Closings & delays

Dunbar hoops' three DI senior prospects

Few Baltimore seniors had a busier summer than Dunbar point guard Corey Spence.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder spent time on the AAU circuit with the New York Gauchos, Triple Threat D.C., and Nike Baltimore Elite’s 16-and-under team. He put an exclamation point on the summer two weekends ago at the All-Star event at The Dome in East Baltimore, filling up the stat sheet in points and assists before the game was called due to thunder and lightning in the area after the first quarter.

Spence, who averaged 12 points, five assists and nearly three steals per game as a junior, is just 16 years old. But he held his own against older competition on the circuit this summer.

“He did alright this summer,” said Cyrus Jones, Dunbar’s head basketball coach. “He had a little trouble finding stability and finding a home. But he wound up having the opportunity to get some exposure on the circuit playing against different competition. He had a chance to get seen, which is what the summer’s all about.”

Spence is still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but plenty of schools have made contact, including Tennessee-Chattanooga, Navy, Niagara, Quinnipiac, Elon, Coastal Carolina, UNC Greensboro, Lehigh, Delaware, St. Bonaventure, Florida Atlantic and Stony Brook.“He got into the gym and he worked hard,” Jones said. “He continued to play, nonstop. That’s very key. A lot of times kids don’t put in work in the gym to work individually on their games. Corey took the time. ... He’s quick and he definitely has good anticipation skills.”

Derrell Edwards was the usual recipient of Spence’s distribution skills. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior shooting guard led the Poets last season with about 18 points and five rebounds per game, according to Jones.

Edwards spent most of the summer away from the AAU circuit, choosing instead to concentrate on his academics. After quarterbacking the Dunbar JV team as a sophomore, Edwards didn’t play football as a junior. He has since returned to the gridiron as a wide receiver. Poets football coach Lawrence Smith said last month he has the “potential” to be a Div. I football player. But Edwards is already a Div. I basketball recruit.

“I think Derrell will do well at a mid-major program, more so [because] it will give him the opportunity to play and compete and get on the floor,” Jones said. “I think that’s where he’ll be more dominant. Overall, he does have the skills to play at a high DI program. I don’t know if he’ll be ready to go in that position next year. [He will be more successful] at a mid-major.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has already offered Edwards a scholarship. The Islanders feature three Baltimore natives in their program -- assistant coach Kevin Norris (Lake Clifton), senior small forward Kevin Palmer (Parkville) and sophomore guard Terrence Jones (Lake Clifton). George Mason, James Madison and Towson have also inquired about Edwards, Jones said.

Roderick Camphor, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior guard, averaged around 10 points per game for the Poets last season. Camphor didn’t play AAU this summer, but UMBC “expressed some interest” after seeing him work out.

“He’s definitely a future college guy as well -- maybe low-major DI,” Jones said. “He has great versatility and skills. He can play anywhere from the 1 through 3. He’s a good shooter and a great ball-handler. He’s just got to be a more consistent player. Sometimes he’s laidback, behind the scenes and lets Spence and Derrell go to work. But we’re going to be asking a lot more of him.”

Last season the Poets went 23-4, falling to eventual state champion Digital Harbor in the regional championship game. With Spence, Edwards and Camphor leading the way, Jones expects more success for the Poets this season.

“I have high expectations for us this year due to the fact of us having a lot of returning players,” Jones said. “We’re returning 12 players from our 15. We’re going to be a small team, but we should still be able to be competitive on defense. We’ll mix things up.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Derrell Edwards (left) and Cyrus Jones by Kenneth K. Lam / Nov. 25, 2008

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