COACH OF THE YEAR
* Gerald Moore, Arundel -- The controversial Moore led the Wildcats to their first region title and trip to the Final Four at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House in 20 years.
"There was a lot of pressure when we got on top, more than I thought there would be, but I worked my tail off and put it in overdrive," said Moore, 73-65 in six seasons at the Gambrills school.
"Our program came a long way the last couple years.
"Chet Lipton [JV coach] won a county title three years ago [20-0 this year] with some of the guys who helped us on the varsity this season together with the transfers and we made it all work."
The Wildcats shared the 4A county title with Annapolis and won the 4A East region with victories over Calvert, 83-77 in overtime, and Northern-Calvert, 85-74.
Ranked No. 6 in the final Sun poll, Arundel was 21-4 overall, including an 87-70 loss to eventual state champion and top-ranked Lake Clifton in the semifinals at College Park. The 20-win season also was the first in more than 20 years at Arundel.
A 1983 graduate of Division II Hampton (Va.) Institute and Eastern High in Washington, the 6-foot-7 Moore played pro ball in the Dominican Republic for a couple of years before landing a teaching position at the middle-school level in the county nine years ago.
His first coaching position was an assistant to Lee Rogers with the Arundel boys team. When Rogers moved over to coach the girls, Moore was elevated to head coach of the boys.
"I remember the five-win season [his first in 1989-90] and the first three years [all losing] before we had the first winner," said Moore referring the 15-8 season in 1992-93, the school's first winning campaign since 1979.
"Preparing this year was not always enjoyable, but we got through the hard times because my ego was bigger than theirs [the players]."
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Desmond Dailey, Glen Burnie, 6-2, Jr. -- The only underclassman on this year's first team, Dailey led the county public school league in scoring during the regular season with 22.4 points per game for the 12-11 Gophers.
He averaged 7.1 rebounds (164), and had 34 assists, 53 steals and 16 blocked shots.
Dailey, who has followed in the footsteps of his dad, Tony, a 1977 grad of Glen Burnie, had a county season high of 47 points (five short of county record) in an 87-66 victory over South River. The forward had six three-pointers in that game and had eight in a game against Severna Park this season.
Dailey hit 55.2 percent of his two-pointers, shot 34.1 percent from three-point range and 64.3 percent from the foul line.
* Corey Davis, South River, 5-9, Sr. -- Davis scored more than 1,300 points in his three-year varsity career in Edgewater,
including 501 in 24 games this season, an average of 20.9 per game.
Second team All-County as a junior, Davis led the 15-9 Seahawks to the 2A East semifinals, handing out 5.2 assists a game.
An athletic and quick guard, Davis also was a standout defensively for coach Ken Dunn.
* Kevin Higgins, Arundel, 6-3, Sr. -- Higgins' agreeing to move from shooting guard to the point was vital to the Wildcats' run to Cole Field House.
In 24 games for the No. 6 Wildcats, Higgins averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
"We had no one to play the point, and when he took it over, we were on our way," said coach Gerald Moore of Higgins, who won two games on last-second shots.
Higgins was second on his team in steals (83) and blocked seven shots. While directing the Wildcats' offense, the three-year starter, who hopes to play junior-college ball, av
eraged a team-high accuracy of 51 percent from the floor and 34.8 from three-point range. At the line, Higgins sank nearly 71 percent of his free throws.
* Ronnie Johnson, Annapolis, 6-4, Sr. -- Johnson, second team a year ago, was the 15th-ranked Panthers' go-to guy in their 19-5 season that took them to the 4A East semifinals.
In 23 games, Johnson averaged 16.7 points per game and pulled down 5.3 rebounds a game. Opposing teams concentrated on stopping Johnson's patented left-handed scoops and short jumpers in the paint.
The junior college-bound forward score 735 points in his two varsity seasons.
"Ronnie had some great games for us early in the season, and that gave us a lot of confidence which led to a playoff season," said coach John Brady.
* Alhamisi Simms, Severn, 6-2, Sr. -- Simms scored 1,111 points in two varsity seasons for the Admirals, including 583 in 31 games this season for an average of 18.8 points a game.
In leading the 10th-ranked Admirals to an overall mark of 25-8, Simms had 233 rebounds (8.0 per game) and 64 assists.
Severn played in 10 tournaments over the last two seasons, and Simms was MVP in eight of them. He lost out on MVP honors at the school's first Christmas tournament this year to blue-chip guard Shawnta Rogers of Lake Clifton.
"Misi [Simms] is going to visit St. Joseph's (Pa.) of the Atlantic 10 Conference this weekend, and I think he can play there," said coach Wayne Fowler.
* Bakari Ward, Arundel, 5-10, Sr. -- Another second-teamer a year ago with South River's Corey Davis, Annapolis' Ronnie Johnson and and Severn's Alhamisi Simms, Ward was the Wildcats' main man on offense, averaging 22.8 points per game, tops in all games played by public school teams.
Ward, who scored 1,035 points in two seasons at Arundel after transferring from Severna Park, scored 569 points this season including 23 in the 87-70 loss to Lake Clifton in the 4A state semifinals.
Despite his height, Ward took the ball inside better than many big men and averaged nearly six rebounds a game to go with over five assists per outing.
He also led the Wildcats in steals (89) and had 16 blocks from his guard position.
His 50-footer at the buzzer gave Arundel a 68-67 victory at Broadneck on Feb. 3, allowing the Wildcats to gain a season split with the Bruins.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JASON SMITH
Broadneck senior Jason Smith is the only repeater from last year's first team and caps his brilliant four-year varsity career as Player of the Year.
Blessed with extraordinary poise and versatility, Smith "is absolutely the best we've ever had here," said coach Ken Kazmarek. Smith's No. 31 was retired by the Bruins this week. Assistant coach Kenny Wood, The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Year in 1989, is the only other Bruin to have his number retired.
Headed for Rutgers on a Division I football scholarship as a wide receiver, Smith averaged 20.0 points a game for the No. 7-ranked Bruins (22-3) to finish as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,662). He accumulated the second highest career point total in county history.
The 6-foot-2 Smith, an All-County player three straight years, also is the Bruins' all-time best in assists (420) and career steals (211), and is third in career rebounds (499).
This season, Smith led the Bruins in scoring, assists (133), steals (77) and had 174 rebounds. He shot 48 percent from the field (37 percent from three-point range) and 70 percent from the free-throw line.
He scored 25 points in the Bruins' 46-44 loss to Thomas Johnson in a state 3A semifinal game last week at Cole Field House.
"Jason has to go down as one of the top five players in Anne Arundel County history," said Kazmarek.
PICKING THE TEAM
The Baltimore Sun 1994-95 All-Anne Arundel County boys basketball teams were selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.