You would be hard pressed to find a more heralded basketball program in the nation than that of DeMatha Catholic. Since the late 1950s, the school has annually had one of the best basketball teams in the Washington, DC area, if not the nation. Indeed, the school has secured six mythical national titles in 1962, 1965, 1968, 1978, 1984, and 2006.
Legions of All-Americans have played at DeMatha from the likes of sharpshooting Ernie Cage ’58, to Jerami Grant ’12, and recently, Markelle Fultz ’16 (who recently won a Gold Medal as a member of the U18 Fiba America’s team). It comes as no surprise that the school has two members in the Basketball Hall of Fame—legendary coach Morgan Wootten and Adrian Dantley ’73. Two DeMatha Stags have been named National Players of the Year while in High School – Dantley, and Danny Ferry ’85. In addition, two DeMatha alums were members of the ’76 Olympic team which won a Gold Medal in Montreal, Canada – (Dantley (again) and Kenny Carr ’74.
Without question, the program and the school’s proud athletic reputation owe so much to Morgan Wootten, who was varsity head coach for 46 seasons. Wootten was also the varsity football coach for 12 years. A recent website listed Morgan as the 11th greatest coach of All-Time in any sport at any level, and, in November 2012, Morgan received the Joe Lapchick Character Award in New York City. Morgan successfully has passed the ball to Coach Mike Jones ’91, who in 13 years, has pulled off the nearly impossible in finding success with the burden of following a living legend.
Jones has made a national name for himself as an assistant to the US 17 team which won a Gold Medal in Europe in 2012 (with Beejay Anya ’13 a key member of the squad). Two other DeMatha alumni, Jerami Grant ’12 and James Robinson ’12, also received Gold Medals two summers ago as members of the US 19 squad in Prague. It should be noted that Robinson completed his high school career having won more games at DeMatha than any other player in school history.
With so much tradition and history, it is not unreasonable to look to the future for continued success. There will always be another challenge and another game to play, and, it seems, another team of DeMatha players rising up to take on whatever comes their way.