Continuing success after high school
Members of 2010-11 NP state title hoops team shine in college
North Point head boys basketball coach Jimmy Ball can still hear the sound of the final buzzer that marked the program’s elusive first-ever state championship during the 2010-11 season. He can still recall that team being a family on and off the court.
“You always saw those guys together in the hallways. This group had great chemistry and they bought in to the system and understood their roles,” Ball said. “I challenged them every week and they were selfless. They played hard and were hungr y to win.”
It was an epic moment for the Eagles as they made history on Saturday, March 12, 2011 inside of University of Maryland’s Comcast Center, now known as the Xfinity Center, in College Park when they celebrated a 76-72 win over 5-foot7 sophomore phenom guard Aquille Carr and the Patterson Clippers of Baltimore in the Class 4A state final to cap off an impressive 27-0 undefeated season before more than 11,000 fans in attendance.
The valiant finish for North Point marked the first time since 1972 that the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference boasted a state champion in boys basketball.
“It all started with those
guys. They helped put North Point and the conference on the map,” said Ball, whose team was the proverbial underdogs entering the state tournament, despite being undefeated that season. “We were only a varsity program for four years and go undefeated and winning a state title, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Six years later, several members from that North Point team — including the starting five which featured Marquis Wright, DeVonte’ Thomas, Naim Muhammad, Gerel Simmons and Tre Mouton — went on to have successful playing careers in college, at the professional level overseas or other work-related endeavors.
Thomas, who was Eagles’ leading scorer (17 points per game) and senior shooting guard during that state title run, went on to play four years of college at NCAA Division II ball at Augusta State University (Ga.) and now is in his second year playing professionally overseas — currently in Italy for the Serie C L.G. Basket team.
“We knew each other like the back of our hands and our chemistry was indescribable,” said Thomas, who was the program’s first 1,000-point scorer and was SMAC’s Most Outstanding Player and All-County Athlete of the Year in his senior season. “Aquille Carr is a great player don’t get me wrong, but that year our whole starting starting five was a problem and it was absolutely no way he could win alone. Plus, we had a few X-factors that could come in and play their role at a high level. We established something that hadn’t been done before and that game. It was so much tears of excitement after that game. It makes me happy to see my brothers doing well and I wish them nothing but the best.”
Wright, who a sophomore point guard with silky smooth dribbling and passing ability, was the Eagles’ floor general on that team. He recently wrapped up a brilliant career at NCAA Division I Siena, ranking third all-time in program basketball history in assists (614), fifth in steals (199) and 10th in scoring (1,546). He also boasted National Association of Basketball Coaches District I and All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference second-team honors as a senior.
“My favorite memory of winning states is when the game ended,” said Wright, who has future plans of playing pro. “I threw the ball in the air and looked around and saw all the fans cheering and it made me and my team feel special. I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s great see the starting five do well in college and overseas. There aren’t too many teams that do that and it’s a blessing to be a part of that.”
Simmons, a senior forward that season, keyed the Eagles with seven of his 19 points in the final 2 minutes 29 seconds to help clinch the state crown, including hitting all five of his free throws. He also had five rebounds and four steals.
As a redshirt senior in 2016, Simmons guided Lincoln Memorial University (Tenn.) all the way to the NCAA Division II championship game, scoring a game-high 35 points in the national semifinals in a 103-102 win over West Liberty University (W.Va.). Now he is playing professionally overseas in Argentina for Ciclista.
The then-sophomore power forward Muhammad led teamhighs of 20 points and 11 rebounds in the state championship game. After high school he went on to play four years at NCAA Division II Shepherd University (W.Va.) where he finished his career scoring over 1,000 points and grabbing over 500 rebounds.
“We had a lot of memories and when you look back we did something big in the community,” said Muhammad. “During the summer, all of us keep in touch when we can, but we followed each other stats online during college.”
Mouton, a junior during that time, was the Eagles’ defensive stopper as a 6-foot-3 wing player used his size and strength to keep Carr in check.
Mouton did not play college ball right out of high school until this past season where he averaged 9.4 points per game as a freshman at NAA Division III St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He is the son of current Westlake head boys basketball coach Edward Mouton Sr., who was an assistant under Ball during that state title run. The younger Mouton’s uncle Byron Mouton was a member of the 2002 University of Maryland national championship team under Gary Williams.
Matt Bonds, a 2013 North Point graduate, did not get significant playing time on that team, but went on to be a dominant big man in SMAC his next two years. He finished up a dominant four-year career with Division II Saint Michael’s College (Vt.), scoring over 1,500 points and grabbed over 1,100 rebounds as one of the top big men in the country.
His older brother Mark Bonds was a senior forward reserve off the bench that year and now works at ESPN in the music and audio department.
Marquis Wright, a 2013 North Point High School graduate, was the team’s starting point guard as a sophomore during the 2010-11 state title run for the Eagles. He recently finished up a stellar fouryear career at NCAA Division I outfit Siena in which he scored over 1,500 points and dished out over 600 assists.
Naim Muhammad, a 2013 North Point High School graduate, propelled the Eagles to a Class 4A state championship in 2011 with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore power forward during the 2010-11 season. He recently finished up his college career at NCAA Division II Shepherd University (W.Va.) and scored over 1,000 points and grabbed over 500 rebounds in his career.
Gerel Simmons, a 2011 North Point High School graduate, spurred the Eagles with 19 points to a Class 4A state championship win. He went on to help lead the NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University (Tenn.) to the national championship game in 2016, scoring a game-high 35 points in the national semifinals. He now is playing professionally in Argentina.
Tre Mouton, a 2012 North Point High School graduate, was the defensive stopper in slowing down sophomore phenom guard Aquille Carr in the Eagles’ 76-72 victory over Patterson in the Class 4A state championship game during his junior season. Now, 22, Mouton recently completed his freshman season at NCAA Division III St. Mary’s College of Maryland under head coach Chris Harney.