For the past two seasons, Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey has had a first hand look at a quality basketball player from the Baltimore Catholic League, watching Mount St. Joseph graduate Eric Atkins develop into a starting point guard for his Fighting Irish.
As the guest speaker at the second annual BCL Hall of Fame ceremony Thursday night, Brey praised the caliber of athletes to come out of the BCL and the leadership provided by BCL coaches of the past and present.
Brey, who is a Rockville native who played at perennial national power DeMatha, didn't hesitate when asked to name the common traits he has witnessed from BCL players.
"Toughness and fundamentally sound — they know how to play," he said.
Brey talked about hopping in his car during his early coaching days to go see Mark Amatucci coach at Calvert Hall; the valuable words he would soak in from Loyola's legendary coach Jerry Savage at summer camps, and so on. The coaches provided Brey with a coaching foundation, he said.
"As a 24-year-old JV coach wondering if you could ever be good at this, I would watch them and listen to them. I don't know if they know the effect they had as really being mentors to me at a young age," he said. "The coaches from this league are master educators. They're the kind of guys I want my son playing for. The coaches in this room , they're the kind of guys that make men out of boys and get young people to grow up. Eric is a great example of that."
Five others were honored at Rolling Road Country Club in Catonsville as the newest members of the Hall of Fame, joining the 14 players that comprised last year's inaugural class. In addition, Amatucci, who won 389 games in 19 years coaching at Calvert Hall, was also inducted along with one contributor and two honorary members.
Here’s a closer look at the BCL Hall of Fame Class of 2012:
Leon Dickerson, ’88 Cardinal Gibbons (posthumously): Three-year starter led the Crusaders to the BCL championship as a senior and ended his career as the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,937 points and third with 892 rebounds. Went on to enjoy a standout career at Holy Cross and as senior captain, led the team to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Darryle Edwards, ’81 Calvert Hall: Swing forward enjoyed a fine three-year varsity career at Calvert Hall, where he finished his career with over 1,100 points. After a fine career at Mount St. Mary’s in which he scored 1,275 points and add 459 rebounds, was elected into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1996.
Darnell Harris, ’04 St. Frances: As a four-year starter at St. Frances, he is the program’s all-time second leading scorer. Continued his career at LaSalle University and was a two-year captain who finished with over 1,500 points. Currently playing professionally overseas.
Phil Lane, ’96 St. Maria Goretti: Three-year starting point guard is the program’s career leader with 456 and also third on the list in scoring with 1,488 points. Went on to play at Manhatten and set the program’s single-season assist record with 176 in 1999-2000.
Robbie O’Conor, ’75 Loyola: Had a string of 88 straight starts from his sophomore season on and was the first Loyola player to surpass 1,000 career points. In leading the Dons to the BCL championship in his senior year, closed out averaging 25-plus points in his final four games.
Contributor: Larry Callahan, Cardinal Gibbons athletic director
Honorary inductees (players who played at BCL schools prior to when the league was formed in 1971-72): Barry Scroggins '71 Mt. St. Joseph; Gene Shue '49 Towson Catholic