Meet the 4 New York Natives Playing in the NCAA Basketball Championship
Only a select few can say they've played in the big game... and four of them this year happen to be from New York State.
The Connecticut Huskies and San Diego State Aztecs are getting ready to throw down for the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I National Championship title. While San Diego has never been to a national championship game in program history, this is Connecticut's 6th trip to the Final Four. They have won 4 all together (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014).
As both teams are gearing-up to cap off one of the craziest tournaments in history, four of the players can reflect back on their New York ties. And to our surprise, all of them are from Connecticut.
44 - Andre Jackson - Junior - Amsterdam, NY
Jackson has been nothing short of a leader at UConn since his Freshman year in 2020. He's been a starting guard for the Huskies since his Sophomore year, serving this year as co-captain of the team. Andre has a career average of 28.4 PPG, shooting 44% from the field.
Before college, he was a Top 50 recruit with an incredible four-year career at Albany Academy. During his senior year, Jackson averaged 18.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 3.0 steals. He had a 68% FG percentage and shot 45% for 3-pointers.
He helped Albany Academy rank No. 1 in New York State 2020 and was named NY Sports Writers Association Class A Player of the Year.
5 - Hassan Diarra - Junior - Queens, NY
Though he didn't graduate in New York, Hassan did start his high-school career at Holy Cross in Queens. He played there for two years, before heading to Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. There he lead his team to National Prep Championships in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
Diarra then played for Texas A&M for two years, appearing in 58 games and starting in 9. He transferred to UConn in 2022, where he's played in 31 games and started 3. Hassan averages 13 PPG, making 29% of his shots from the floor.
13 - Richie Springs - Freshman - Brooklyn, NY
Committing in 2019, Richie graduated from MacDuffie School in Granby, Massachusetts. Before transferring, he played for two years at Bishop Loughlin Memorial in Brooklyn.
Springs Redshirted his Freshman and Sophomore years, still on the team as a Redshirt Junior.
41 - Emmett Hendry - Freshman - Brooklyn, NY
Yet another player who started in New York, but left for a more prominent high school to play basketball. Emmett grew up in Brooklyn, playing basketball for three years at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School. There he averaged 15.0 PPG, shot 56% overall and 94% from the foul line.
Hendry then played last year at Mantverde Academy in Florida, average 13.0 PPG and winning the state prep school championship. He came to UConn as a true walk-on Freshman, only playing in 9 games.