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MIDWEST REGIONAL

Maryland will have a local feel to its games

March 12, 2007|Robyn Norwood

That tired old West Coast reputation for too much offense and not enough defense is taking a beating, and not only because of the style of play coaches Ben Howland and Tim Floyd have brought to UCLA and USC.

Two of the five players named to the Atlantic Coast Conference all-defensive team are Maryland teammates from Southern California: D.J. Strawberry, who played at Santa Ana Mater Dei, and Ekene Ibekwe from Carson High.

Strawberry, a senior guard and the son of former major league player Darryl Strawberry, was third in the ACC in steals.

Ibekwe, a 6-foot-9 senior, led the ACC in blocked shots.

Maybe the practice he got last summer paid off. Ibekwe, born in the Los Angeles area to Nigerian parents, played for Nigeria in the FIBA World Championship in Japan and rejected one of Dirk Nowitzki's shots during a 22-point, 10-rebound performance in a one-point loss to Germany.

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