Jake Negus and Blake McCann played together at Janesville Craig.
They have worked out together some during summer offseasons, and their in-state college campuses are a little more than an hour’s drive from each other.
So, naturally, the two squared off against each other—in Las Vegas.
Negus, a sophomore at Edgewood College in Madison, faced McCann, a freshman at UW-Platteville, at the D3Hoops.com Classic at the South Point Hotel two days after Christmas.
“It’s pretty funny that it happened it Vegas, but it was just really cool to play against him,” said Negus, a 2017 Craig graduate. “Him being a freshman and getting the minutes he’s getting and playing well, it was just fun.
“It’s a little weird, because they’d probably be one of our closest games if we were to go to another in-state school to play a game, and we end up in Vegas.”
McCann and the Pioneers brought home the bragging rights, winning 80-57.
McCann, a 2018 graduate, scored seven points in 14 minutes for Platteville, which led by just three at halftime. The Pioneers beat Johns Hopkins in overtime the next day to claim the tournament title.
Negus finished with 11 points and three assists in 30 minutes.
“We were matched up against each other quite a bit when we were on the floor at the same time, so that was fun,” Negus said.
Negus has been a starter pretty much since he stepped on campus for Edgewood last year. He started 25 of the 27 games he played in as a freshman and all 13 games so far as a sophomore.
Negus leads the Eagles in scoring at 17.8 points per game and has a team-best 12 steals.
The team is off to just a 3-10 mark on the season, but Negus said he feels a tough nonconference portion of the schedule has Edgewood ready for play in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
The Eagles played two of the top contenders to open league play last week and lost by three in overtime to Concordia-Wisconsin and by four to MSOE.
“I don’t think we’ve really played to our potential yet,” Negus said. “We played some ranked teams and actually competed pretty well. We’re starting to figure things out. We have five games on the road in a little stretch right here. If we can get a couple wins and get through that, we should be pretty good.”
Last week, we took a look at some area high school graduates who are playing in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
This week, a look at some notable area graduates playing collegiately outside the WIAC:
Brodhead graduate Carly Mohns, who wrapped up her career at Iowa last year, decided to finish with one year at UW-Green Bay. She has started all 13 games and is averaging 4.6 points for the Phoenix, who are 7-6.
Adam Anhold, who graduated from Craig with Negus, transferred to Madison College for second semester last year. He’s currently leading the Wolfpack men’s basketball team, scoring 18.5 points and grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game.
Elkhorn Area High alum Alex Easterday starts alongside Anhold and is averaging 7.6 points for Madison College, which is 7-7.
Alison Hughes, a Craig graduate, is wrapping up her college career in her second season at Nova Southeastern. Hughes is averaging a team-best 13.2 points per game and is shooting 48.7 percent from beyond the arc. Nova, a Division II program, is 7-6.
Northern Michigan sophomore Alec Fruin, a two-time Gazette area player of the year at Beloit Turner, has played in all 13 games for the Wildcats and is averaging 4.3 points.
Janesville Parker graduate Carlos Campos missed about a month of the season for Lakeland College, but he returned this past week. In seven games, he’s leading the Muskies at 17.7 points per game.
Kaitlyn Foster, a Concordia-Wisconsin junior and Parker grad, is averaging five points in 11 games this season.
Evansville High grad Kyle Rutkowski is a junior at Ripon College. He’s started all 13 games for the team, which is 8-5, and is averaging 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Whitewater grad Myriama Smith-Traore, a two-time Gazette player of the year, is sitting out this season at St. Louis after transferring from Marquette.