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College Round-up: Queens locals turn sights toward NCAA tournament

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Royal Ivey says he attended Cardozo for its acclaimed dance program, so it’s only appropriate that the former Judges standout is among six Division I players from Queens to play in the Big Dance, the 65-team NCAA tournament that starts Thursday.

Ivey, a 6-foot-3 junior guard from Hollis, is a three-year starter for the University of Texas, which earned the No. 1 seed in the South Regional. The Longhorns (22-6) face either Texas Southern or UNC-Asheville, which met in a play-in game Tuesday and in a first-round game Friday at 12:30 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala.

Ivey, who was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team, averages 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the field.

Also from the Big 12 conference, which proved to be the toughest conference in the country with two No. 1 seeds — Oklahoma is the top seed in the East — is Jamaica native Cheyne Gadson, a senior guard at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys (21-9) are seeded No. 6 in the East and will face No. 11 Penn Friday at 2:45 p.m. in Boston, Mass.

The 6-foot-3 former Jamaica star by way of Westchester Community College averages 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 19.7 minutes off the bench per game and was named to the Big 12 All-Reserve team.

After struggling with a pair of injuries, Taliek Brown has regained his confidence and leads UConn, seeded fifth in the South Region, against Brigham Young University in a first-round game Thursday at 2:40 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.

The 6-foot-1 point guard out of LeFrak City and St. John’s Prep has started 22 of 26 games and averages 7.8 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Huskies (21-9), who lost to Pittsburgh in the Big East final Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, which avenged two straight losses in the Big East tournament to Connecticut, the Panthers, featuring former Christ the King star Mark McCarroll, are the No. 2 seed in the Midwest. Pittsburgh (26-4) will face Wagner College in the first round Friday at 7:10 p.m. in Minneapolis, Minn.

McCarroll, a 6-foot-11 sophomore forward by way of Milford Academy (Conn.), averages 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 6.8 minutes off the bench for the Panthers.

McCarroll’s former Christ the King teammate, Jave Meade, has led Holy Cross to the Big Dance for a third straight year. The Crusaders, seeded No. 14 in the Midwest Region, will take on third-seeded Marquette Thursday at 12:20 p.m. in Indianapolis, Ind.

Meade, a 6-foot-1 junior point guard from Queensbridge, has started all 29 games for Holy Cross (25-4) and averages 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and dished out a team-high 175 assists.

Also on Holy Cross is Kevin Hamilton, a 6-foot-4 freshman from Archbishop Molloy. The Queens Village native has appeared in all 29 games and averages 4.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.3 minutes off the bench.

Not forgotten is the lone coach from Queens who will be dancing this week as Illinois assistant Norm Roberts, a former Springfield Gardens standout and men’s basketball coach at Queens College, will help the fourth-seeded Fighting Illini (24-6) take on No. 13 Western Kentucky in a West Region first-round game in Minneapolis, Minn. Thursday at 7:10 p.m.

Also making the dance, albeit on a smaller level, is former Cardozo standout Ryan Williams, who has drawn interest from Division I schools including St. John’s.

The athletic 6-foot-5 forward, known for his explosive dunks, was named MVP of the District 3 playoffs to lead Monroe Community College from the Bronx to the Division I NJCAA national tournament.

After defeating host Aiken Technical College (S.C.), 82-72, and Louisburg College (N.C.), Monroe (28-2), the Region XV and District 3 champion, will face South Plains (Texas) in the first round in Hutchinson, Kan. that started Tuesday.

A pair of former Christ the King standouts will be making the trip to the women’s NCAA tournament.

Leading Boston College (20-8), seeded No. 5 in the East, is Clare Droesch, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Belle Harbor. The guard/forward averages 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game off the bench for the Eagles, who face No. 12 Old Dominion Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in Norfolk, Va.

Her former Royals teammate, Trish Tubridy, will also compete in the tournament. The 6-foot junior forward from Broad Channel and Harvard (22-4) will take on third-seeded Kansas State in the first round of the East Regional in Manhattan, Kan. Sunday.

Tubridy started all 26 games and averages 8.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Crimson, seeded 14th in the East Region.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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