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Queens players take talents to Sweet Sixteen

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Louisville's Russ Smith (front) went to high school at Archbishop Molloy in Briarwood. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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Syracuse's James Southerland played for Cardozo's Judges. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Kentucky guard Doron Lamb cheers on his team. AP Photo/John Bazemore
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Florida guard Erving Walker played high school hoops at Christ the King in Middle Village. AP Photo/Bill Haber

The talent developed on the sandlot courts and high school hardwood of Queens will once again go on display Thursday in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Among those from the borough:

James Southerland, a 6-8 Syracuse forward, is a native of Bayside who played at Cardozo High School where he averaged 17.6 points per game. Most recently Southerland hit 15 points in the 75-59 Syracuse victory in the NCAA opening round over Kansas State.

Syracuse meets Wisconsin Thursday night at 7:15 p.m.

Erving Walker, at 5-foot-8 and 177 pounds, might seem out of place in an era when most basketball players on the court top 6 feet. But Florida Coach Billy Donovon said, “He’s had an incredible career for a guy his size. He has a really, really competitive mindset.” Walker also set a school record for assists.

Russ Smith averaged 29.6 points per game as a senior at Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood. Smith has suffered numerous injuries while a Cardinal.

Louisville meets Michigan State at 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

Doron Lamb of the No.1 Kentucky Wildcats was born in Laurelton but played high school basketball in Brooklyn. Coach John Calipari said “as far as knowing the game and having a feel for it, he has it.”

Kentucky meets Indiana at 9:45 p.m. Friday.

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