By Jason Cruz
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this edition, we take a look at the NCAA Tournament and March Madness.
Remy resurfaces at Kansas to win title
The NCAA Men’s Final Four featured the Kansas Jayhawks as they beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Championship game. The Jayhawks feature Remy Martin as the team’s point guard. Martin’s mother is Filipino and the senior guard is proud of his heritage.
After four years at Arizona State, Martin took advantage of his last year of eligibility to transfer to Kansas. The switch has proved to be successful for Martin and the Jayhawks.
Before he even played a game for the school, he was projected as Big 12 preseason player of the year. Martin was a central part of the success of the team this year. This added to his list of accomplishments from Arizona State, where he averaged 20 points a game and made first team all-conference twice as a Sun Devil. But a run to the Final Four never came. After declaring for the NBA Draft in 2021 and not getting selected, Martin, who did not give up his eligibility, moved to Kansas.
“I just want to show people that the Filipino heritage is here, that they can play at the highest level,” he told The Kansas City Star. “I’m not the tallest guy. I’m not the most athletic guy, but I love the game, and I’m here now.”
The 6-foot tall guard has used his trademark speed and explosiveness to bolster the Jayhawks’ offense. Martin has contributed most through Kansas’ run through the NCAA Tournament and Final Four. In the Championship game, he scored 14 points to help win
the national title for Kansas.
Davidson junior following Curry’s footsteps
Davidson College’s most notable basketball alum is Golden State Warrior Steph Curry.
The men’s team this year had one of its best seasons since Curry played for the team.
Davidson made the NCAA tournament and it was due in part to the contribution of Hyungjung Lee. The 21-year-old, 6-foot-7 South Korean patterns his game after another Golden State Warrior, Klay Thompson.
He first began playing basketball in South Korea where his family has a roundball lineage. His mother played for the South Korean national team and won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. His father was a basketball coach and athletic director for a local high school. His sister played for the under 16 national team. Lee played for South Korea on its under 17 FIBA basketball team. After this stint, he enrolled in the NBA Global Academy, an academy for top young basketball players to train and finish high school.
In 2019, after playing at a G-League showcase, where college scouts watched high school players, he was offered college scholarships from different schools. He chose to play at Davidson over Washington State University.
Now a junior, Lee helped the Wildcats to a 15-3 conference record and 27-7 overall record. The record earned them an invitation to the NCAA tournament this year.
Lee scored 11 points in a hard-fought battle in the first round matchup of the NCAA tournament against Michigan State. Unfortunately, Lee and Davidson fell by just one point, to the Spartans, 74-73.
Juzang’s Bruins fall short this year
Last year was a breakout year for UCLA’s Johnny Juzang. After a surprising run to the Final Four for UCLA, led by Juzang, the 6-foot-7 guard decided to return to play another season for the Bruins. After initially putting his name in for the 2021 NBA Draft, Juzang had second thoughts and believed a return to the Bruins would help his basketball development. Taking advantage of the new college Name, Image, and Likeness rule, which allows for college players to earn money based on their persona in college, Juzang signed with WME Sports and signed an endorsement deal with Legends, a Los Angeles-based performance apparel company.
This year, Juzang, who is part Vietnamese, averaged almost 16 points for the Bruins. But unlike last year, Juzang’s Bruins fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual Final Four participant, North Carolina.
It’s likely that the next time we see Juzang will be in the NBA.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.