Towson boys basketball faces challenge with small lineup

Every county has a team the so-called big boys would prefer to avoid.

Even if it is a program with minimal tradition and few, if any, high-profile players, the team's craftiness and toughness makes it a difficult opponent.

Towson High could be that squad this winter.

“We had a lot of lazy guys last year,” said Towson third-year coach Ali Brown, whose team features a small lineup. “But we have guys this year that give us effort. We will be better with the energy level. They like to take charges and get on the floor. They like to be scrappy on defense.”

Point guard Dante Daniels (5 feet 10) arrives from Calvert Hall well respected.

Brown says the junior transfer can direct the club with precision and savvy as the quickest player on the Generals’ roster.

“There’s not many guys we have seen that can stay in front of him,” Brown said. “He will cause a lot of problems for bigger guards. He’s really smart, can shoot it and is patient. That’s what we are going to need for our young group. I expect Dante to have a huge impact.”

Daniels’ presence allows senior Kylle Gaspay (5-8), Towson’s lone returning starter, to move to shooting guard.

“We wanted to maximize his potential by moving him off the ball,” Brown said of the reasoning for the switch. “He had a game in a Christmas tournament last year where he played off the ball and scored 16 points. That’s the most comfortable he’s been.” 

Browns needs some added scoring punch with the graduation of leading scorer Leroy Dillard, a shooting guard, and power forward Alex Pine, who averaged close to double figures last year.

Two returning seniors — small forward Tanner Meeks (5-8) and center Joseph Weir (6-3) — claim starting roles and give the Generals more scoring options.

Four players promoted from last year’s JV, junior forward Hammond Dugan (6-0) and junior guards Tyriq Wilson (5-7), Nick Testoni (5-6) and Amir Delfino (5-6), offer depth and versatility.Brown has been especially impressed with Dugan.

“He’s great around the basket, has great athleticism and is a very smart player,” the coach said. “He’s played with that varsity swagger even though he’s been on the jayvee the last two years.”  

Senior forward Andrew Cooper (6-2) and sophomore guard Joseph Xiu are also expected to contribute.

“If we fight and finish in every game, it will be a good season,” said Brown, whose team went 5-15 last year and 7-13 in 2015. “We are undersized. Teams are going to see our size and press us. We gave up in a lot of areas last year. A lot of times walked into the gym and we felt defeated.”

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