Two gifted point guards who are headed to major college basketball programs on full scholarships were honored yesterday as The Baltimore Sun's High School Athletes of the Year.
Steve Wojciechowski of Cardinal Gibbons and Kacy Williams of Hammond had their well-documented athletic lives move to a new level when they received the awards.
Wojciechowski will attend Duke on a basketball scholarship, where he will be one year removed from following Bobby Hurley as point guard. Coach Mike Krzyzewski watched Wojciechowski play 10 times and then told him he wanted him to come to Duke.
"Coach K told me he sees a lot of himself in me," said Wojciechowski in explaining why the Duke coach wanted him to run his offense. "He said he wants me to be a leader and coach on the floor. Coach K has always worked hard, and I guess he sees that same work ethic in me. I know it's a challenge, but I'm confident of my ability to play at Duke."
When the 5-foot-10 Wojciechow- ski was profiled on ESPN2's Scholastic Sports America Honor Roll program for his athletic and academic (3.8 grade-point average) achievements, he was referred to as the nation's Pete Rose of high school basketball for his hustle and determination.
Wojciechowski averaged 19.1 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals and 4.0 rebounds in his senior season, earning 19 basketball awards, including Gatorade's Player of the Year honor for Maryland, recognition in The Sporting News and the Army ROTC "Leaders Pursuing Excellence" award.
When asked what he thought were his main assets on the basketball floor, he said: "It's the intangibles, the little things that add up to a lot, and hard work. I don't think anybody realizes how hard I had to work to get into this position."
On a slow day in the summer, it is 2 1/2 hours of working on basketball for Wojciechowski.
One phase of the game that comes naturally for him is the assists.
"All my life I've been around giving people," he said. "Especially my mom [Mary] and dad [Ed]."
It was his parents who talked Wojciechowski into playing on the Severna Park 8-10-year-old recreation council travel basketball team.
"I didn't like basketball that much at that time and really loved soccer," he said. "Now I think basketball is great."
He continued to play soccer at Gibbons and was involved in the scoring of all 24 of his team's goals (14 goals, 10 assists) last fall.
Wojciechowski donated the $1,500 scholarship he won at the Charm City Classic to St. Vincent's Orphanage in Towson because he did not need it to attend Duke.
Williams, like Wojciechowski, has put together a super high school athletic and academic (perfect 4.0 average) career and has been rewarded with a chance to attend a high-profile Big East school, Georgetown.
Williams' speed helped make her an exceptional point guard.
"I love to run the fast break and get the ball to the open man," said Williams. "I get a little crazy on the break sometimes, but my strong point is making the right decisions."
Georgetown women's basketball coach Patrick Knapp also is impressed with Williams' defensive intensity and ability to play man-to-man. He offered Williams the scholarship during the early signing period last November.
Since Williams moved from Clarksville Middle School to Hammond High four years ago, the school's girls basketball program has taken off.
The Golden Bears were 1-24 the year before Williams arrived, but have since had 12-12, 22-4, 21-5 and 24-1 seasons. Hammond won state Class 2A championships in 1992 and 1994.
"I get a lot of satisfaction out of the fact that we went from 1-24 to 24-1 my senior season," said Williams. "And the fact we were ranked 24th in USA Today this season."
In her senior season, Williams averaged 11 points and nearly eight assists and had a team-high 143 steals. She did not miss a game in four years, set a school one-game assist record with 18 this season and finished her career as the school's all-time leader in scoring (1,216) and assists (533).
Among her many basketball awards are being named to the Maryland Women's Basketball Coaches Association Senior All-Star and All-Academic teams.
Williams also received several national and local awards for playing soccer, was a member of the National Honor Society and had a sports talk show on cable channel 6 in Howard County called "Kacy's Corner."
She plans to study journalism and become a television news anchor.
Williams also didn't want to play basketball as a youngster. At the age of 9, she only played basketball because her brother, Craig, was playing.
"I wanted to be doing something because he was," she said of her brother, now 15.
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Kacy Williams, Hammond
Steve Wojciechowski, Gibbons
Michael Watson, St. Paul's
Amanda White, Dulaney
Victor Carter-Bey, Gilman
Amanda White, Dulaney
Larry Washington, Randallstown
Dana Johnson, Western
Chris Lafferman, Poly
Betsy Given, Broadneck
Derrick Love, Meade
Jenny Parsons, Glen Burnie
Jerry Roney, Woodlawn
Rosemary Kosiorek, Mercy
Jill Moore, Severna Park
Brett McGonnigal, Loch Raven
Jenny Achziger, F. Scott Key
Mark Carper, Atholton
Missy Spicer, South River
Antoine Harris, Randallstown
Lori Amos, Milford Mill
Ted Brown, Gilman
Pat Welsh, Loyola
Laurie Governor, Howard
Azizuddin Abdur Ra'oof, Northeast
Sandy Wilson, Liberty
Larry LeDoyen, St. Paul's
Donna Neale, Oakland Mills
Richard Bosley, McDonogh
Debbie Paladino, Centennial
Darryl Gee, Oakland Mills
Rachel Clary, Sparrows Point
Jim Traber, Wilde Lake
Jim Wilkerson, Gilman
Laurie Taylor, Annapolis
Calvin Maddox, Dunbar
Karen Stout, Bel Air
Ray Finch, Westminster
Mike Austin, Gilman
David Cornwell, Hereford
Vincent Kinney, Calvert Hall
Kurt Seibert, Mount St. Joseph
David Tickner, Gilman
Jeff Grantz, Bel Air
Barry Scroggins, Mount St. Joseph
Jeff Bradford, Dundalk
Jack Thomas, Towson
Mike Creaney, Loyola
Tom Gatewood, City
Don Russell, Southern