Terry Maczko’s strategy for turning Baltimore City Community Collegeinto a JUCO power was simple: load up on this city’s top high school talent.
After guiding the Panthers (25-12) to the Region XX tournament championship and a sixth-place finish in the national tournament, Maczko saw no reason to change his approach to building a team – even as BCCC prepared to move up to the Division I junior college level for the 2012-13 season.
Former Forest Park star Quentin Judd headlines Maczko’s Baltimore-heavy incoming class. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard will be joined by point guard Ronald Epps (Digital Harbor), forward Justin Kuntz (Glen Burnie) and guard Aaron Parham (Dunbar). BCCC has also signed former Towson shooting guard Will Adams, and power forward Lamont Huggins, a Douglass grad who spent his freshman season at Jones County Junior College in Mississippi and will redshirt this season.
“I’ve been here going on six years now, and we’ve been able to turn the program around to the point where I think the basketball community sees it as a much more viable option for the players in town,” Maczko said Monday. “We’ve developed to a point where we went to the national Elite Eight this year and finished sixth in the country. We’ve had some guys moving on. Now it’s become more of an option that guys are considering.”
Coming out of high school, Judd had Division I interest from Florida Gulf Coast, George Mason, Iona, UNC-Wilmington, Virginia Tech and Washington. But academics prevented Judd from landing a scholarship offer. Instead, he moved on to a prep school in North Carolina, but returned to town shortly thereafter because of a “family issue.” Judd enrolled at Pensacola (Fla.) State College this summer, but came back to Baltimore and had his former coach at Forest Park, Greate White, reach out to Maczko.
“We talked and decided this was the place he wanted to go. He definitely wanted to be closer to home,” Maczko said. “He’s a big, athletic guard. He’s a scorer, so he’ll bring some firepower to our offense. We’ve got a lot of talent this year, but he’s another guy who can score. He’s a legitimate mid-major – at least mid-major – type of talent.”
Adams, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard, missed two years of basketball while battling stage 4B Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Philadelphia native had originally signed with Towson under Pat Kennedy, but he stayed committed when Pat Skerry took over the Tigers. As a freshman last season, Adams averaged 1.9 points and 1.2 rebounds in 27 games.
“He’s been in summer school with us this year, doing some workouts,” Maczko said. “And his big thing is we want to make sure he’s on a path to graduation so that he can get back to Division I. He was not interested in transferring out of Towson and sitting out a year, especially after sitting a couple years coming out of high school. He’s a big, strong guard who can shoot the 3. He’s got a lot of range. Coming out of high school, he was a legit mid-major talent.”
Maczko acknowledged that Judd and Adams “make for a pretty formidable combination at the guard spot.” But BCCC’s incoming group goes beyond just those two players.
In Epps, Maczko said he has a true point guard that is preoccupied with “playing good, solid defense and … distributing the basketball to the right guys in the right place at the right time.” Parham has “the body of a junior at a four-year school,” and knows how to win after helping the Poets to three consecutive Class 1A state championships. And Kuntz, a 6-foot-7 combo forward who spent his freshman season at Polk State in Florida, has impressive “ball-handling skills around the basket … and is very athletic.”
“That’s kind of the theme of the team we have – there’s a lot of athleticism on this team,” Maczko said.
The Panthers lost former Forest Park forward Carlos Smith (who has signed with Bowie State) to graduation, but will return other former city standouts in Sean Farr (Dunbar) and Warren Wright (Northwestern). Maczko said Wright is a high-Division II prospect, while Farr should go Division I, provided he takes care of his academics. Maczko said he’s excited to see how all the pieces of his roster come together this fall.
“Looking back over the past four or five years from where the program came, we’ve done a lot not only in terms of the talent level we have here, but the facilities and the academic monitoring program,” he said. “We’ve turned into a solid program. We’ve averaged over 21, 22 wins the last three years. We have some sustainability as a program. We’re just going to keep getting a little bit better every year.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun