From The Big Gym to the Big Stage!

O’Dowd has three former Dragons playing in March Madness. Who they are, and how they got there.


Raven Robinson, Contributor

Let the madness begin! The biggest tournament in college basketball, March Madness, is back to crown the 2022-23 champion. The tournament hosts the best 64 teams in division I college basketball, all aiming to play for a national title at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on April 3rd 2023. 

Three former Dragons are playing in the tournament Cade Ronzone ’20, Austin Ronzone ’20 competing with the Arizona State Sun Devils, and Ross Williams ’18 from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. “My experience so far at the tournament has been really special! Austin Ronzone beams. “The NCAA goes out of their way to make sure you never forget the experience of being there,” The O’Dowd alumni shares. “My first two years at Arizona State, we did not make the tournament, so it was a big deal for Cade and I to make it.” Austin finishes. 

In accordance with the Ronzone Twins, participating in the tournament was a historic accomplishment for Ross Williams and his teammates. “It’s a dream come true, walking into an arena and playing in front of 15,000 people,” Ross says. More than a dream come true, making the tournament was the result of the success Ross and the Islanders had all year . Beating Southeastern Missouri State 71-75, made history as Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s first-ever tournament victory. “Just knowing that we had a chance to make history, I knew I had to lock in,” Ross spoke of the game. “When you’re under the bright lights, you gotta shine, and my teammates and coaches put me in the position to succeed”. Ross said, and that is precisely what he did, scoring 13 points along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. “His confidence, perseverance, and focus is what enabled him to be successful at such a high level” Ross’s former coach Lou Richie stated.  

 Coach Richie and O’Dowd Basketball was a large part of all three players’ journey to the Division I level. Cade Ronzone says, “O’Dowd basketball prepared me for the next level through its intense practices and coaching”. “The practices were geared for a college like) setting, with how long they were, the drills and the amount of conditioning involved.” Austin Ronzone also believes that Coach Lou Richie helped prepare him for his time at Arizona State. “Having Coach Lou, who has played division I basketball, as your coach really helps as he knows what it takes to succeed there,” Austin reflects. The love goes both ways! “They were two incredible personalities while at O’Dowd!” Coach Lou stated in his recognition of the Ronzone twins. 

Austin Ronzone  credits O’Dowd Basketball for helping build his character. “O’Dowd basketball prepared me in many ways from on-the-court discipline and off-the-court maturity”. O’Dowd has built all 3 athletes into hard working human beings who want to share their knowledge with the next generation. “Take advantage of being at a school like O’dowd as it’s just gonna prepare you for the next level.” Cade beautifully reflects on the strengths of the O’Dowd community. Part of the recipe for success is balance and joy. “Enjoy it and focus on the present,” Ross Williams says about high school. Make sure to always find  joy!