Anne Arundel team previews Local Sports: Basketball Previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Annapolis Panthers

1995-96 record: 21-6.

Coach: John Brady (career record: 396-74)

Top players: Germaine "Boo" Diggs, 6-8, Sr.,F; Brian Barber, 6-8, Sr., F; Barry Booth, 5-11, Sr., G; Byron Booth, 5-11, Sr., G; Todd Nicolini, 5-11, Jr., G; Toronto Williams, 6-2, Sr., G; Scott Raspa, 6-1, Sr., G; Pete Howe, 6-2, Sr., F; Tony Smith, 6-7, Jr., F; Markus Green, 6-2, Jr.,F.

Outlook: A pair of Division I prospects inside in Diggs, the county Player of the Year, and Towson State-bound Barber anchor seven returning seniors from last year's 4A state semifinalists. With a state record 23rd region title, the Panthers returned to the final four at College Park for the first time in five years and lost a 71-64 decision to Northwestern in the semifinals. Diggs became the first player in 21 years to lead the county in scoring (20.5) and rebounding (11.5) as a junior All-Metro selection. Defense is Diggs' forte. Barber, who came on late as a junior (8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds -- 12 points, 10 boards, two blocks in semis) and Diggs give the Panthers as good an inside game as you can find at this level. The Booth twins, Barry and Byron, Nicolini, Raspa and Williams give the Diggs-Barber duo the option of kicking it out to a fleet of speedy, sharp-shooters on the perimeter. "This group plays really hard and they're very clever and smart which will allow us to do a lot of things," said Brady who begins his 20th season. "It's going to be a fun group to watch and we could win a state championship with this team if we get back to Cole Field House."

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995-96 record: 3-17

Coach: Tony Martin (first season)

Top players: Max Yokono, 6-7, Jr.,C-F; Tremaine Robinson, 6-2, Fr., G; Derrick Snowden, 5-11, Fr., G; Marcus Davis, 5-10, Fr., G-F; Jasion Campion, 6-4, Jr., F-G; Joe Petrocelli, 5-9, Sr., G-F; Jon Bents, 6-8, Jr., C-F; Mike Chaconas, 6-5, Jr., F-G.

Outlook: The know-how to win is what the enthusiastic Martin brings to Spalding in replacing Robert Spriggs, who was around for only one season. Martin inherits a program that has hit rock bottom, but expects to turn it around with an influx of young talent and a gifted foreign exchange student in Yokono. A former assistant coach at both Cardinal Gibbons and Mount St. Joseph, Martin has an idea of what it takes after winning JV championships at both schools. "We're going to be playing 14-year-olds against 18-year-olds, but by the time we get to our conference [MIAA C] games, we should be very competitive and do well," said Martin, who has five freshmen and two sophomores on the varsity. One of the freshmen, Davis, is a co-captain with the junior Campion and two other ninth-graders in Robinson and Snowden are being touted as Division I prospects. Martin expects to have one of the top teams in the area within a couple years.

Arundel Wildcats

1995-96 record: 16-7.

Coach: V.J. Keith (first season)

Top players: Jamell Miller, 6-2, Sr., G; Erik Lipton, 6-4, Sr., G; Joe Parker, 6-3, Sr., G; Tony Ross, 6-6, Sr., F-C; Lavar Robinson, 6-4, Sr., G-F; R.J. Farmer, 6-0, Jr., G; Andrew Helms, 6-10, Jr., C; Victor Robinson, 6-4, Sr., F.

Outlook: It's not your normal circumstance for a rookie coach as Keith steps into a pressure cooker in Gambrills. After four years as an assistant to Ken Kazmarek at Broadneck, the 30-year-old Keith replaces the fired Gerald Moore. Moore turned the Wildcats into a 4A power and was 89-72 in seven seasons, and the reason for his dismissal is still unclear. "We're still getting to know each other and the players have been willing to compromise with me so we get on the same page," said Keith. Moore left behind a wealth of talent led by Miller, a second-team All-County guard (12.1 points, 8.0 boards, 3.1 assists), not to mention L. Robinson, a Meade transfer. The backcourt is outstanding and deep with Miller, who can also play forward, Parker (11.9 points), Lipton (6.1 assists) and Farmer, and Ross, V. Robinson and JV grad Helms to muscle up underneath. "This is a highly athletic group, very competitive and extremely quick," said Keith. "Depending on who we play and matchup with, we can put a quick team on the floor or a tall team out there."

Broadneck Bruins

1995-96 record: 16-7

Coach: Ken Kazmarek (221-85)

Top players: John Williams, 6-5, Sr., G-F; Brad Limbacher, 5-8, Sr., G; Noble Watkins, 6-5, Sr., C-F; Mike D'Archangelo, 5-8, Sr., G; Craig Vincent, 6-1, Sr., G; Marcus Day, 6-1, Sr., G; Matt Costello, 6-4, Sr., F; Brooks Barnard, 6-3, Jr., F; Earl Downs, 6-3, Jr., F; Lehrman Dotson, 6-0, So., G.

Outlook: The Bruins should be much quicker than they have been the past couple seasons and, as a result, will play a faster pace. "We will push the ball up more and use more defensive pressure than we have," said Kazmarek, who begins his 13th season at Broadneck and 14th overall. Limbacher, D'Archangelo, Vincent and Williams were key members of the Bruins' county champion soccer team, are all very quick and will ignite most of the pressure. As for concerns? "We lost three starters and two of them averaged nearly 40 points a game between them in Jamaine Young [20.7 ppg., All-County] and Mike Tasker [15.0, second team All-County]. Quite obviously scoring is a concern." Williams, a four-year starter headed for Navy, averaged 10 points and eight boards a year ago and is being counted on to score more this season. Watkins assumes Young's role inside. Kazmarek will groom this group to give defending 3A state champion Dunbar a run in the East Region at season's end.

Chesapeake Cougars

1995-96 record: 10-14

Coach: John Spinnenweber (47-72)

Top players: Ray Wagner, 6-3, Jr., F; Marvin Hazen, 5-10, Jr., G; Dave Dolch, 6-4, Jr., F; Shawn Plews, 6-1, Sr., F; Tom Jacobs, 5-10, Sr., G; Damien Moulden, 5-9, Jr., G; Ryan Plews, 6-2, Jr., F; Jason Gogolinski, 6-1, Jr., G; Dirk Schanberger, 6-0, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Cougars got a little closer to the first winning season in school history and made their first ever playoff appearance upsetting Meade before bowing to Old Mill in the 4A East region semis. Spinnenweber, who is in his fourth year at Chesapeake, lost five starters, but Wagner, Hazen and Dolch saw a lot of time and head up a strong junior class. "Wagner had a couple big games for us down the stretch and is one of several very good athletes on this team," said the coach. "For the first time since I've been here numbers is a strength. We've got eight to 10 pretty good athletes." Once his broken wrist (from football) heals, S. Plews will add power inside.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1995-96 record: 17-7.

Coach: Mike Rudd (first season)

Top players: Lenny Holmes, 6-4, Sr., F; Chris Witherspoon, 6-3, Sr., F; John Wright, 6-3, Sr., C; Antoine Smith, 5-9, Sr., G; Antoine Rich, 5-10, Jr., G.

Outlook: Rudd said, "It's just not the same around here without Terry around, but he's been totally supporting me." The Glen Burnie grad replaces his former coach Terry Bogle, who stepped down after 28 seasons. Rudd, who was Bogle's top assistant the past nine years, hopes to carry on the Gophers' success during the '90s (97-64), but is being cautious. The Gophers lost two key players in All-County leading scorer Desmond Dailey (22.4) and third-team All-County guard Terry Gaither (10.9 points). The very athletic Holmes, Witherspoon and Smith have the most experience, but according to Rudd, "It's going to take awhile because this is a young team that will take its lumps early, but by midseason we'll hopefully come together."

Meade Mustangs

1995-96 record: 4-19.

Coach: Butch Young (391-264)

Top players: Robert Williams, 5-8, Sr., G; Deshawn Brown, 5-11, Sr., G; Eric Cooks, 6-4, Jr., F; David Stangee, 6-5, Jr., C; Steve Spurlin, 6-2, Jr., F; Doug Hebron, 6-1, Jr., G.

Outlook: Young begins his 30th season as a county head coach (20th at Meade) who has seen it all. Meade's annual transfer dilemma was only compounded by last year's 12-11 season turning into a 4-19 campaign and leaving Young nine wins short of 400 instead of one. The Mustangs were hit by eight forfeits because of a player living out of the school district. "Seems like everybody who has ability [Lavar Robinson, two-year starter, transferred to Arundel] moves out, but nobody moves in," Young said maintaining his sense of humor. "We have no experience to speak of with only three returnees [Williams, Brown and Cooks] and I don't know if we can be competitive or not. I'm worn out, but I still love the game."

North County Knights

1995-96 record: 15-9

Coach: Brad Wilson (43-92)

Top players: Richard "Speedy" Allen, 6-4, Sr., C-F; Corey Wright, 5-8, Sr., G; Randolph Rooks, 6-3, Sr., F; Sean Brown, 6-0, Sr., G; Derek Booth, 6-0, Sr., G ; Aaron Williams, 6-6, Sr.,C-F; Sonio Proserpi, 6-3, Sr., F; Tavon Mason, 6-5, Jr., F; Erik Larsen, 6-2, Sr., F.

Outlook: After two straight winning seasons, Wilson wants to keep the Knights in the positive mode and their penchant to create on both ends should grant his wish."We've got something going and hope to build on it," said the seventh-year head coach. "We've got a pretty good returning nucleus with a lot of quickness and athleticism and should be able to apply constant pressure." Wright, Rooks, Brown, Booth and Proserpi are just a few of a host of Knights who can fly up and down the court. Allen is a key man inside, but is nursing a broken leg suffered in the 4A football playoffs and according to Wilson won't be ready until January. "Experience inside is a concern [in the early going] without Speedy, but we have some size and the younger guys will be thrown in the fire," said Wilson. Williams, Mason, Rooks, and first-year senior Corey Brooks (6-2) are expected to step up while Allen recuperates. "We can do as well as last year, and maybe better," said Wilson.

Northeast Eagles

1995-96 record: 5-17.

Coach: John Barbour (173-216)

Top players: Ryan George, 6-0, Jr., F; Lee McMillan, 6-1, Sr., F; Adam Sutton, 5-11, Jr., G; Jason Hobbs, 6-3, Sr., C; Ron Blackman, 5-10, Sr., G; Chris Pack, 6-2, Jr., F; Nick Klug, 5-7, Jr.,G.

Outlook: With eight juniors and no big man playing in 15 of 22 games against 4A schools, the 2A Eagles are in tough. "It could be another tough year, but I have a good bunch of kids who can make us competitive," said Barbour. George, who led the Eagles in scoring (11.9) and rebounding (6.3) as a sophomore is the key returnee. McMillan, who averaged 7.2 points and 3.1 boards, point guard Sutton and Hobbs in the pivot will be crucial parts in any success the Eagles have. "We need time to develop," said Barbour. "We're a big man away. This group is not capable of doing certain things because of that."

Old Mill Patriots

1995-96 record: 10-14.

Coach: Paul Bunting (133-113)

Top players: Matt Gray, 6-3, Sr., F; Jeff Miller, 6-3, Sr., F; Eric Potter, 5-11, Sr., G; Toby Green, 5-10, Jr., G; Timmy Smith, 5-11, So., G.

Outlook: When asked about the concerns going into his 12th season in Millersville, Bunting's reply was, "You name it." The Patriots have no returning starters, just four players back from last year's region finalist and no one over 6 feet after Gray and Miller. "It should be a long season, but the kids are coach-able and will try hard," said Bunting. "We will be back in the playoffs. They can't keep us out."

St. Mary's Saints

1995-96 record: 7-12

Coach: Roger Reed (first season)

Top players: Scott Driscoll, 6-7, Sr., C-F; Matt Treadwell, 6-9, Jr., C-F; D.J. Dauses, 6-4, Jr., F; S.J. Womack, 6-3, Jr.,F; Jamal Reed, 5-8, Jr., G; A.J. Mason, 5-11, Jr., G; Chris Summers, 6-0, Jr.,G.

Outlook: After two years as an assistant to Dave Lombardi, Reed, who teaches at Marley Elementary, succeeds the former as head coach. Lombardi, who was 26-35 in three seasons, moves back down to the JV for a bit of a break before running the Saints varsity baseball program. Reed has also coached in rec ball with the Annapolis All-Stars and formerly at Annapolis Middle School. "Dave got me involved in the program at St. Mary's and I'm excited about coaching," said Reed. Two big trees underneath in Treadwell and Driscoll, supported by a quick, junior laden backcourt, are reason for Reed's anticipation. "We'll be looking to the inside with Treadwell and Driscoll, who give us a nice balance," Reed said. Treadwell, who weighs less than 200 pounds, is a very athletic "string bean" up from the JV according to Reed. Driscoll, the only senior and a 230-pounder, "has a nice touch and is learning to use his bulk," the coach says. It's a team Reed hopes will blossom a year early in the MIAA B Conference.

Severn Admirals

1995-96 record: 14-14

Coach: Charles "Tank" Duckett (14-14)

Top players: Dennard Melton, 6-0, Jr., G; Jeff Hatch, 6-7, Sr., F; Winston Johnson, 6-5, Sr., F; Mark Cullen, 5-10, Sr., G; Greg Cooper, 6-2, Jr., F; Vaughn Craig, 5-9, Jr., G; Matt Wright, 6-1, Jr., G; Jeff Haskins, 6-1, Jr., F; Kyle Hyland, 5-11, Soph., G.

Outlook: Last season was a learning experience for Duckett and his young team in the MIAA B Conference. The Admirals were coming off a 25-8 campaign with Melton as the only returning starter. It was a tall club, but short on experience and cohesion. Melton averaged 15.8 points a game, but a series of nagging injuries kept his performance up and down, and so went the Admirals. "Opposing teams keyed on Dennard, but hopefully this year, we will give them more to worry about," said Duckett. Hatch and Johnson improved as the season wore on and should give the Admirals a tough inside game to complement Melton, Cullen and Craig out on the perimeter. Hatch is recovering from a ruptured spleen sustained during football season and should be back within a couple of weeks. "Once we get Jeff [Hatch] we should be the favorite to win our conference."

Severna Park Falcons

1995-96 record: 8-15

Coach: Paul Pellicani (14-53)

Top players: Mike Morehead, 6-2, Sr., F; Greg Korwek, 6-2, Jr., F; Ville Jarvi, 6-2, Sr., G; Todd Poorman, 6-3, Sr., G; Darell Andrews, 6-1, Sr., G; Dan Andrews, 6-1, Sr., G; Matt Briggs, 6-2, Jr., G.

Outlook: Pellicani is optimistic the Falcons can post their first winning season in his four years as head coach and the school's first since 1991-92 (16-8) when current athletic director Wayne Mook was head coach. "I certainly hope so with the number of returning kids who have started or played the last two-three years," the coach said. "They took their licks when they were younger, but hopefully have learned a lot playing up." Morehead, Korwek (12.4 ppg.) and the Andrews twins are three-year players while Jarvi is in his second season. Poorman, who started as a freshman, missed the past two years with an assortment of injuries, but has played in the off- seasons and could be an impact player. "We've got depth and can be interchangeable to keep a lot of fresh legs in there," said Pellicani. "Teams with true size inside could give us problems, because we're not big, but we're not small either."

Southern Bulldogs

1995-96 record: 16-9

Coach: Tom Albright (453-260)

Top players: Jeff Crandell, 6-1, Sr., G; Josh Booth, 5-9, Jr., G; Dominique Medley, 6-3, Jr., F; Will Maynard, 5-7, So., G; Demond Mullen, 5-10, Jr., G; Ina Harvey, 5-8, Jr., G; Richard Yates, 6-3, Sr., F; Scott Rooney, 6-3, Sr., C-F; Eddie Tippett,6-4, Sr., F; Albert Mudd, 6-2, Jr., F.

Outlook: The dean of county coaches begins his 32nd season in Harwood with the enthusiasm of a rookie coach. The passion is in Albright's voice as he talks about the upcoming season. "We're in better shape than I thought and it should be the same old thing, at least I hope so," said Albright. The "same old thing" is a trip to Cole Field House and the 2A final four. Albright, who owns more career wins and state titles (four) than any other county coach, took his Bulldogs to Cole for an 11th time last season losing in the semifinals. Two starters from that team -- Crandell (8.8 points, 3.1 assists) and Medley (6.0 points as a spot starter) -- and a host of others (seven juniors) who got playing time, have Albright excited. "We could pull it off again," said the coach whose last state title came in 1986. "We've got a real quick team, can go eight to nine deep and our press should be pretty good."

South River Seahawks

1995-96 record: 3-20

Coach: Ken Dunn (181-221)

Top players: Howie Edelstein, 5-8, Sr., G; Justin Terry, 6-4, Jr., F; Guan Brown, 6-2, Sr., F-G; Russell Nicholson, 6-2, Jr., F-G; Pernell Jackson, 6-8, Jr., C; Sean Griffin, 6-5, Jr., F-G.

Outlook: The idea for the Seahawks is to stay out of foul trouble in order to be competitive in the South division and ultimately the 2A playoffs. Edelstein, a third-team All-County guard who led the league in assists with 7.2 a game and averaged 14.8 points is the team's sparkplug. Brown (10.4 points) is the key swing man and adds scoring punch. Jackson, Terry, Nicholson and Griffin, a DeMatha transfer will handle the boards. "Our first six is pretty solid, but after that, I don't know," said Dunn. "We've got to find a couple more who can come off the bench and push our starters."

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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