By: Maximillian O. Espinoza

This year’s edition of the NCAA’s March Madness tournament has brought a lot of excitement to college sports fans across the country. After the first four days of the tournament, it now enters the Sweet Sixteen, or third round of the tournament. But four out of the sixteen teams left in the Sweet Sixteen features a player on its roster that has played in NorCal. So with that in mind, let’s look at the players who are NorCal in this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament.


The first player from NorCal representing Arizona Basketball is Keshad Johnson. Keshad played his senior season of high school at San Leandro High School, where he was considered one of the top 25 players in the state of California for the class of 2019. Last season, he led San Diego State University all the way to the NCAA National Championship game, where he scored 14 points and had four rebounds against UConn. After graduating from San Diego State in 2023, he enrolled at Arizona as a fifth year senior, where he helped lead the Wildcats to a 27-8 record, and a No. 2 seed in this year’s March Madness tournament. In addition, Keshad Johnson was placed on the preseason watch list for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, which is given to the top power forward in men's collegiate basketball.

A familiar face for San Diego State this season is Darrion Trammell, who scored 13 points and 3 rebounds in last year’s National Championship game. Darrion graduated from Saint Ignatius College Prep, where he received first-team All-West Catholic Athletic League in his senior year, and played his freshman year of college at City College of San Francisco. Where he was elected First-Team All-California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and Led City College of San Fransisco to a 30-0 record.

Coleman Hawkins out of Sacramento has been a consistent player for the Fighting Illini and was a star at Prolific prep for 3 years and starting his high school at Antelope HS.

In addition to last year’s returning cast, San Diego State has recruited some new faces to its program with guys like BJ Davis and Miles Byrd. BJ Davis graduated Modesto Christian High School in 2023. In BJ’s senior season at Modesto Christian he was selected as a California All-State third-team honoree, a Sac-Joaquin Section co-MVP, named the Sacramento Bee’s Player of the Year, and was ranked as the No. 18 point guard nationally and the No. 18 recruit of the state of California. While Miles Byrd graduated from Lincoln High School in 2022. His senior season was arguably his best as he was a Top-100 Nationally ranked recruit (No. 89), was the No. 10 overall player in California, was named first team All-Northern California by MaxPreps, and was TCAL (Tri-City Athletic League) co-Most Valuable Player of the Year.

Jared Mccain is one of the most well known players in the country started his career in Sacramento before moving to socal in 8th grade to play for powerhouse Corona Centennial. Jared has trancended the game with his viral tiktoks and amazing on court play. Safe to say he is changing the game. 

Neal Begovich (Duke)
Joaquim ArauzMoore (Gonzaga)
Cade Alger (SDSU)
Demarshay Johnson Jr. (SDSU)
Ryan Schwarz
Desai Lopez