Final Four's Local Flare - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Final Four's Local Flare

Duke vs. West Virginia game features Pa. and NJ natives



    Final Four's Local Flare
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    Brian Zoubek, Dalton Pepper and Lance Thomas all have Pa. or N.J. roots.

    When Duke and West Virginia explode onto the court Saturday night for a chance to go to the National Championship some local players will play a part in the outcome.

    That's right even if your bracket is busted you can find some interest in March Madness (even if it means rooting for Duke).

    Duke’s 7-foot-1 center Brian Zoubek is from Haddonfield, N.J. He joins fellow senior and Scotch Plains, N.J.-native Lance Thomas in the starting five for Coach K's Blue Devils.

    The two big men don't provide much offensively for the Blue Devils but make up for that with strong defensive play and rebounding.

    Zoubek was a top prospect coming out of Haddonfield Memorial and is starting to become a real defensive presence in his senior campaign. He also has found more of a rounded presence as he posted four doubles-doubles during the season.

    Thomas led St. Benedict’s Prep to two straight Prep A Division state titles and a 56-3 record in his final two seasons after transferring from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.

    West Virginia also has a few local players on the roster.

    Guard Dalton Pepper is a graduate of Pennsbury High School in Bucks County. He left Pennsbury as the all-time leading scorer in the school’s history and was honored by the Associated Press as the 2009 Pennsylvania player of the year.

    The Levittown, Pa. star has seen some playing time off the bench during his freshman year but has only played 10 minutes so far in the tourney.

    The Mountaineers also feature a Jersey guy -- senior forward Wellington Smith. He is from Summit, N.J. where he played at Summit High and spent a year attending prep school at Blair Academy.

    West Virginia also lists Furlong, Pa. freshman guard Kenny Ross on their roster. But he hasn't seen the court during his first season in Morgantown.

    The other Final Four game showcasing two midwest teams in Michigan State and Butler doesn't feature any local players.