The Post-Journal

Maceo Wofford, Kirsten Green Ready For NCAA Tournament

Friends, Family and alumni joined the Iona basketball team early Sunday evening to watch the NCAA Selection Show at Spellman Hall on the New Rochelle campus.

When it was announced that the Gaels (20-10), the 14th seed, would meet No. 3 Maryland (24-9) in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on Thursday, the place erupted.

“They were all whooping and hollering and jumping around,” said freshman point guard Maceo Wofford.

Wofford’s reaction?

Well, for anyone who knows the former Jamestown High School star, it was predictable.

“I just thought, ‘OK, Maryland,’ ” Wofford recalled, “Let’s go out there and do what we have to do to win, but, if not, not to be ashamed of what we’ve accomplished this year. We’ve overcome a lot of things and we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

The Gaels earned an automatic bid to the NCAA’s by virtue of their 84-80 victory over Siena in the MAAC Tournament championship game last week.

But as well as they played then, they’ll have to have an even better game to stay with the Terrapins, who lost to Duke, 81-68, in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game on Sunday.

They’re a good team. I know that, with a decent point guard (Juan Dixon),” Wofford said. “I haven’t watched them play, but we’re definitely going to have to come with our ‘A’ team to beat them. If not, we could easily get blown out by 40. But there have been upsets. Hopefully, we’ll be one of those upsets.

“The coaches are going to do all they can, give us scouting reports and overviews of what they do well, and what they don’t do well. Destiny rests in our hands. All season long we’ve chosen to be the underdogs.”

Two months ago, the Gaels were 6-9 and apparently headed for a season of mediocrity. Now, winners of 14 of its last 15, Iona is trying to continue what has become a Cinderella season.

“I knew we had the potential,” Wofford said. “It was just a matter of us going out and filling each individual role.”

Wofford isn’t the only JHS graduate to be a part of March Madness.

Kirsten Green, the director of basketball operations at Seton Hall, will have a homecoming of sorts this week when the 10th-seeded Pirates (20-9) meet No. 7 Oregon (22-7) on Friday at Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo. Green, the daughter of Larry Green of Jamestown, said the Pirates felt “really lucky” to be in the East.

“That was the preference,” she said. “It’s much closer than anything else, and since were not one of the higher seeds, we could have been shipped out West.

“When the announcement was made, (Head Coach) Tommy (Amaker) turned to me and he said “Your dad is going to be so excited,’” Kirsten said.

Also of local interest, St. Bonaventure (21-9) was seeded 12th in the Midwest Region and will play fifth-seeded Kentucky (22-9) Thursday at Cleveland.

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