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Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:47 PM

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Black History Month: Celebrating our local student athletes


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Len Bias, said to be one of the greatest players in University of Maryland men’s basketball history, was the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Courtesy photo

Len Bias, said to be one of the greatest players in University of Maryland men’s basketball history, was the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Courtesy photo

Published on: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brandy L. Simms, Sentinel Sports Reporter

Prince George’s County has produced scores of talented African-American student athletes who have gone onto to play in the college and pro ranks over the years. Here are some individuals who made their mark on the local scene during their playing days:

Thurl Bailey (Bladensburg): The county native helped lead the N.C. State men’s basketball team to the 1983 NCAA championship and was the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft later that year.

Len Bias (Northwestern): Considered one of the greatest players in University of Maryland men’s basketball history, Bias was the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He died of a drug overdose two days later.

Adrian Branch (DeMatha): The former University of Maryland standout and current ESPN college basketball analyst won an NBA championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987.

James Brown (DeMatha): Considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever come out of the Hyattsville private school, the D.C. native earned All-Ivy League honors and was a team captain during his senior year at Harvard.

Adrian Dantley (DeMatha): The D.C. native led the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team to the gold medal in 1976. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Brian Ellerbe (Bowie): The George Washington University assistant coach was once a four-year starter for the Rutgers men’s basketball team.

Ebenezer Ekuban (Bladensburg): The native of Ghana was a first round selection in the 1999 NFL Draft. He played for the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos before retiring in 2009.

Derrick Fenner (Oxon Hill): The D.C. native played for the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders during an NFL career that lasted nearly a decade.

Harold Fox (Northwestern): The Hyattsville native led Northwestern to consecutive state championships in the late 1960’s. He was selected by the Buffalo Braves in the second round of the 1972 NBA Draft.

Tyoka Jackson (Bishop McNamara): The former Penn State defensive lineman spent 12 seasons playing in the NFL with four different teams.

Lamont Jordan (Suitland): The Forestville native enjoyed a stellar career at running back for the University of Maryland and spent nearly decade in the NFL with the Jets, Raiders, Patriots and Broncos.

Jermaine Lewis (Eleanor Roosevelt): The former Maryland wide receiver and sprinter scored on an 84-yard kickoff return in 2001 to help the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

Jerrod Mustaf (DeMatha): The North Carolina native was a high school All-American who played collegiately at the University of Maryland. He was selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft.

Julian Peterson (Crossland): The Hillcrest Heights native was a standout linebacker at Michigan State before going on to star in the NFL with the 49ers, Seahawks and Lions.

Dickey Simpkins (Friendly): The former Providence College standout was selected No. 21 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft and earned three championship rings with the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Sweetney (Oxon Hill): The burly 6-foot-8 power forward led the Clippers to a state title in 2000 and earned a scholarship to play at Georgetown. He was selected ninth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Michael Tate (Oxon Hill): The former McDonald’s All-American played college basketball at Georgetown and James Madison.

John Turner (Eleanor Roosevelt): The former Georgetown power forward was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 20th overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft.

Carlton Valentine (DeMatha): The former Michigan State basketball standout was inducted into the DeMatha Hall of Fame in 2011.

Derek Wake (DeMatha): The Beltsville native played college football at Penn State before starring in the CFL and with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

Delonte West (Eleanor Roosevelt): The D.C. native enjoyed a stellar college career at St. Joseph’s before the Boston Celtics made the 6-foot-3 guard the 24th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Brian Westbrook (DeMatha): A two-sport star in high school, the Fort Washington native was the recipient of the 2001 Walter Payton Award given to the top student-athlete in NCAA Division I-AA football.

Dereck Whittenburg (DeMatha): The Glenarden native guided the N.C. State men’s basketball team to the 1983 NCAA national title after a stellar high school career at the Hyattsville private school.

Monty Williams (Potomac): The current head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans was once a standout 6-foot-8 forward at Notre Dame who spent nearly a decade in the NBA with five different teams.

Walt Williams (Crossland): Nicknamed the “Wizard,” the 6-foot-8 forward earned All-American honors at the University of Maryland and was the seventh overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.

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