Before we dive headfirst into this week's pool of "Q's & A's" let me remind county student-athletes about something very important.

You may want to start gathering information for your All-County Academic Athletic Team ballot, which will start running on these pages in January.

The Anne Arundel County Sun once again will be searching for the county's best student-athletes.

All county high school students will be eligible to apply for what will be the ninth annual Anne Arundel County Sun All-County Academic Athletic Team. We will be looking for those student-athletes who successfully blend the rare qualities of excellence in academics and athletics.

To answer some of you who have been calling the 24-hour Sportsline (647-2499) be on the look out for the official application ballot, which will start running after the holidays.

Now let's get to this week's "questions without answers" session and don't forget if you have a response or "Q" of your own, please call the 24-hour Q-Line, 647-2499.

* Did you know that back when Glen Burnie's notorious Charlie Eckman was getting ready to take the head coaching job of the Fort Wayne Pistons in the NBA in 1953, he scouted a player at McClymonds High in Oakland, Calif., who he says was better all-around than the guy's teammate and eventual Hall of Famer Bill Russell?

"(Orioles manager and Hall of Famer) Frank Robinson could do it all," said Eckman. "He was All-NBA as a high schooler. Russell could play defense, but Robinson could do everything."

Robinson, of course, never gave hoops a shot and instead signed out of high school with the Cincinnati Reds.

And for you old-time basketball lovers, did you know that Eckman said another baseball star, the flaky Dick Allen, who attended Seton Hall, was a better player than Bob Cousy?

As Charlie, the legendary Baltimore broadcaster, would say, "How's about them apples?"

Isn't it great that Eckman is going to be honored in February by the horse racing community with the prestigious Tesio Award for his contributions to the sport?

* While nothing is yet final, isn't it good to hear that Joe Cannon Stadium supervisor Don Brooks say that fees to use the new state-of-the-art baseball stadium will be "more than fair and reasonable?"

* Did you know Lew Holmes, the president of the Anne Arundel Amateur Baseball Association, is going to stick his neck out and serve as host to the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 18 and Under World Series in the summer of '91 regardless of what he has to pay to use Cannon Stadium?

But isn't Holmes hoping for a break from county Rec and Parks since he will be pumping revenue into the local economy with all the out-of-town people a tournament of that magnitude brings in?

* Isn't it great to hear that Brooks and Joe McCann, the director of Rec and Parks, have responded to the legitimate needs of improving the playing conditions for the county's popular Men's 50-and-over Softball League at Southgate Field in Old Mill?

* Did you know that the colorful George "Wacko" Kelch is still looking for players and/or teams for his inaugural Men's 50 and Over Volleyball League that is set to begin in January? If you are interested in playing or putting a team in, give Kelch a call at 437-8889.

* Wasn't it a great example of how advantageous an early college signing can be when St. Mary's stellar girls hoopster, Laura Coakley, signed for a full scholarship to Wake Forest, then severely injured a knee in the Saints' second game, which could keep her out for awhile?

* Have you gotten a load of the holiday tournament the two-time defending state 4A champion Broadneck girls hoop team will play in over Dec. 27-29 at James Madison High in Vienna, Va.?

Is the Journal Warhawk Winter Classic loaded with talent or what, with four of D.C.'s top girls teams (as rated by the Washington Post) participating in top-ranked Madison, No. 14 Paul VI, No. 18 Gar-Field and No. 19 West Springfield High?

Having drawn No. 18 Gar-Field in the first game at 2 p.m. Dec. 27, won't the Bruins have to stop Street & Smith's honorable-mention East All-American Charleata Beale, who is 6 feet?

* Isn't it a commendable gesture on the part of Broadneck High to conduct two 10-minute basketball games for Maryland Special Olympians at the halftimes of the Chesapeake-Broadneck doubleheader Friday night?

Page Serio of the Maryland Special Olympics in Glen Burnie said the idea of Broadneck boys lacrosse coach Clay White, who teaches and coaches at Marley Special School, is a first in the area.

"It's the first time it's ever been done in Anne Arundel County and the schools participating are Marley, Central Special and Ruth Eason," said Serio. "The kids have been practicing hard and are real excited about playing Friday night."

For more info call Serio at 760-8799 or Broadneck High at 757-1300.

* From an anonymous Meade boys basketball player, "Would you ask in your column why our football team has pep rallies and other sports teams, but not our basketball team?"

* Is Annapolis resident Bob Ferry, the ex-Bullets GM, about to become the next athletic director at Loyola College in Baltimore?

* Whatever happened to those high school hoop rules that were supposed to keep coaches in their little boxes and on their seats during a game?

* How many of you like the pep bands playing during high school hoop games as they do at Annapolis and Broadneck for creating a college atmosphere? Do they add something to school spirit or not?

* Are your local baseball coaches -- youth, high school and college -- going to take advantage of the Jan. 18-19 Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Clinic at BWI Marriott, especially to hear Texas Rangers pitching coach Tom House speak?

"Tom House is the best speaking on pitching as far as teaching kids how to throw," said Arundel High baseball coach Bernie Walter.

"It wouldn't even hurt football coaches to come in and listen to Tom talk about how to throw because the mechanics are the same. Tom House is excellent."

For more information, call Don Van Dusen at 313-7080 or Walter at 674-6500.

Why have only the Arundel and Severna Park coaching staffs signed up so far?

* By the way, why aren't more county high school baseball coaches, other than Walter and Old Mill's Mel Montgomery, actively involved in the fast-growing and very productive Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches?

* What if 20 days are added to the school year? What would that do to summer baseball and softball in terms of eligibility and schedules?

* Mike Williams of Glen Burnie asks, "Why can't soccer players kick for their high school football teams in county and state public schools as they do in the MSA (Maryland Scholastic Association)?"

* Finally, Paul Verrillo of Annapolis Area Christian School, who used to coach soccer at Annapolis High, called to tell everyone, "I'm not traveling to Africa to bring back a couple of long-distance runners to start a track program.

"Tell everybody I'm going to Kenya and Tanzania on a church-mission trip and will be back home for Christmas."

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