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Season previews - City boys basketball

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Archbishop Curley Friars

1995-96 record: 14-13

Coach: Dan Popera

Top players: Brian Hubbard, 6-2, Jr., F-C; Mike Palmere, 6-4, Sr., F; Jamie Cruz, 5-10, Sr., G; Nick Murphy, 5-11, Jr., G; Brian Montoya, 5-6, Jr., G

Outlook: Two seasons removed from a two-win campaign, Curley claimed the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference championship in 1995-96. Palmere and Hubbard are solid inside performers, but there's not much height after them. The team has a little more depth than last season, and Popera is hoping for continuing defensive improvement. Moving to the B Conference, Curley will be playing a tougher schedule, but Popera expects to be competitive.

Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders

1995-96 record: 22-12

Coach: Bryan Moorhouse

Top players: Brandon Jones, 6-1, Jr., G; Billy Brauns, 6-7, Sr., C; Gil Goodrich, 5-6, Fresh., G; Jared Silberzahn, 5-7, Jr., G; Brandon Rhinehart, 6-3, Jr., F

Outlook: The Crusaders graduated all five of last season's starters. Moorhouse expects his underclassmen to see extensive playing time, including Goodrich, who will be the first freshman to start on the varsity. Gibbons will have more size than last season and better outside shooting, but will be inexperienced.

Carver Bears

1995-96 record: 4-18

Coach: Durce Jackson

Top players: Miguel Wilson, 5-10, Soph., G; Cliff Sawyer, 6-2, Sr., F; Alan Jackson, 5-9, Jr., G; Tim Payne, 6-3, Fresh., F; Charles York, 6-6, Jr., C; Donald Chambers, 6-1, Sr., F

Outlook: Despite winning four regular-season games, Carver made it to the Class 3A region finals last year before losing to Dunbar, but the haul will be tougher this season. Wilson, who provided a big lift after coming up from the JV late last season, will assumed a much bigger duty. Jackson likes his team's work ethic, but team members are inexperienced. Carver may show improvement as the season progresses, but will be hard-pressed to avoid the bottom of the City West.

City Knights

1995-96 record: 10-12

Coach: Darryl Wade

Top players: Omar Smith, 5-9, Sr., G; Warren Smith, 6-3, Jr., F; Dante Everett, 6-3, Sr., F; Eric DeLoatch, 6-2, Sr., G; Derrick Goode, 7-0, Soph., C.

Outlook: With the addition of transfers in Omar and Warren Smith (Patterson) and Goode (Episcopal of Virginia), City should be improved. Wade thinks his team will be multi-dimensional and stronger in the paint. The big question is whether the transfers and lettermen can form a cohesive unit. If that happens, City could challenge Lake Clifton in the City East.

Douglass Ducks

1995-96 record: 12-9

Coach: Rodney Cofield

Top players: Charles Harris, 6-1, Jr., G; Dominique Little, 6-0, Jr., G; Lee Reliford, 6-4, Sr., F; John Robinson, 6-0, Sr., G; Michael Kelly, 6-4, Sr., F; Joe Ison, 6-4, So., F

Outlook: Cofield, who was the JV coach last season, becomes the third coach in as many seasons for Douglass, replacing Lynn Badham, now at Dunbar. The Ducks have a solid, experienced core of players, including third-year performers Reliford and Robinson. Cofield, a former Dunbar player, said Douglass is as quick as any team in the city, but lacks size. The Ducks will be competitive and could be a factor in a balanced City West Division.

Dunbar Poets

1995-96 record: 21-6

Coach: Lynn Badham

Top players: Chris Dean, 6-4, Sr., C; Timmy Lyles, 5-10, Soph., PG; Vander Bannister, 6-3, Sr., F; Durrell Garrett, 5-7, Sr., G

Outlook: Badham, an assistant to Bob Wade during Dunbar's two national championship campaigns in the 1980s, returns after 10 years. The Poets return four regulars from last season, including Dean, a second-team All-Metro pick, and Lyles, an honorable mention All-City/County player as a freshman. The Poets lack size and experience, but will be quick and aggressive. Badham is cautious about how the Poets will perform, but Dunbar will be in the thick of the City East Division race and a fifth straight state title.

Edmondson Redskins

1995-96 record: 10-11

Coach: James James

Top players: Virgil Singleton, 6-1, Sr., G; Gary Snead, 6-0, Sr., G; Derrick House, 6-4, Sr., C; Davon Rice, 6-0, Sr., G

Outlook: The Redskins have only one returning starter in Singleton, a honorable mention All-City/County performer last winter. James plans to have five freshman, meaning little experience on the team and a slow process. But James likes his team's work ethnic and aggressiveness. To be competitive, the Redskins' underclassmen must mature quickly.

Forest Park Foresters

1995-96 record: 6-17

Coach: Ronald Covington

Top players: Phillip Green, 5-10, Sr., G; Justin Epps, 5-10, Soph., G; Shawn Waller, 5-10, Jr., G; Damon Davis, 6-3, Jr., F; Eugene Redfern, 6-1, Jr., F

Outlook: Covington, the JV coach last season, replaces Carnell Reavis. Green is the lone returning starter, with nine players who played JV last season moving up. The Foresters will be quick, especially in the backcourt with Green, Epps and Waller, but lack size in the paint. Covington says he's attempting to re-establish the program and thinks Forest Park could make a respectable run in the Class 2A playoffs.

Friends Quakers

1995-96 record: 11-11

Coach: Randy Cooper

Top players: Paul Masson, 6-7, Sr., C; Bob Michel, 6-4, Sr., F; Mark Kelly, 6-0, Sr., G; Brett Benjamin, 5-10, Fresh., G; David Mattison, 6-0, Jr., G; Jamie Kavanaugh, 6-4, Sr. F

Outlook: The Quakers improved from six wins in 1993-94 to 11 last season and could improve on that with three returning starters including Masson, an all-MIAA C Conference pick last season. The big concern for Cooper is Michel, who will be out at least until after Christmas with a knee injury. That leaves a big gap in the paint, but Friends has a solid balance of depth, outside shooting and defense. Friends moves up to the MIAA B Conference after playing in the C Conference last season and could challenge perennial favorites St. Paul's and Severn.

Gilman Greyhounds

1995-96 record: 9-13

Coach: Tony Jordan

Top players: Matt McLamb, 6-4, Jr., F-C; Adam Heaps, 6-0, Sr., G; Davis Noell, 6 -2, Sr., F; Andrew Farone, 6-2, Soph., G; Will Stewart, 6-5, Sr., C; David Chalmers, 6-2, Sr., F-G

Outlook: Jordan, an assistant for four seasons, takes over from ,, Marty Meloy. Five lettermen return, including three starters in Heaps, Farone and Chalmers, and Jordan is hoping for a contribution from Stewart because the Greyhounds don't have a lot of height. With good team speed and conditioning, Gilman will look to play up-tempo. Gilman should be in the middle of the MIAA B Conference pack.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1995-96 record: 20-3

Coach: Charlie Moore

Top players: Michael King, 6-4, Sr., F; Kevin Braswell, 6-1, Sr., G; Rodney Bass, 6-4, Jr., F; Dominic Liverpool, 6-8, Jr., C; Corsey Edwards, 6-8, Sr., C;; Damon Spells, 6-2, Jr., F; Eric Evans, 5-9, Jr., G

Outlook: Without question the City League's best team. Three starters return from a team that lost only to state champions Dunbar and Southern-Baltimore last season. They include a pair of second-team All-City/County performers in King (second-team All-Metro, as well) and Braswell. Along with Bass, the addition of transfers Liverpool (Randallstown) and Edwards (Mount St. Joseph) gives the Lakers a solid front-line, plus a stable bench. Moore thinks this may be his best squad, assuming they stay focused and play solid defense. Expect Lake Clifton to play for the City and state Class 4A titles.

Mervo Mustangs

1995-96 record: 9-12

Coach: Woody Williams

Top players: Hugh Brown, 6-5, Jr., F; Ali Austin, 6-4, Jr., F; Damien Jennifer, 5-10, Jr., G; Melvin Bridges, 6-4, Jr., F

Outlook: Williams thinks this may be his best team since coming to Mervo four seasons ago. Brown, Austin and Bridges are returnees who played excellent toward the conclusion of last season. Overall, Mervo is inexperienced, but Williams hopes for game-by-game improvement. The power in the City East Division is centered around Lake Clifton, Dunbar and Southern, so Mervo should be in the battle for the middle of the pack.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

1995-96 record: 15-13

Coach: Pat Clatchley

Top players: Cory McNeill, 6-1, Sr., G; Aaron Bowles, 6-0, Sr., G; Will Adelsberger, 6-5, Sr, F; Torrey Butler, 6-3, Jr., F; B. J. Romanowski, 5-7, Sr., G

Outlook: If St. Frances or Calvert Hall slips from the top of the Catholic League standings, Mount St. Joseph should be right there. McNeill, a honorable mention All-City/County performer, and Bowles formed one of the area's better backcourts. Seven players from the Gaels' 26-0 JV championship team move up, giving the varsity added depth and size. How fast those JV players mature and what they do to team chemistry will tell if Mount St. Joseph can challenge seriously in the Catholic League.

Northern Vikings

1995-96 record: 9-11

Coach: Paul Holmes

Top players: Tyree Canty, 6-0, Sr., G; Damon Buckson, 6-3, Sr., F; Marvin Robinson, 6-5, Jr., F; William Jukes, 6-4, Jr., F; Dante Pennix, 6-2, Jr., G; Terrence Waters, 6-4, Sr, F.

Outlook: Holmes likes the potential of his squad, but a big concern is finding leadership at point guard. Jukes, Pennix and Robinson will have to play a larger role on the court. The Vikings should have a steady balance of outside shooting and an inside game. Holmes is cautiously optimistic that Northern will be competitive in the City East Division.

Northwestern Wildcats

1995-96 record: 3-16

Coach: Melvin Washington

Top players: Robert Williams, 6-5, Sr., F; Colin Vaughn, 6-0, Sr., G; Adrian Bradford, 6-3, Jr., F; Marty Christian, 6-0, Jr., G; Ed Cook, 6-3, Jr., F; Devin Jenkins, 6-7, Sr., C; Darnell Dupree, 6-0, Sr., G

Outlook: Washington, who coached at Northwestern from 1977-1995, returns after a year off. Four regulars are also back, including Cook, the team's leading scorer from last winter. The ,, Wildcats have quickness but must take care of the ball better. Despite coaching the season before last, there will be an adjustment period for Washington and his players, and how quickly they adapt will affect how competitive they'll be.

Patterson Clippers

1995-96 record: 9-11

Coach: Larry Alexander

Top players: Mike Simmons, 6-0, Sr., G; Darrell Gilliam, 6-4, Sr., F-C; Damian Richburg, 6-5, Jr., F; Devin Jones, 5-8, Sr., G; Kerney Toomer, 6-4, Jr., F; Mike Williams, 5-7, Jr., G

Outlook: Despite losing three regulars to transfer, Alexander still has a solid nucleus. Simmons is one of the city's better guards, along with returnees Gilliam and Richburg. Some members of Patterson's JV city title team moves up, giving the Clippers more speed, but they still lack height. The Clippers don't have enough to challenge the upper echelon teams in the City East Division, but should be competitive in the middle of the division.

Poly Engineers

1995-96 record: 18-7

Coach: Bucky Kimmett

Top players: Dujuan Wilson, 6-2, Sr., F; Al McGee, 6-1, Sr., G; Danny McCoy, 6-1, Sr., G; Cedric Ward, 6-5, Jr., C; Chris Barnes, 6-2, Soph., F

Outlook: The Engineers lost most of their scoring with the graduation of second-team All Metro player John McLean (St. Francis of Pennsylvania) and Owain States (Catonsville Community College). Poly will have a little more size in the paint, but Kimmett is concerned about who will do the scoring. The Engineers should be better defensively and will attempt to create more offensive chances off that. In a very competitive City West Division, Poly should hold its own.

Pompei Lions

1995-96 record: 5-16

Coach: Larry Stoots

Top players: Eric Jackson, 6-4, Sr., C; Eric Stickline, 6-1, Soph., F; Joe Maranto, 5-6, Soph., PG; Yoman Fullard, 5-4, Fresh., G; Jon Villapando, 6-1, Jr., G; Don Hess, 6-4, Soph., C; Aaron Arnold, 6-1, Sr., G; Greg Kane, 5-8, Sr., G

Outlook: Stoots, in his first season, is confident that the Lions will surpass last season's win total. Four starters return, including Stickline, the team's leading scorer and Jackson, who at 260 pounds, should do some damage in the paint. Pompei, an independent school, has a complement of guard-play and outside shooting, but Stoots is concerned about his team's ability to defend consistently. If things fall into place, Pompei should hover around the .500 mark.

Southern Bulldogs

1995-96 record: 24-3

Coach: Meredith Smith

Top players: Jelani Wise, 6-2, Sr., F-G; Charles Wilson, 6-0, Jr., G; Shawn Lane, 6-3, Fresh., F; Emil Gray, 6-0, Jr., G; Colin Murdock, 6-3, Jr., F; Isiah Johnson, 6-6, Fresh., C

Outlook: Graduation hit Southern, which finished No. 10 in the country in USA Today's poll last winter, very hard, including All-Metro performers John Hemsley (Miami), Marlin Wise (Towson State), Kofi Pointer (Providence) and Dedric Galloway (Trinity Valley Junior College in Texas). Wise, who occasionally started last season, and Wilson are the only returnees with experience and will need to provide leadership. Smith said that he will start two freshmen and plans to do a lot of teaching this season. Though inexperienced, Southern still has talent -- but not enough to challenge Lake Clifton for the City East Division.

Southwestern Sabers

1995-96 record: 18-5

Coach: Terry Leverett

Top players: Cornelius McMurray, 6-2, Jr., G; Jerome Banks, 6-1, Sr. F; Robert Gray, 6-4, Sr., F; Dartegnon Smith, 5-9, Sr., G; Earl Carr, 5-11, Soph., G; Troy Burke, 6-2, Jr., G

Outlook: After losing to Dunbar in the City title game last season, Southwestern is the early favorite to return as the West Division representative. Three regulars are back, including McMurray, one of the city's top perimeter players, but the Sabers won't be as strong from the outside this season. Leverett likes the nucleus of guards he has and they will intensely pressure the ball. Though the Sabers don't have the overall size and or experience, they still have the talent to return to the City finals and be a factor in the Class 4A North region.

St. Frances Panthers

1995-96 record: 30-4

Coach: William Wells

Top players: Mark Karcher, 6-5, Sr. F; Shawn Hampton, 6-8, Jr., C; Ronald Wingate, 6-3, Sr., G-F; Darran Byrd, 6-3, Sr., F; Kevin Smith, 6-5, Soph., F; Charles Beaufort, 6-3, Sr., F; Earl Badu, 6-0, Jr., G; David Manigault, 5-11, Jr., G.

Outlook: Wells said this team may be better than the team that won its second straight Catholic League championship and finished No. 1 in the area last season. Karcher, one of the country's best player, can play every position on the court, and Hampton may be the area's top post player. Byrd, Wingate and " Beaufort are solid contributors, while transfers Earl Badu (Overlea), David Manigault (Dunbar) and Kevin Smith (Southern-B) provide added depth. The Panthers won't be as quick as they were last season but should be better from the perimeter. Barring major distractions, St. Frances should "three-peat" as Catholic League champions and be among the nation's elite teams.

Walbrook Warriors

1995-96 record: 13-10

Coach: Gus Herrington

Top players: Van Johnson, 6-8, Sr., C; Franklin Colt, 6-4, Sr., F; Derrick Thompson, 6-0, Jr., G; Antonio Tripp, 6-4, Jr., F; Troy Lee, 6-5, Sr., F; Donte Taylor, 6-3, Soph., G

Outlook: After a disasterous 0-5 start, Walbrook finished last season strong and looks to continue. Johnson, Colt and Tripp should give the Warriors better inside play and defense, but they are inexperienced. Herrington likes his team's attitude but wonders who will take the leadership mantle. If Walbrook can get off to a positive start, expect it to pose a serious challenge Southwestern for the City West Division title.

Preview schedule

Tuesday -- Baltimore and Harford County boys basketball

Wednesday -- Baltimore City and Harford County girls basketball

Thursday -- Baltimore County girls basketball

Friday -- Baltimore City and County wrestling

Sunday, Dec. 8 -- Harford County Wrestling, Baltimore City and County Indoor Track

Pub Date: 12/01/96

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