COACH OF THE YEAR
Ray Mullis, Cardinal Gibbons -- In his 30 years at Gibbons, Mullis has coached All-Americans and lesser talents, but he has treated them no differently.
"One thing that I've learned," he said, "you can push a kid as hard as you want, but as long as you care about the kid, he will respond."
That philosophy paid off for Mullis, 59, during a memorable season.
On Jan. 25, he collected his 600th career victory in a 61-46 triumph over The Heights of D.C. The Crusaders won the Catholic League regular-season title -- the eighth of his career -- despite the loss of a starter to an already small squad.
In the tournament final Feb. 27 at Loyola College, Gibbons rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 90 seconds to defeat St. Frances, 70-66, giving Mullis his sixth Catholic League tournament title and 30th league or tournament title overall.
But for Mullis, it starts and ends with the kids, whom he credits for all his success. He has had many opportunities to become a college coach, but he is dedicated to Gibbons.
"I've been here since 1964, teaching algebra," said Mullis, whose career record is 611-343. "I enjoy the kids and basketball. It keeps me young."
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kevin Simpson, Southern-Baltimore, 6-5, Sr., G -- It was hard for ,, opponents to find a flaw in Simpson's game.
When he wasn't scoring, he was rebounding. When he wasn't rebounding, he was getting the ball to his teammates.
An All-Metro and All-Baltimore City first-team selection last season, Simpson averaged 21.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Southern, the area's No. 1 squad.
At the First National Bank Charm City Classic at Loyola College in late January, Simpson burned Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, one of the nation's top defensive units, for 34 points, a Charm City Classic record. The next night against Rice of New York, then the No. 1 team in the country, which featured Felipe Lopez, widely regarded the nation's best player, he scored a game-high 21 in a 66-58 victory.
After failing in past seasons to gain national recognition, Southern is ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today. At the state 4A Final Four last weekend, he scored 42 points in two
games, helping the Bulldogs to their second consecutive state championship.
Simpson, who hasn't scored the necessary 700 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, is being recruited by many major colleges, including Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Temple, George Washington and Oklahoma. He will participate in the Capital Classic on April 7 at Cole Field House and the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic on April 10 in Auburn Hills, Mich.
OTHERS ON THE FIRST TEAM Guy Butler, Woodlawn, 6-7, Jr., F -- When Donte Dudley, last season's Baltimore County Player of the Year went down with a knee injury, Butler filled the void and then some. He averaged 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds for Woodlawn, which reached the state 4A North Regional semifinals. He is difficult to defend inside and has good range from the perimeter.
Damon Cason, Southern-Baltimore, 6-2, Sr., G -- Cason's fancy ball-handling and outside shooting were sometimes accompanied by trash talk, but he backed it up. A first-team all-city selection last season and two-time All-Metro pick, Cason averaged 18.0 points and 9.9 assists for the state 4A champion. George Washington, Southern Cal, Northeastern, Georgetown and Boston College head the list of schools interested in him.
Haywood Eaddy, Southwestern, 5-8, Sr., G -- His coach, Terry Leverett, says Eaddy put too much pressure on himself, but that's how he wanted it. Eaddy averaged 19.9 points, 9.0 assists and 3.4 steals, despite missing four games late in the season with an ankle injury. Georgetown, Providence, Maryland Eastern Shore and Slippery Rock (Pa.) are recruiting him.
Rodney Elliott, Dunbar, 6-8, Sr., F -- Elliott emerged as a leader and as one of the country's top college prospects. Elliott averaged 12.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He may be the area's best all-around forward, a solid rebounder who can pass and hit the long jumper. Wisconsin, Clemson, Kansas and Maryland are pursuing him.
Donta Evans, McDonogh, 5-8, Sr., G -- When the game was on the line, Evans had the ball in his hands. His layup with four seconds remaining lifted the Eagles to the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship over Severn. He averaged 19.0 points, 4.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals. Lehigh, Lafayette, Pennsylvania, West Chester (Pa.) and Virginia Wesleyan are recruiting him.
Reggie Frazier, Lake Clifton, 6-4, Jr., F -- Frazier's quiet court demeanor sometimes hid his tremendous scoring abilities. A first-team all-city and second-team All-Metro selection last season, he averaged 17.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and shot better than 57 percent from the field. His ability to score from inside and outside made it difficult for opponents to defend him.
Norman Nolan, Dunbar, 6-8, Sr., C -- The man in the middle for three state title teams, Nolan averaged 17.4 points and 10.6 rebounds for the state 2A champion. A Super 25 pick by USA Today and a third-team selection on the Parade magazine All-America team, he will participate with Gibbons' Steve Wojciechowski in the McDonald's All-American Game on April 3. He will attend Virginia in the fall.
Shawnta Rogers, Lake Clifton, 5-5, Jr., G -- Some people like to compare Rogers to former Dunbar floor general Muggsy Bogues, but he showed this season that he is in a class by himself. He led Lake Clifton in scoring (20.4), assists (9.1) and steals (4.3) and was second in rebounding (6.2). He is the first Lake Clifton player to eclipse 1,000 points in a career. His quickness and perimeter shooting make him one of the country's premier juniors.
Steve Wojciechowski, Cardinal Gibbons, 5-11, Sr., G -- The leader of the Catholic League champions. Wojciechowski was the league's regular-season and tournament MVP. He is averaging 19.1 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals and 4.0 rebounds for the Crusaders, who will play in the Alhambra Invitational tomorrow at Frostburg State. Wojciechowski will participate in the McDonald's All-American Game on April 3 and the Capital Classic on April 7 at Cole Field House. He will attend Duke.
PICKING THE TEAMS
The All-Baltimore City/County girls basketball team was selected by Kevin Eck. The boys team was selected by Derek Toney. Both teams were selected after consulting with staff and city and county coaches.