Patterson senior guard Rysheed Corbin wasn't happy when he saw one of his younger teammates messing around at practice the other day.
When the same sophomore again was more playful than focused during a later drill, the Forest Park transfer had seen enough.
"Pick it up or go — we're trying to win here," Corbin yelled across the gym.
One thing Corbin's new teammates and coaches quickly learned is he doesn't hold back. When asked why he decided to move on to Patterson for his senior year, Corbin, a 'B' student who played three varsity seasons at Forest Park, was just as direct.
"Transferring was a big deal for me because this was the one team I felt like I could win a state championship with," he said. "Forest Park was good, but there wasn't enough there for me to win."
Corbin — 5 feet, 11 inches of explosive energy — takes the same approach on the court. His versatile play has paid big dividends for the No. 5 Clippers, who take a 12-1 mark into this week's 18th annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State.
Patterson will play No. 11 Randallstown at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, one of five boys and girls games set for the opening day. The three-day tournament runs through Saturday night.
Averaging a team-high 20 points to go with five rebounds and 4.5 steals per game, Corbin immediately settled in with the Clippers. Just as important, he's added confidence and leadership to the team's talented roster.
"He reminds me of [former Patterson standout] Aquille Carr in terms of his desire to win and his energy," coach Harry Martin said. "He plays 32 minutes for us and never stops. He just keeps going and going the whole game."
With Patterson already returning a quality guard tandem in Dereck Oliver and Kwynten Brooks, Corbin has been the ideal complement. While Oliver and Brooks tend to lead by example with hard work and consistent play, Corbin is tough and brash. His relentless play gives the team a new dimension.
"He's brought a lot of excitement, and we're getting up and down the court a lot more this year," said Oliver, who's been Corbin's teammate in summer ball for six years. "Last year, it was just me and Kwynten [taking most of the shots] and we had to slow it down.
"With Rysheed here, we can play more up-tempo. If we need him to score, he scores. He gets rebounds. He gets steals. He's giving hand outs to everyone. He's just a stat stuffer who does everything."
While some of the team's younger big men were still adjusting early in the season, Martin asked Corbin to help out more on the boards. He responded with consecutive double-digit rebounding efforts.
At Laurel's Spartan Holiday Classic against Suitland in December, Corbin poured in 19 first half points and the Clippers led by as many as 18 before the Rams rallied to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Corbin answered with a long 3-pointer, then scored on a tough drive to the basket and hit a free throw to seal the win.
He finished the game with 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals after playing all 32 minutes. It was a typical effort from Corbin, who has showed an ability to do whatever the team needs to win.
"Down the stretch, knowing you have somebody that not only takes the big shot but has the confidence to hit them and has done it before, that's big," Martin said.
Poly coach Sam Brand can attest.
With his Engineers leading Patterson at halftime on Jan. 7, he warned his players that the Clippers wouldn't let up. The biggest reason? Corbin, who finished that game with 23 points and led Patterson to a 68-62 win.
"You just know, whether he starts the game well or not, he's going to come at you every possession and he does it at both ends of the floor," Brand said. "All the little things you ask kids to do to win, he just inherently does them. And toughness is definitely the No. 1 word to describe him.
"When you have a kid with that much playing experience on an already good team, it's huge. We gave up a second-half lead to them because of his toughness and what he brings to the team — it's a never-quit attitude."
As a newcomer, Corbin wasn't named a captain, but he knows he has the characteristics to lead the team, and he thrives on the challenge. He wants everybody to play hard, tries his best to make teammates around him better and lets his tireless play do most of his talking.
What's it going to take to win a state title?
"Heart," Corbin quickly responds.
How much do you want it?
"A whole lot," he replied.
Basketball Academy games on Thursday
Aberdeen vs. No. 14 New Town, 4:15 p.m.
No. 5 Patterson vs. No. 11 Randallstown, 6:45 p.m.
No. 10 Poly vs. Largo, 8 p.m.
No. 11 City vs. No. 7 Aberdeen, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Poly vs. No. 14 New Town, 5:30 p.m.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun