South Kent School’s unofficial March reunion

Elmarko Jackson was named a 2023 McDonald’s All American in his senior year at South Kent School. He helped lead the Cardinals to a New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) AAA title victory and was recruited to play at the University of Kansas. This March he will play point guard for the Jayhawks when they enter the tournament as a No. 4 seed against (13) Samford University.

Riley Klein

South Kent School’s unofficial March reunion

SOUTH KENT — March Madness will feature seven former South Kent Cardinals who now play on Division 1 NCAA teams.

The top-tier high school basketball program will be well represented with graduates from each of the past three years heading to “The Big Dance.”

Raphael Chillious, head coach at South Kent since 2020, and before that from ‘03 to ‘08, commented on the success of his former players and what it means to be a Cardinal.

“I am beyond proud to see so many recent South Kent Basketball alumni participating in this year’s NCAA Tournament. It is a tribute to the effort, perseverance and commitment to excellence that they had here in the Hillside as well as with their current college programs. I’m sure they will represent us with dignity, class, character and competitiveness on the biggest stage of college basketball.”

The first alum to punch his ticket to the 2024 tournament was Andre Johnson Jr., South Kent (SK) class of ‘22, a sophomore guard at University of Connecticut. The defending champion Huskies are poised to go back-to-back after earning the top seed in the East region this year with a record of 31-3. UConn’s first game will be against (16) Stetson University March 22. Johnson wears jersey No. 40.

Jordan Gainey, SK class of ‘21, helped lead University of Tennessee to a 24-8 regular season record. The Volunteers were seeded 2nd in the Midwest region and will play (15) Saint Peter’s University in the first round March 21. Gainey wears jersey No. 2.

Elmarko Jackson, SK class of ‘23, freshman guard at University of Kansas, will also be dancing this March. A regular season record of 22-10 earned the Jayhawks the 4th seed in the Midwest. Kansas will play (13) Samford University first. Jackson, jersey No. 13, was named a McDonald’s All American in his senior year at South Kent.

Isaiah Watts, SK class of ‘23, is a freshman guard at Washington State, which qualified with a team record of 24-9. The Cougars were seeded seventh in the East and will play (10) Drake University in the first round. Watts wears No. 12.

Jalen Cox, SK class of ‘23, is a freshman guard at Colgate University, which received an automatic bid to the tournament after winning its conference championship. Colgate won the Patriot League for the fourth year in a row and was seeded 14th in the West. Colgate will play (3) Baylor University in the first round. Cox wears No. 3.

Osei Price, SK class of ‘21,a junior guard at Oakland University, helped The Grizz win the Horizon League title. Oakland was seeded 14th in the South and will play (3) University of Kentucky in round one. Price wears No. 13.

Chika Nduka, SK class of ‘21, a junior forward at Montana State, will round out the Cardinals’ reunion attendees. The Bobcats won their third consecutive Big Sky conference tournament and were put in the “First Four” play-in game for the No. 16 seed in the Midwest. Montana State lost to Grambling State on March 20, which went on to play (1) Purdue University.

In the past 20 years, more than 80 South Kent players went on to play for Division 1 colleges and 17 made it to the NBA. The list includes notable names such as Andray Blatche, Isaiah Thomas, Dion Waiters, Jack McClinton and Dorell Wright.

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