Josh Collins North Dakota 15 DeLaSalle
Devon Pekas North Dakota 15 Hawley
Quinton Hooker North Dakota 15 Park Center
Carson Shanks North Dakota 15 Prior Lake
Andre Wallace South Dakota State 16 Eden Prairie
Ian Theisen South Dakota State 16 Osseo
Zach Lofton Texas Southern 16 Columbia Heights

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