The emergence of undersized center Mark Awantang has been one of the bigger surprises on Washington College's men's basketball team. But so was a health problem that developed upon his return from the holiday break.
Awantang, the Centennial Conference's leader in rebounds and blocked shots, contracted malaria while visiting his parents in Nigeria. Though he has played in every game since then, his minutes were reduced because of fatigue.
Seeking treatment for his illness, which has many of the same symptoms as the flu, proved difficult because of the blizzard. "And there aren't a lot of prescriptions for malaria," said coach Tom Finnegan.
"He's pretty much over it now. It's a six-week medication that he's taking, and he's doing much better. At first, he'd play three minutes, then have to sit for two."
He was on the court for 35 minutes of last week's 81-78 loss at Haverford, registering his eighth double double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
A 6-foot-4 junior, he still is getting acclimated to basketball in the United States after playing in Egypt while in high school. His father works for the government, and the family has spent much of its time together overseas.
Awantang averaged 3.8 points as a freshman at Washington College and 4.1 as a sophomore, but slightly more than 12 points a game this season. He also is averaging almost 10 rebounds and four blocks. He has established a single-season school record for blocks.
"We spent a lot of time with him the first two years, getting him to understand the game," Finnegan said. "He's come a long way."
He's even more productive in the classroom, with a 4.0 grade-point average and aspirations of becoming a doctor.
Parks to be inducted
Deanna Parks, Salisbury State's volleyball and softball coach, will be inducted into Kent State's Hall of Fame on Friday.
Parks, a 1988 graduate and four-year letter winner, is ranked among the Golden Flashes' career leaders in 10 categories and had two single-season records. She was named to the All-Mid-American Conference first team and the All-Mideast Region team in 1987.
Parks guided the Sea Gulls to the Capital Athletic Conference softball championship last season and has a 69-55 career record as volleyball coach.
Goucher on record streak
The women's basketball team at Goucher College set a school record last week with its seventh consecutive victory, 55-54, at Mary Washington. The Gophers, ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III Atlantic Region, achieved it under some difficult circumstances.
Three players have quit since the last semester for various reasons, and each had been a starter during most of her career. Since then, the Gophers twice had only seven available players, and never had more than nine.
Undaunted, they churned out their eighth straight win Thursday, 67-58 over Catholic. They were 11-4 overall, 7-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference and in first place by a half-game over Marymount, the five-time defending champions, going into yesterday's showdown with the Saints.
Towson State's gymnastics team is ranked No. 8 in the country this week. . . . Loyola forward Nsilo Abraham was named co-Rookie of the Week in the MAAC. . . . Goucher freshman Tavar Witherspoon (Calvert Hall) set a school record by going 12-for-12 from the foul line in a victory over Salisbury State. . . . UMBC's women's basketball team had won five straight, raising its record to 7-8 overall and 4-0 in the Big South Conference, going into yesterday's game at Coastal Carolina. . . . The men's basketball team at Salisbury State is ranked third in the nation in scoring average among Division III schools at 97.3 ppg. . . . Barry Friedman scored 32 points and Kenny Logan had 30 in St. Mary's 105-101 triple-overtime win over Marymount on Wednesday. Both players average more than 17 points.