By Jake Anderson
March is madness. The round of 32 brought many upsets and big moments. Number 1 seed and defending champs Villanova lost and many other higher seeds lost as well, namely Duke and Louisville.
Two years ago, Bennie Boatwright and Tyler Dorsey had epic battles at Village and Maranatha. Both players would go on to win CIF championships in their divisions. Both of them broke out as top players in California and in the country. They both would end up getting Div. 1 full ride scholarships at USC and Oregon.
At USC, Bennie averaged 15.1 ppg and 4.5 rebs for the Trojans this season. USC would earn a ticket to the big dance as a No.11 seed. Bennie is a 6-10 shooter who has range but also uses his length and size to get to the bucket and post up on occasion. USC would upset No.6 seed SMU by 1 point after being down 6 at halftime in the first round of March Madness. Bennie poured in 14 points on 6-10 shooting.
Against No. 3 seed Baylor, USC would yet again have to prevail as an underdog. USC ended up falling to Baylor by 4 points in a close one. Bennie would yet again be consist with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Coming out of Village, he was ranked 9th in California, and I believe he could be an asset to an NBA team. With his length and shooting ability he is exactly what NBA teams are looking for in a “stretch 4” (a stretch 4 is a big man who plays power forward but can give good spacing on the floor with their shooting ability, which is exactly what he has). It is great to watch him do well at USC and hopefully he can continue his basketball career as a junior next year, overseas or even in the NBA.
At Maranatha, Tyler Dorsey broke out as one of the best in California and in the country. He was ranked 38th on the ESPN Top 100 list of high school players in the country and averaged over 35 ppg with multiple 40 point games. He received offers from big name schools such as Kansas, Louisville, and Connecticut who have all won an NCAA championship at least once since 2008. I personally was surprised when he chose to sign with Oregon, but it turned out to be the right fit. Last year, Tyler and other star player Dillon Brooks led Oregon to a No.1 seed in the tournament and this year they are a No. 3 seed.
In their first game against Iona they would beat them handily by 16 points with Tyler Dorsey being the leading scorer in the game with 24 points on 9-13 shooting.
After Rhode Island upset No. 6 seed Creighton they were set to play Oregon with a lot of momentum on their side. Rhode Island would give Oregon all they could handle and the game would be tied with less than a minute to go. Tyler Dorsey would find himself in a similar scenario that he faced time and time again at Maranatha. He would once again come through, hitting a deep three with a defender draped all over him. This was the game-winning shot and he would finish as the game’s leading scorer with 27 points on 9-10 shooting and 3 steals.
It is great to see local players continue in their careers and succeed in what they do. Just 2 years ago you could go see Tyler Dorsey and Bennie Boatwright for free as a student or 5 bucks as an adult in a packed high school gym. I have talked about how competitive the Olympic League is and the fact that there are currently two players making big impacts for their schools on the national stage proves it. Continue to watch Tyler lead Oregon in March Madness and follow his career at Oregon and into the NBA.
Thanks to ESPN.com for pictures & stats.