Are they rooting for Duke at the Southwest Philadelphia Police Athletic League center at 59th and Elmwood? They have no choice, said Officer Cedric Jones, who runs the PAL center.
Jones first got to know Duke's Amile Jefferson when he came into a PAL center at 46th and Woodland when Jefferson was 9 years old. Since then, wherever Jones has worked, Jefferson has dropped in, including 11th and Huntington and 32d and Tasker.
Jones' current office, he admits, is sort of a shrine to Jefferson.
Other locals to root for:
Steve Vasturia, Notre Dame, from St. Joseph's Prep and Medford.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona, of Chester.
Rysheed Jordan, St. John's, from Vaux High and Philadelphia.
Jabril Trawick, Georgetown, from Abington Friends and Philadelphia.
Markus Kennedy, Southern Methodist, a Villanova transfer from Philadelphia.
Nick Lindner, Lafayette, from Germantown Academy and Doylestown.
Eric Stafford, Lafayette, of Pitman High.
Matt Klinewski, Lafayette, from Eastern High and Voorhees.
And here are some local coaches:
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin, of Chester
Fran McCaffery, Iowa, from La Salle High and a former Penn assistant.
Fran O'Hanlon, Lafayette, a St. Thomas More High and Villanova product.
And the best local player for an out-of-area school who won't be playing is Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas, who would have been one of the better big men in the tournament.