Monday, March 10, 2014 2:26 AM
Published on: Thursday, February 28, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
The Montrose Christian basketball program is synonymous with excellence.
The Mustangs are an annual staple in the national rankings and captured top honors in the 2011 ESPN Rise National High School Invitational tournament.
The tiny Rockville private school has also produced various players who have gone on to play Division I college basketball and a handful who are currently playing in the National Basketball Association.
NBA superstar Kevin Durant is the program’s most prominent alumni.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward is among the league’s top players.
The list of Montrose Christian players in the NBA also includes Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza, New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez and NBA slam dunk champion Terrence Ross who also plays for the Raptors.
“What school in the country can have the leading scorer in the NBA, have the second or third leader in assists in the NBA and then have somebody that’s entering the dunk contest? I don’t think anybody in the country can make that statement,” Montrose Christian head coach Stu Vetter said the other week.
Durant is the league’s scoring leader and Vasquez is among the NBA’s assist leaders. Both players were once high school teammates at Montrose Christian during the 2005-2006 campaign.
Montrose Christian can also boast more than a dozen former players competing at the Division I college level.
During the 2008-2009 season, the Mustangs roster featured various players who would go on to play Division I basketball including Ross who spent two seasons at the University of Washington before declaring early for the NBA Draft last summer.
Former Mustangs center Jordan Omogbehin, a 7-foot-3 Nigeria native, is currently a redshirt freshman at the University of South Florida and Tyler Hubbard is a redshirt freshman guard at Loyola University in Baltimore.
Earlier this season, Hubbard, a high school sophomore during the 2008-2009 campaign, became the first Loyola player in nearly a decade to score ten or more points in his collegiate debut.
The Loyola sharpshooter also averaged 10.3 points per game during a three-game stretch in November and was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for his efforts.
Virginia freshman guard Justin Anderson has also been impressive in his first season on the college hardwood. Anderson has been a fan favorite with his highlight reel dunks. During a two-game stretch in early February, Anderson averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in Virginia’s wins over Clemson and Maryland.
Anderson scored a career-high 17 points and tied a career-best with nine rebounds in an 80-69 road win in College Park. His performance at Comcast Center helped Anderson earn the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Week honor.
Tyrone Johnson, a former All-Sentinel Player of the Year who helped lead the Mustangs to the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational tournament championship, began his college career at Villanova but has since transferred.
“He’s going to South Carolina to join Michael Carrera,” said Vetter. “He’s real excited about that. He’ll be a good player for them.”
The list of former Montrose Christian players competing at Division I college programs also includes Carrera, Isaiah Armwood (George Washington), Doug Browman (Virginia), Dadrian Collins (Howard), Mouphtaou Yarou (Villanova), Josh Hairston (Duke), Carmelo Betancourt (Akron), Bruce Beckford (North Carolina A&T), Cedric Blossom (Morgan State) and Kevin Larsen (George Washington).
The list will continue to grow next season when Montrose Christian senior Ishmail Wainright joins the basketball program at Baylor.
“It’s fun to be able to sit down on a Sunday and Saturday and watch your former players play,” said Vetter.