Loyola College athletic director Joe Boylan, a longtime basketball man who was an assistant coach at Rutgers when that school went to the Final Four, says Maryland's Johnny Rhodes is "the best freshman I've seen in 25 years."
Boylan is a good friend of Maryland coach Gary Williams and has watched Rhodes and the Terps in action. Asked to compare Rhodes with Kenny Anderson, who was a star at Georgia Tech as a freshman and is now with the New Jersey Nets, Boylan replied, "Rhodes is stronger."
* Devin Boyd's game-high 23 points looked good in the box score of Towson State's 71-61 win over Loyola Tuesday night, but the Tigers' backcourt ace clearly is rusty after his one-year layoff. He sat out last season after breaking his elbow in the first game.
Boyd, at his best, is a major talent with NBA potential, but not the way he's playing at the moment.
Boyd is still a little thick in the middle, and he tires easily. That was evident from the way Loyola stripped him of the ball three times. That sort of thing didn't happen two years ago when Boyd was East Coast Conference Player of the Year.
Boyd should run off a pound or two in Towson's next game at Oklahoma Saturday night. Oklahoma will play Maryland here at the Arena Jan. 19.
* A Towson player who impressed me in his debut off the bench is freshman Ralph Blalock, who was Delaware high school player of the year at Sanford Academy last year.
Blalock made his only shot against Loyola but handles himself like a veteran.
Says Boyd of Blalock: "Ralph's an outstanding player. The only thing he has ahead of him is me."
* Dunbar High's defending national basketball champions, ranked No. 4 this preseason, open their season tomorrow at Edmondson with four new starters (only Keith Booth returns). That lack of experience would have most schools hoping for respectability by late season. Not Dunbar.
Says coach Pete Pompey: "We're hoping to be tough late and early."
Next Tuesday night Dunbar will play New York's St. Raymond's High here at the Arena in the Charm City/Big Apple Classic with proceeds going to the Fuel Fund.
* Baltimore County's top high school football players hope to end the five-game win streak of the Maryland Scholastic Association stars Sunday at 12.30 p.m. at Homewood in the 10th annual Greater Baltimore Football Classic.
Poly athletic director Mark Schlenoff, who has worked on the football game for all 10 years (the MSA leads the series, 7-3), hopes the move to Hopkins from Poly's Lumsden Stadium will attract more spectators.
* New York Giants general manager George Young has been in the hospital three times in his life: when he was born 62 years ago at Baltimore's Mercy Hospital, when he had his tonsils removed at age 13, and for six days (ending Monday) with a flu bug he could not shake. Young went back to work yesterday. Returning to face the Giants' 5-7 record and the media flap over coach Ray Handley's future is not going to make Young feel any better.
* That was a wonderful memorial honoring held at Johns Hopkins University this week for dean emeritus G. Wilson Shaffer, who died this fall at 91.
Shaffer, a product of the Baltimore City public schools, came to Hopkins as a student in 1920, and in the words of the current president, William C. Richardson, "He never left."
Shaffer, a man ahead of his time, led a unique experiment in American college athletics in the '30s by eliminating athletic scholarships, paid admissions and gate receipts at home or away.
Said athletic director Bob Scott at the ceremony, held, appropriately, in Shaffer Hall: "Dean Shaffer thought universities should get out of the entertainment business. Today, we go to NCAA conventions and hear presidents advocate the sort of thing Wilson Shaffer implemented here nearly 60 years ago."
Shaffer must have loved a student like Hopkins' Michael House, a sophomore tackle who was just named to the Centennial Conference All-Academic team. House, a biology major, has a 4.0 average. That's straight A's. House is from Beaver Falls, Pa., the same town that produced Joe Namath and Jim Mutscheller.
* Fight promoter Stu Satosky was pleased with Martin's West as a boxing venue last week except for one thing: The ceiling is too low to allow for TV bouts.
Says Satosky: "I hate to keep going back to the past, but when we were doing shows at Painter's Mill, USA-TV loved the place. It was built as a theater, and it was perfect for TV. If Painter's Mill hadn't burned down, we would be having four to six shows a year from there on USA."