St. Frances' 2008-09 season will be tough to top.
The Panthers finished 33-5, winning the MIAA A conference and Baltimore Catholic League championships. SFA reached the finals of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational and participated in the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep.
Much of the Panthers’ success this season was thanks to senior forward Terrell Vinson, who transferred to SFA before the season from Montrose Christian. The 6-foot-7, 205-pounder averaged 23 points and eight rebounds per game, earning him a spot on The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro team.
“Man, I think he did wonderful,” St. Frances assistant coach Nick Myles said. “I think it was wonderful for him to get a chance to move and play out on the wing to get ready for the next level, and [it was great for] us to finish out the year nationally ranked and in the National High School Invitational on ESPN. I think it worked out for both parties. I think it was a dual benefit.”
Vinson, a four-star prospect and the No. 90 senior in the country, according to Rivals.com, is considering Maryland, UMass and Louisville, although the Terps and Cardinals both have uncertain scholarship situations.
“[He’ll decide] within the next month, but he’s not going to rush his decision,” Myles said.
Senior Trawn Rogers, a 6-foot-8 forward, also remains undecided on his college future. Davis & Elkins, a Division II program in West Virginia, has offered. Delaware State and Loyola have also expressed interest in Rogers, who averaged nearly 10 points per game.
“He’s a good shot blocker, he’s got great size and good athleticism, and he can shoot the jump shot,” Myles said. “He’s just got to get stronger. Once he gets stronger, he’ll be a pretty good college player.”
Junior shooting guard Wayne Sparrow was St. Frances’ lone committed prospect, having pledged to Richmond in October. The 6-foot-2, 165-pounder averaged more than 13 points and five rebounds per game this year.
“To me, he’s the best shooter in the area, hands down,” Myles said. “He started to get more athletic, more explosive. I think he’s going to be a great Atlantic 10 player. Wayne’s the type of player that, from the start, he can be an All-Freshman team type of kid. He’s just really smooth, and when he gets in the rhythm, he can really shoot the ball.”
Sparrow was joined on the BCL second team by classmate Dante Holmes. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooting guard has plenty of options already. According to Myles, Holmes averaged around 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals per game, and is being recruited by George Mason, Loyola, Miami, Morgan State, Providence, Temple and UMass.
“He was our most valuable player defensively, especially late in the year,” Myles said. “What he was doing was focusing on defense. While he was doing that, he was improving on offense. With so many offensive weapons, you’ve got to wait to get in the flow. But when you’re playing hard defense, you get in the flow offensively. Once he realized that, he had a great year.”
“UMBC came in the other day and coach [Randy] Monroe loves [Jones],” Myles said. “I think he’ll be a great player at a Patriot League or America East school. He’s very, very good academically. ... Carlos is the same thing. Good academically, a small Division I kid. But he’ll be a great player at that level.”
Two sophomores cracked St. Frances’ starting lineup this year. Center Greg Lewis, 6-8, 200 pounds, averaged nine points and nine rebounds per game, while point guard R.J. Williams, 5-8, 155 pounds, put up about 10 points and seven assists. Both players have already been recruited by a variety of high-major programs.
“Greg’s definitely going to be an ACC, Big East type,” Myles said. “R.J.’s a great player. I don’t know how big he’ll go because of his size ... but he’s maybe the quickest kid I’ve ever seen with the ball. If he grows, he’s definitely an ACC or Big East kid. ... The sky’s the limit for Greg and R.J.”
Myles mentioned three additional Panthers underclassmen to watch next season, all of whom contributed this year. Sophomore guard Karrell Goines, 5-10, 165 pounds, was often the first player off the bench and made his biggest impact on the defensive end. Freshman center Josh Forney, 6-8, 230 pounds, and freshman shooting guard Shaquir Brown, 6-4, 175 pounds, were both moved up from St. Frances’ undefeated JV squad and have definite DI futures.
St. Frances received an unexpected boost last summer when Vinson decided to transfer to SFA. There aren’t any new additions lined up now, but that could always change in the coming months.
“It’s early. Summer hasn’t started,” Myles said. “But I think with the nucleus we have coming back, I think we’re going to be really good, even without anybody [transferring in].”
Credits: Baltimore Sun photos of Terrell Vinson, Dante Holmes and R.J. Williams by Kenneth K. Lam, Patrick Smith and Elizabeth Malby.