HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Baltimore City

Archbishop Curley Friars

1994-95 record: 12-16.

Coach: Dan Popera

Top players: Mike Palmere, 6-3, Jr., F; Brad Bush, 6-4, Sr., C; Ron Ricccitelli, 5-11, Sr., G; Jamie Cruz, 5-10, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Friars improved from two victories in 1993 to 12 last season, but lost all-league performers Ryan Hax and Jason Karolkowski to graduation. Curley will be inexperienced with four sophomores and juniors, but will have more overall depth. Popera believes Palmere and Bush will improve the team's rebounding, and is encouraged by the fact the team played together during the summer. With the new setup in the MIAA B Conference, Archbishop Curley could be competitive.

Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders

1994-95 record: 18-14.

Coach: Bryan Moorhouse

Top players: Josh Davalli, 6-5, Sr., G; Vernon Collins, 6-3, Sr., F; Keith Phoebus, 6-2, Sr., G; Mike Simmons, 6-4, Sr., C; James Urban, 6-2, Sr., G; Reggie Jones, 6-2, Sr., F; Colin Moorhouse, 5-11, Sr., G.

Outlook: Moorhouse, a longtime assistant to the late Ray Mullis, begins his first full season as coach, returning all but one player from last season's squad. Gibbons' top seven players return, including Collins and Davalli, who form one of the area's best inside-out combination. Moorhouse thinks this could be the Crusaders' best offensive team, but will have to be competitive on the boards if they expect to be a factor in the Catholic League race.

Carver Bears

1994-95 record: 5-15.

Coach: Durce Jackson

Top players: Nate Wingo, 5-11, Sr., G; Tavon George, 6-5, Sr., C-F; Antoine Bennett, 5-10, Sr., G; Robert Williams, 6-4, Jr., F; Dante Townsend, 6-3, Sr., F; Derrell Johnson, 5-11, Sr., G.

Outlook: Only three players return for Carver, which suffered its first sub-.500 season since the 1988-89 campaign. Jackson likes his backcourt nucleus of Wingo, Bennett and Johnson, but Carver lacks height in the frontline, and depth. The Bears will be strong defensively and play aggressive, but will hard-pressed to reach the .500 mark.

City Knights

1994-95 record: 10-10.

Coach: Daryl Wade

Top players: Tyon Harris, 6-6, Sr., C; Dante Everett, 6-2, Jr., G; Jason Scott, 5-9, Sr., G.

Outlook: Wade, son of former Dunbar High and University of Maryland coach Bob Wade, replaces Wayne Cook, who resigned after five seasons. Wade has a young, inexperienced team, but hopes its overall quickness will create opportunities. Wade, a member of Dunbar's 1985 national championship squad, won't be contending for any kind of championship in the near future, but expects to be competitive.

Douglass Ducks

1994-95 record: 14-6.

Coach: Lynn Badham

Top players: Michael Miller, 6-0, Sr., G; Clarence Jones, 5-7, Sr., G.

Outlook: Badham, who has had success in previous stops at Dunbar (five MSA A JV titles), Forest Park (15-2 varsity in 1987-88), Carver (two MSA B JV titles) and McDonogh (13-2 JV last season), replaces John Nash, who retired after 25 years. The nucleus of the team, which went 27-16 over the last two seasons is gone, leaving Badham with a rebuilding situation. Miller and Jones form a quick backcourt, but Douglass lacks height and experience. Badham thinks a .500 season is a realistic goal.

Dunbar Poets

1994-95 record: 25-1.

Coach: Paul Smith

Top players: Tommy Polley, 6-5, Sr., F; Jamal Holt, 6-0, Sr., G; David Manigault, 6-0, Soph., G; Tim Lyles, 5-10, Fresh., G; Chris Dean, 6-4, Jr., F.

Outlook: Smith, 48-4 in his first two seasons at Dunbar, thinks the opening month may be difficult. Only four players return from last season, including one starter -- Polley -- and the Poets' first game isn't until next week against Poly. Polley is one of the nation's premier players, but the rest of the team is inexperienced. The Poets will be quick, especially in the backcourt where Manigault and Lyles, arguably the area's top freshmen, will be playing major roles. Developing consistency and chemistry may take a little time for Dunbar, but look for it to be at College Park in March.

Edmondson Redskins

1994-95 record: 10-11.

Coach: James James

Top players: Carl Lewis, 6-3, Sr., F; James Sumpter, 6-3, Sr., C; Brian Daniels, 5-8, Soph., G; Dwight Reid, 6-2, Sr., F; Virgil Singleton, 6-0, Jr., G.

Outlook: With no real threat in the paint, Edmondson will try to compensate with a three-guard offense. Sumpter, a starter last season, will be the center, and the lack of size will definitely hurt the Redskins in the rebounding category. James believes Edmondson will be competitive, but how they fare on the boards will be the decisive factor.

Forest Park Foresters

1994-95 record: 4-13.

Coach: Carnell Reavis

Top players: Charles Owens, 6-6, Sr., C; Terrel Brown, 6-4, Sr., F; Kwan Press, 6-4, Sr., F; Jeremy Morris, 6-0, Sr., G; Djiba Keita, 5-10, Jr., G.

Outlook: Reavis believes his team is heading in the right direction. The inside combination of Owens and Brown will be strong, but the Foresters lack experience in the backcourt. Reavis likes his team's work ethnic, but whether it can improve from last season remains to be seen.

Friends Quakers

1994 record: 6-13.

Coach: Randy Cooper

Top players: Dan Munoz, 6-0, Sr., G; Bob Michel, 6-3, Jr., F; Paul Masson, 6-6, Jr., F; David Mattison, 5-11, So., G; Mark Kelly, 6-0, Jr., G

Outlook: Just about everyone, and everything, associated with the Quakers' disappointing 1994-95 campaign is gone. To Cooper, that's cause for optimism. "The guys we're adding are basically better than the guys that we had." More than an injection of talent -- including point man Mattison-- and a sudden abundance of size, the Quakers should benefit from some emotional distance from last February's tragedy, the death of Hiram Holton to cancer. Says Cooper: "The kids couldn't focus. They were pallbearers at the funeral. It was a tough year for everyone."

Gilman Greyhounds

1994 record: 8-16.

Coach: Marty Meloy

Top players: Tim Bleecker, 6-6, Sr., C; Daron Hines, 6-1, Sr., G; Russell Wrenn, 6-1, Sr., SF; Chris McLamb, 6-2, Sr., G; Jason Mersey, 6-2, Sr., SF; Jay Homa, 5-11, Sr., G; Chris Tulley, 6-3, Sr., PF

Outlook: Meloy promises to utilize a 12-player rotation, with substantial court time allocated to seven seniors. McLamb (10 ,, ppg) will be a focus of a half-court offense that relies on Gilman's perimeter ability. Watch Bleecker; he needs to be active on the glass with Tulley and Mersey.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1994-95 record: 23-1.

Coach: Charlie Moore

Top players: Dante Lemmon, 5-11, Sr., G; Eric Evans, 6-1, Soph., G; Broderick Walker, 6-4, Sr., C; Rodney Bass, 6-4, Soph., F; Michael King, 6-4, Jr., F; Kevin Braswell, 5-9, Soph., G.

Outlook: The Lakers graduated their top six players, including last season's Player of the Year Shawnta Rogers (George Washington), but still possess a wealth of talent. Lemmon, Bass, King and Walker, all reserves last season, will take on major roles, and Braswell and Evans played on last season's championship JV team. The Lakers are athletic and quick, but lack experience and chemistry. If Lake Clifton can develop in those areas, it will present Southern-Baltimore with its biggest // challenge in reaching Cole Field House.

Mervo Mustangs

1994-95 record: 5-15.

Coach: Woody Williams

Top players: Jamon Bailey, 5-10, Sr., G; Roderick Farr, 6-2, Sr., G; Kevin Harper, 6-4, Jr., F.

Outlook: After upsetting Southwestern in the finals of Henderson Neal Tournament last December, the Mustangs failed to win another game. Three players return with Harper being the lone starter. The Mustangs lack experience and will use eight players from last year's JV on the varsity. Although reaching .500 may be a difficult task for Mervo, Williams thinks it will at least be competitive.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

1994-95 record: 16-12.

Coach: Pat Clatchely

Top players: Daniel Whye, 6-8, Sr., C; Cory McNeill, 6-0, Jr., G; Kyle Skinner, 6-5, Sr., F; Aaron Bowles, 6-0, Jr., G; Terry Butler, 6-2, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Gaels, who lost to St. Frances in the tournament semifinals last season, should be a serious challenger for the Catholic League title. Whye, maybe the area's most versatile center, heads a deep, athletic and experienced team. Six players from Mount St. Joseph's JV championship squad moves up and how quickly they adjust will be key, but the Gaels have the nucleus to contend with St. Frances and Calvert Hall for the league title.

Northern Vikings

1994-95 record: 11-13.

Coach: Paul Holmes

Top players: Anthony Lee, 6-3, Sr., F; Tyree Canty, 6-0, Jr., G; Milton Tillman, 6-0, Sr., G; Derek Finch, 6-4, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Vikings were dealt a major blow when William Jernigan, one of the area's top scorers, was ruled academically ineligible. Northern returned four experienced starters in Lee, Canty, Tillman and Finch. Lee is a solid presence on the boards and the backcourt will be experienced. Seven players from the JV move up, including four sophomores, but lack of size will pose problems for Northern. Still, it could surprise some teams.

Northwestern Wildcats

1994-95 record: 1-18.

Coach: Doug Robertson

Top players: Paul Padgett, 6-0, Soph., G; Adrian Bradford, 6-2, Soph., F; Mitchell Warren, 6-2, Sr., C.

Outlook: Robertson, whose coaching experience includes stints at Edmondson, Towson State and the University of Virgin Islands, replaces longtime coach Mel Washington. Roberston said the players have adjusted to him, but a lot of work still needs to be done. The Wildcats will lack size and experience, but Robertson hopes his team shows gradual improvement as the season progresses.

Patterson Clippers

1994-95 record: 11-10.

Coach: Larry Alexander

Top players: Darnell Gilliam, 6-5, Sr., F; Michael Simmons, 5-11, Jr., G; Chris Williams, 6-7, Sr., C; Omar Smith, 5-10, Soph., G; Warren Smith, 6-3, Sr., F; Tavon Mitchell, 5-8, Jr., G.

Outlook: Despite being inexperienced, Alexander sees his team

being competitive. Smith, who transferred from City, along with Gilliam and Williams form the senior nucleus, and Simmons was one of the city's top JV performers last season. The Clippers lack height, but Alexander thinks their chemistry and strong defense will compensate.

Poly Engineers

1994-95 record: 14-9.

Coach: Bucky Kimmett

Top players: John McLean, 6-2, Sr., F; Owain States, 6-2, Sr., F; Dujuan Wilson, 6-1, Jr., G; Al McGee, 6-1, Jr., G; Joe Pace, Sr., 6-4, F.

Outlook: Poly, which lost in the first round of the state 3A East regionals, returns two of the area's best outside shooters in TC McLean and States. The Engineers lack an inside game, but will be quick and aggressive. Poly will be competitive and should have another winning season, but how it hold up on the boards will be the key.

Southern Bulldogs

1994-95 record: 13-10.

Coach: Meredith Smith

Top players: John Hemsley, 6-6, Sr., F; Marlon Wise, 6-1, Sr., G; Dedric Galloway, 6-3, Sr., G, Kofi Pointer, 6-8, Sr., C; Brian Kennedy, 6-3, Sr., F; Jelani Wise, 6-2, Jr., G.

Outlook: After falling short of making the state semifinals for a third straight year last season, Southern is primed for a run at a third state championship in four seasons. Hemsley is arguably the area's best player and Wise and Galloway form a solid and experience backcourt. Pointer, who showed great improvement during the spring and summer, has become a mid-major Division I prospect. Southern's lone weakness maybe its lack of a solid bench, but its experience and talent should be enough to get it to College Park in March and be ranked among the nation's elite.

Southwestern Sabers

1994-95 record: 14-9.

Coach: Terry Leverett

Top players: Reginald Johnson, 6-1, Sr., G; Stanley Parker, 6-3, -- Sr., C; Donta Lloyd, 6-2, Sr., G; Cornelius McMurray, 6-1, Soph., G; Jerome Banks, 6-3, Sr., F; Rodney Maltsby, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Sabers may present the biggest challenge to Southern in the area. Johnson, Lloyd and McMurray, one of the area's top freshman last season at Southern, give Southwestern the area's top backcourt trio. Parker is a tenacious inside player despite his size, but the Sabers lack a true inside game. With the abundance of guards and small forwards, Southwestern will again pressure opponents on both ends of the court. Leverett thinks this could be his most explosive team and one that could be playing at College Park in March.

St. Frances Panthers

1994-95 record: 24-5.

Coach: William Wells

Top players: Mark Karcher, 6-5, Jr., G; Alfonso Jones, 6-0, Sr., G; Darryl Dantzler, 5-10, Sr., G; Ronald Wingate, 6-3, Jr., F; Shawn Hampton, 6-7, Soph., C; Charles Beaufort, 6-4, Jr., F; Eric Payton, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Panthers may be the area's most talented team. Four starters return from last season's Catholic League regular-season and tournament champion, including the league's premier player in Karcher. Jones and Dantzler form a quick and strong defensive backcourt, and the addition of Hampton from Overlea will allow Karcher to play more on the wing. Wells says he can go either with a big or small lineup, but his only worry is the Panthers peaking too early. If not, St. Frances has the tools to repeat as Catholic League champion and challenge for the area's No. 1 ranking.

Walbrook Warriors

1994-95 record: 15-5.

Coach: Gus Herrington

Top players: Donte Webb, 6-3, Sr., F; Van Johnson, 6-8, Jr., C; William Brown, 5-8, Sr., G; Greate White, 6-2, Sr., F.

Outlook: The Warriors graduated four starters, including Travon Broadway (San Jacinto JC) and Anton Jenifer, who accounted for at least 70 percent of the team's scoring. The frontline of Webb, Johnson and White (a transfer from Lake Clifton) is solid and played well together during the summer at Craig Cromwell League and BNBL. Walbrook will be inexperienced in the backcourt, but will have enough to challenge Southern, Southwestern and Lake Clifton for the state 4A North region title. The Warriors will be tested early with games against Lake Clifton, Southwestern, Randallstown, and Dunbar of Washington in the first two weeks.

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