PSL Final Four Participants

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Northwestern product Chris Douglas-Roberts appeared in his first Final Four in 2008 as a member of the Memphis Tigers. He is one of at least the 22 PSL product to appear in the men’s Final Four since its inception in 1939. (Photo

The NCAA tournament began in 1939, but most felt that the NCAA tournament was the consolation tournament during the tourney’s first two decades, much like the NIT is viewed today.

At least 18 Detroit Public School products have been on the roster of a team that participated in an NCAA Final Four.  (They may have been a benchwarmer or academically ineligible, but they were on the team.) has also indicated the seasons when a Michigan university made the Final Four, even if no PSL product was on the team.

We also have a second list that shows when a PSL product was on a school’s freshman team during the same year that the varsity made a Final Four appearance.  For years freshmen were ineligible to play varsity basketball, so scholarship freshmen and non-scholarship freshmen played together on the freshman team.  For the sake of argument, we have included these players because if the freshman-rule did not exist they may have been on the varsity.  (Please let us know if we forgot any.)

Today the winner of the NIT can chant “We’re number 1!” but the fans of those teams that made the NCAA’s field of 65—today’s Big Dance– may snidely remark, “You’re number 66!”  Since the NIT enjoyed about two decades being thought of as “the big tournament,” will have a PSL NIT Final Four Participants in the near future.  We’ll also do the Final Fours for NCAA DII and DIII, NAIA, NJCAA (JUCO) DI and DII, too.  We would be ignorant to exclude the Final Fours of the Historic Black colleges who, for years, were excluded or “limited-by-design” from the aforementioned tournaments.  Be patient and check back.  You can help by sending us the names of PSL products that played in those Final Fours.

Walter “Pinky” Thompson, University of Southern California (USC), Central

Dave Scott, Michigan State, Cooley

Bill Buntin, Michigan, Cass Tech/Northern
Oliver Darden, Michigan, Western
Bill Yearby*, Michigan , Eastern

Dennis Bankey, Michigan, Detroit St. Thomas
Bill Buntin, Michigan, Cass Tech/Northern
Oliver Darden, Michigan, Western

Alan Hardy, Michigan, Northwestern

Gerald Gilkie, Michigan State, Kettering
Greg Kelser, Michigan State, Henry Ford

Jarvis Basnight, UNLV, Butzel Middle School (had left the state by high school)
Derrick Coleman, Syracuse, Cooley/Northern

Marvin Branch**, Kansas, Murray-Wright

University of Michigan, no PSL participants

Anderson Hunt, UNLV, Southwestern

Anderson Hunt, UNLV, Southwestern

Jalen Rose***, Michigan, Southwestern
Michael Talley***, Michigan, Cooley

Jalen Rose***, Michigan, Southwestern
Michael Talley***, Michigan, Cooley

Todd Burgan, Syracuse, Benedictine/Pershing

D Bryant, Duke, Cass Tech
Shamar Herron, Ohio State, Cass Tech/West Bloomfield/Pershing
Ken Johnson, Ohio State, Henry Ford
Michigan State, no PSL participants

Michigan State, no PSL participants

Michigan State, no PSL participants

Maurice Ager, Michigan State, Crockett
Brandon Jenkins, Louisville, Southeastern

Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, Cass Tech/Northwestern

Michigan State, no PSL participants

Derrick Nix, Michigan State, Murray-Wright/Pershing

University of Michigan, No PSL Participants

Michigan State, No PSL Participants

Rico Ozuna-Harrison, Michigan, Cass Tech

University of Michigan, No PSL Participants

Michigan State, No PSL Participants

*-Bill Yearby was a scholarship football player at Michigan but appeared in one varsity basketball game during the 1963-64 season for the Wolverines.

**-Marvin Branch started the first 14 games for Kansas during the season of 1987-88, but became academically ineligible.

***-Jalen Rose and Michael Talley did each appear in two different Final Fours, but those years have were marred by the undue influence scandal and U-M had to abdicate its appearances.

Freshman Team Members
Alex Omalev*, USC, Northern

Gerald Peaks, Michigan, Eastern
Jim Pitts, Michigan, Northwestern

Willie Solomon, Louisville, Northern

* is still researching Alex Omalev, but we have reason to believe that Omalev was on the freshman team at the University of Southern California (USC) during the1939-40 season when the Trojans made it to the Final Four.  In 1943, during his senior year, Omalev was the Trojans’ second leading scorer.

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