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TEAM-BY-TEAM BALTIMORE CITY CAPSULES 1994-95 HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Archbishop Curley Friars

1993-94 record: 2-23. Coach: Dan Popera.

Top players: Ryan Hax, 5-11, Sr., PG; Jason Karolkowski, 6-2, Sr., F; Greg Loftus, 6-0, Sr., G.

Outlook: Popera is counting on his three returning seniors to set a good example and improve on last season's record (5-44 over the last two seasons). The Friars have a little more height than they had in previous seasons, so an improvement in their rebounding will be a key if they're to make a run at a playoff spot in the MIAA B Conference.

Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders

1993-94 record: 26-8. Coach: Ray Mullis.

Top players: Josh Davalli, 6-5, Jr., F; Rick Fuller, 6-1, Sr., G; Keith Phoebus, 6-1, Jr., G; Vernon Collins, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The defending Catholic League regular-season and tournament champs lost their nucleus with the graduation of Steve Wojciechowski (Duke) and Jerard Rucker (Morgan State). Five players return, including Davalli, one of the area's best outside shooters. The Crusaders lack in rebounding and quickness, but will make up in hustle, which could keep them in contention.

Carver Bears

1993-94 record: 10-10. Coach: Durce Jackson.

Top players: Gerald Ragler, 6-4, Sr., F; Jason Johnson, 6-6, Sr., C; Nathan Wingo, 5-11, Sr., G; Broderick Wooden, 5-11, Sr., G.

Outlook: Three players return for Carver. Ragler and Johnson form one of the city's better front lines, and Wingo is an offensive threat, but Jackson is worried about having a dependable point guard to run the team.

City Knights

1993-94 record: 10-10. Coach: Wayne Cook.

Top players: Steven Walker, 5-11, Sr., PG; Harvey Dennie, 6-1, Sr., F; Warren Smith, 6-2, Soph., F; Tyron Harris, 6-4, Jr., C.

Outlook: Cook doesn't want to call 1994-95 a rebuilding season, but with the graduation of all five starters (eight overall) to graduation, that's what it may turn out to be. The Knights don't have much height, but Cook says that their speed and intensity should make up for it. Cook thinks that his team must be able to beat the other teams outside of Dunbar in the 2A-3A League to at least match last season's mark.

Douglass Ducks

1993-94 record: 13-10. Coach: John Nash.

Top players: Vernon Foster, 6-4, Sr., C; Michael Miller, 5-11, Jr., G; Gilson Rogers, 5-9, Jr., G; John Holiday, Sr., 5-11, G; Lamont Prillman, 6-1, Sr., F.

Outlook: The Ducks were the surprise team last March, falling three points short of winning the state 3A title, so they won't be sneaking up on anyone this season. Five experienced players return for Nash, but he lost his backcourt in Robert Smith (graduation) and Alphonso Jones (transferred to St. Frances). Nash is hoping a backcourt nucleus can develop quickly to complement his quick front line. Douglass will be a factor in the race for second behind Dunbar in the 2A-3A League.

Dunbar Poets

1993-94 record: 25-3. Coach: Paul Smith.

Top players: Tommy Polley, 6-5, Jr., F; Billy Wells, 6-2, Sr., G; Robert Foster, 6-6, Sr., F; Marvis Thornton, 6-5, Sr., F; Jeryl Singletary, 5-7, Sr., G.

Outlook: Injuries and the extended football season have made the preseason less than smooth for Smith, who was the interim coach last season. The Poets won't be as big in the front line with the graduation of Norman Nolan (Virginia) and Rodney Elliott (Maryland), but maybe more athletic with Polley, Thornton and Foster. Dunbar's strength will be in the backcourt, where Wells and Singletary have matured. Barring no major injuries, Dunbar should have no problem winning a third straight state title.

Edmondson Redskins

1993-94 record: 11-10. Coach: James James.

Top players: Lamont Branch, 6-6, Sr., C; James Sumpter, 6-4, Sr., F; Derek Glaspie, Sr., 5-9, G; Terrell Smith, 6-2, Sr., G.

Outlook: Four starters return for the Redskins, who lost to Southwestern in the state 4A North region quarterfinals last season. Smith was the Redskins' second-leading scorer last season, but James thinks that the play of Branch and Sumpter inside will be a major key. Lack of bench depth could be a !B hindrance for the Redskins in the competitive 4A League.

Forest Park Foresters

1993-94 record: 2-18. Coach: Carnell Reavis.

Top players: Jeremy Marsh, 5-10, Sr., PG; Lemuel Foster, 6-3, Soph., F; Jermaine Pickett, 5-10, Sr., G/F; Quincy Evans, 6-2, Sr., F.

Outlook: The Foresters look to bounce back from a dismal 1993-94 season, returning five players. Reavis is counting on his experienced players to minimize the mistakes that plagued them last season. Forest Park won't have much size, but Reavis is hoping his team speed and quickness will compensate.

Friends Quakers

1993-94 record: 7-11. Coach: Randy Cooper.

Top players: Geoff Sanders, 6-4, Sr., C; Will Sieck, 6-2, Sr., F; Dan Munoz, 6-1, Jr., F; Bob Michel, 6-4, Soph, F.

Outlook: Another team that figures to contend in the MIAA B Conference, Friends has six players returning. Cooper thinks if the Quakers play smart and shoot the ball, they will be a factor. A big question mark is at point guard, where Atman Smith transferred to Gibbons and Hiram Holt has been slowed by health problems.

Gilman Greyhounds

1993-94 record: 16-8. Coach: Marty Meloy.

Top players: Corey Popham, Sr., 6-1, G; Chris McLamb, Jr., G; Lorne Smith, Sr., 6-4, C; Mark Abraham, Sr., F; Jason Mersey, Jr., F.

Outlook: Meloy replaces Tim Holley, now athletic director at Haverford (Pa.) School. Eight players return, but the Greyhounds lost the school's all-time leading scorer, Jimmy Fields, to graduation. Meloy says "a total team effort" will be needed for them to be competitive, especially in the MIAA A Conference.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1993-94 record: 16-7. Coach: Charlie Moore.

Top players: Shawnta Rogers, 5-4, Sr., G; Guy Butler, 6-7, Sr., C; Reggie Frazier, 6-4, Sr., F; Ronald Byrd, 6-1, Sr., G; Jimmy Moore, 5-7, Sr., PG.

Outlook: Four starters return for the Lakers, ranked No. 14 nationally by USA Today and No. 10 by Street & Smith's. Rogers is the area's top college prospect and the addition of All-Met Guy Butler from Woodlawn gives the Lakers an inside force to complement the outside shooting of Rogers, Frazier and Byrd. While scoring should not be a problem for the Lakers, stepping up defensively will be the key for them in the 4A League and reaching the state 4A semifinals in March.

Mervo Mustangs

1993-94 record: 1-19. Coach: Woody Williams.

Top players: Duncan Anderson, 6-1, Sr., F; Jamaal Collins, 6-3, Sr., F.

Outlook: Williams returns to the Mustangs bench, replacing John Blake. Williams coached the Mustangs to the state 4A playoffs in 1992-93, but he faces a rebuilding project the second time around. Anderson and Collins are the only returning players with experience and eight players are up from junior varsity.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

1993-94 record: 12-15. Coach: Pat Clatchely.

Top players: Daniel Whye, 6-8, Jr., C; Cheo Thomas, 6-2, Sr., G; Corey McNeill, 5-11, Soph., PG; Kyle Skinner, 6-4, Jr., F.

Outlook: Four players return for the Gaels, including Whye, who is emerging as a solid Division I prospect. Clatchely says his team will be young with five players up from the junior varsity. How quickly those players adjust probably will tell if Mount St. Joseph becomes a contender in the Catholic League.

Northern Vikings

1993-94 record: 10-11. Coach: Paul Holmes.

Top players: Tyree Brown, 6-2, Sr., F; William Jernigan, 6-2, Jr., G; Anthony Lee, 6-3, Jr., F; Tyree Canty, 5-11, Jr., G.

Outlook: Five players are back for the Vikings, including Jernigan, one of the area's top scorers as a sophomore last season. Northern lacks overall size, but Holmes thinks his team will be competitive. Northern's home floor is being redone and won't be ready until the beginning of January, so the Vikings have had to practice on a smaller court, which is a concern.

Northwestern Wildcats

1993-94 record: 5-7. Coach: Mel Washington.

Top players: Tyrone Barnes, 6-2, Jr., F; Enamuel Clark, 6-2, Jr., F; Gerald Goode, 6-0, Sr., G; Antoine Jackson, 5-10, Sr., G.

Outlook: With a mixture of seniors and underclassmen, the Wildcats could be in the hunt for second in the 2A-3A League. Washington thinks that his team's quickness and depth give them the potential to be one of his best teams. The Wildcats' ability to rebound is their major weakness.

Patterson Clippers

1993-94 record: 5-13. Coach: Larry Alexander.

Top players: Andre Poole, 6-1, Sr., G; Anthony Harrison, 6-3, Sr., F; Damon Hazelton, Sr., 6-3, F; Keenon Jackson, 6-5, Sr., C; Terrance Allen, 6-0, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Clippers may be a darkhorse for the state 4A playoff berth, returning seven players. Allen and Poole form a solid backcourt, but Patterson was hurt by the loss of Harry Hurst (transfer to Lake Clifton) and Colin Jones (withdrew from school). The Clippers lack height, but Alexander thinks if they play smart and consistent, they will be competitive in the 4A League.

Poly Engineers

1993-94 record: 17-6. Coach: Bucky Kimmett.

Top players: John McLean, 6-1, Jr., G; Martin Prosper, 6-4, Sr., C; Justin Robinson, 6-1, Sr., G; Owen States, 6-2, Jr., F.

Outlook: McLean is the only returning starter for the Engineers, who lost to Douglass in the state 3A North region finals last season. Kimmett expects to play pressure defense and use the entire bench since the Engineers lack height and consistent outside shooting. The Engineers will be a factor in the 2A-3A League and should qualify for the state playoffs.

St. Frances Panthers

1993-94 record: 13-8. Coach: William Wells.

Top players: Mark Karcher, 6-5, Soph., F; Keon Chavez, 5-9, Sr., G; Alphonso Jones, 6-1, Jr., G; Darnell Dantzler, 6-0, Jr., G.

Outlook: With eight players back from a team that reached the Catholic League Tournament finals last season, the Panthers are the favorite to claim the title this season. Karcher is one of the country's top sophomores and Jones, who transferred from Douglass after helping it to the state 3A title last season, gives St. Frances an outside scoring threat. The Panthers may be the quickest team in the league.

Southern Bulldogs

1993-94 record: 23-1. Coach: Meredith Smith.

Top players: John Hemsley, 6-5, Jr., F; Marlon Wise, 6-0, Jr., G; Kofi Pointer, 6-8, Jr., C; Shante Barnes, 5-9, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Bulldogs lost their top six players to graduation, including last season's All-Metro Player of the Year Kevin Simpson (Dixie JC in Utah). Hemsley and Wise saw considerable playing time last season and should lead Southern. Southern has a solid flock of guards, but how fast their front-line players develop will be crucial for the Bulldogs as they challenge for the 4A League crown and a third straight state title.

Southwestern Sabres

1993-94 record: 19-5. Coach: Terry Leverette.

Top players: Reginald Johnson, 6-0, Jr., G; Ernie Evans, 6-6, Sr., F; Danta Lloyd, 6-2, Jr., F; Stanley Parker, 6-2, Sr., C; Aaron Jolly, 6-2, G.

Outlook: Five players return for the Sabres, who lost to Southern-Balto. in the state 4A North region finals last season and should challenge for the 4A League title. Johnson and Evans are two of the city's top performers and Lloyd (cousin of Syracuse's Michael) is an offensive threat. The Sabres will be more aggressive offensively and Leverette thinks if they can improve defensively, they will eclipse last season's mark.

Walbrook Warriors

1993-94 record: 10-11. Coach: Gus Herrington.

Top players: Travon Broadway, 6-3, Sr., F; Chris Reynolds, 6-7, Sr., C; Marvin Matthews, 5-7, Sr., G; Antwon Jenifer, 5-9, Sr., G; Kevin Elliott, 5-11, Sr., G.

Outlook: Herrington suffered his first losing season at Walbrook, but the Warriors should bounce back. Matthews and Jenifer are quick and steady in the backcourt and Broadway (a second-team All-City/County pick last season) and Reynolds are solid front-line performers. Herrington is concerned about getting consistent rebounding from the power forward spot, but the Warriors will be in the thick of the 4A League race with Lake Clifton, Southern-Balto. and Southwestern.

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