Pat O'Malley has been covering high school sports, mostly in Anne Arundel County for The Sun for 27 years. Pat was inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Michael, Baltimore: Who do you think is the best team in the city?
Pat O'Malley: The Sun's No. 2 ranked team, Walbrook (19-2, thru Feb. 16), and No. 3 Dunbar (15-2) are the city's top two teams. Who is the "best" ? Well, we should find out on Wednesday when the two teams meet for the Baltimore City title at Poly at 5 p.m.
Raynard, Severn: I have three simple questions for you to answer. Why do you think Saint Frances is struggling this - is it the coaches or players? Is Jamal Barney that good in your eyes? Who are the top 5 swingmen in the city this year?
Pat O'Malley: On St. Frances - according to coach William Wells, the upperclassmen are not getting along with the underclassmen which has created internal problems. The Panthers have a lot of talent and sometimes you can actually have too much talent, which creates playing time problems and one basketball is not enough for so many to shoot. The only way they will do well in the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League playoffs is if the majority takes on an unselfish attitude - like sharing the ball and going to the open man, even if he is a rookie. As for the second part of your question, yes, Southwestern's Jamal Barney is outstanding - can score from anywhere (dunk and from the perimeter), handles the ball exceptionally well, plays good defense, is very quick and an intelligent player. As for the top five swingmen in the city (no special order): Barney and Richard Myers (Southwestern), Velmar Coleman and Rodney Spruill (Walbrook), Craig Singletary (Dunbar), and a sixth, St. Frances freshman Sean Mosley.
Braken, Baltimore: Where are the Dunbar seniors going for college?
Pat O'Malley: The Dunbar seniors have not announced where they are going to school. Nathan Irby, an All-Metro guard as a junior, was The Sun's Offensive Football Player of the Year and is a superb athlete who will likely have to choose between the two sports. Kyle Johnson, a 6-9 center, has been taking an SAT prep program and will soon return to play for the Poets. His size has schools more than interested. Guard Darron Edwards set records as an All-Metro pass receiver in football and could go either way. Craig Singletary has yet to decide and has been the Poets' most consistent player. As soon as we hear where they are going, we will let you know on the prep sports pages and on baltimore.sun.com.
Steve, Annapolis: Who holds the Anne Arundel County career scoring record and how does that compare to the state record?
Pat O'Malley: The Anne Arundel County scoring record for public schools is 1,823 by Vince Barnett of Southern-Harwood, followed by Marcus Neal of Annapolis, who had 1,744. As for the overall record, including private schools, Ken Case (1998-2000) of Calvary Baptist had 2,114, and Severn's Dennard Melton (1994-98) had 1,907 career points. As good as those totals are, they pale in comparison to the state records. Rodney Monroe of St. Maria Goretti (1983-87) in Hagerstown, holds the state record for career points at 3,047, followed by Quintin Dailey (1976-79) of Cardinal Gibbons with 2,844; Adrian Dantley (1970-73) of DeMatha, 2,709; and Barry Young, Mt. Hebron (1984-87), 2,153. Monroe, Dailey and Dantley all played in the NBA.
Ed, Millersville: How many total career points does Alex Buchholz from Old Mill have?
Pat O'Malley: Alex Buchholz of Old Mill has fewer than 1,000 career points in three varsity seasons as of Feb. 16, but he has an outside shot at the milestone if the Patriots go deep in the playoffs.
Mark, Baltimore: Do you think Walbrook will win a state title?
Pat O'Malley: With the likes of Velmar Coleman, Ed Tyson and Rodney Spruill, the No. 2 Warriors have a great shot to win a state title in Class 4A if they can get out of the 4A North Region that includes No. 4 Southwestern, Parkville, which is not to be taken lightly, Lake Clifton and Woodlawn, not to mention seven-time state champion Thomas Johnson of Frederick.
Vicki, Baltimore: Girls basketball question. Why are Arundel and Western still at the top of the girl's basketball prep polls when they have more losses than teams below them and they both play in easy conferences with hardly any competition?
Pat O'Malley: The conferences and schedules of No. 1 Arundel (18-3) and No. 2 Western (17-3) are a little better than you give them credit for, and both teams played in strong holiday tournaments. Two of the losses by top-ranked Arundel were to the D.C. area's No. 1 Riverdale Baptist, and their other loss was to No. 12 South River (17-4). Anne Arundel County, where Arundel plays, also has Severna Park (17-3) ranked No. 10. Western has lost to three quality out-of-area teams in Theodore Roosevelt (20-2), Good Counsel (21-3) and Holy Cross, all from the D.C. area. The Doves lost to Roosevelt The Washington Post's pre-season No. 1 team, by five. Rooselvelt is currently No. 3 in The Post, while Good Counsel is No. 4. Western also has victories over several ranked teams. Strength of schedule plays an important part in the rankings.
Joi, Randallstown: Why doesn't New Town get any respect?
Pat O'Malley: Being a new high school, no pun intended, New Town has earn its niche. They appear to be an up-an-coming program under coach Steve Baker. Their leading scorer, C. Henry, was listed No. 5 this week in The Sun's scoring leaders with his 22.5 ppg scoring average and featured as Athlete of the Week earlier this week on Channel 45. The New Town girls also have the fifth leading scorer in The Sun's stats in A. Awodipe, who averages 21.8 points. So that is some respect gained. Maybe the new school can make some noise in the Class 1A playoffs and earn a lot of respect.
Dwayne, Baltimore: What do you think can be done in order to get more city basketball players in college without having to go to prep school? If you have seen the movie "Coach Carter," do you think those methods would work?
Pat O'Malley: Coach Carter's methods would work if you got the support of the parents and the school system and got Samuel Jackson to play the part. In all seriousness, the keys are parental and school support in emphasizing and pushing the importance of doing the job in the classroom and taking academics nearly as seriously as they do basketball.
Dane, Baltimore: While I was discussing this year's season with someone, the subject came up of which individual has won the most games in their Baltimore Catholic League career. Let me reflect back and mention some names - Dwayne Ferrell, Mark Wilson, Juan Dixon, Mark Carcher, Darnell Harris, Quinton Dailey, Marty Johnson, Steve Wojciechowski, Rudy Gay, Carmelo Anthony, Rodney Monroe. If you've followed Baltimore basketball you know that these individuals not only could play, but many won high school championships, some won NCAA Championships, and some not only made it to the NBA, but went on to become NBA superstars. But did you realize, or overlook the fact that none of these gentlemen won more BCL games than Mount St. Joseph point guard Brian Johnson? This player is the most winning individual in the Baltimore Catholic League. Look back to the days when Gibbons was a powerhouse. Never was one individual more responsible for winning games and championships. We are currently witnessing BCL history. Regardless of whether Mount St. Joseph wins the BCL or the MIAA, Brian Johnson has made his mark.
Pat O'Malley: In his three-year career at the Mount as a point guard, Brian Johnson has led the Gaels to an 84-13 overall record going into this weekend's MIAA A Conference semis at Villa Julie. With the A Conference tournament, next week's Baltimore Catholic League Tournament at Loyola College and the Alhambra in Frostburg, Johnson has a shot at passing the 89-4 overall record of the 1979-82 Calvert Hall Cardinals that featured Marc Wilson, as well as brothers Darryle and Paul Edwards. The one thing those guys did that Johnson has not done, but could possibly do, is win the Alhambra. The '82 Cards are one of only three Baltimore teams to ever win the Alhambra, That season, the Mark Amatucci-coached team went a perfect 34-0 and won a mythical national title. However, the most games ever won by a BCL player belongs to Mark Karcher of St. Frances, who led the Panthers to three consecutive BCL titles (1995-97), the 1996 Alhambra title and a 97-23 overall record in his four varsity seasons.