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1998-99 Baltimore City boys basketball previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Carver Bears

1997-98 record: 9-14

Coach: Durce Jackson

Top players: Miguel Wilson, 6-0, Sr., G; Dwayne Banks, 5-10, Sr., G; Kenneth Jones, 6-3, Jr., F; Mike Napper, 6-4, Sr., C; Presley Prettyman, 6-2, Jr., G; Joel Gamble, 6-3, Jr., F; Jonte Hall, 5-3, Soph., G; Aaron Shaw, 6-2, Jr., G

Outlook: The Bears return three starters, including Wilson, one of the city's best players. Jackson says putting points on the board shouldn't be a problem, but playing solid defense could be. Another key will be development of players from last year's JV. Carver, which lost to City in the Class 3A North final, has the potential to give Douglass and Southwestern problems in the City West Division.

City Knights

1997-98 record: 16-12

Coach: Daryl Wade

Top players: Dominic Fulcher, 6-4, Sr., F; Austin Baker, 6-6, Sr., C; Bryant Johnson, 6-4, Sr., F; Ryan Galloway, 6-1, Sr., G; Todd Galloway, 5-10, Soph., G; Jermaul Alcanbi, 6-0, Jr., G

Outlook: Baker and Fulcher are solid inside performers, and Todd Galloway, who played quality minutes as a freshman at St. Frances, should provide leadership at the point. Wade says his team is young overall but experienced at certain positions. City, state runnerup last season, should be competitive in the City East Division and be in position for another charge at the Class 3A final four.

Douglass Ducks

1997-98 record: 15-10

Coach: Rodney Cofield

Top players: Raymond Dickens, 6-4, Soph., F; Ron Simms, 5-7, Sr., G; Rico Alston, 5-7, Sr., G; Anthony Knox, 6-7, Jr., F; Davon Collier, 6-2, Jr., G; Maurice Barber, 6-4, Sr., F; Cornell Lee, 6-1, Sr., G

Outlook: Douglass lost scoring from last season's city championship team so it will depend more on defense. Cofield says the Ducks will be inexperienced but have a good mix of talent. The Ducks have the potential to make a return trip to the city title game but will have to battle Southwestern in the City West Division.

Dunbar Poets

1997-98 record: 22-3

Coach: Lynn Badham

Top players: Donteaz Dean, 6-7, Sr., C; Arnold Bowie, 6-2, Sr., G; Lafonte Johnson, 5-9, Sr., G; Leonard Ferguson, 6-3, Sr., G/F

Outlook: The Poets are loaded again. Dean, a second-team All-Metro pick last winter, is one of the area's top front-line performers. Johnson, a first-team All-Metro transfer from Towson Catholic, is one of the country's best point guards. Johnson headlines a host of talented transfers, but the question is whether the Poets can mesh into a consistent unit. If Badham can keep Dunbar focused, another Class 2A state title seems likely.

Edmondson Redskins

1997-98 record: 7-14

Coach: Pete Pompey

Top players: Eddie Colbert, 6-3, Sr., G; James Horton, 5-9, Soph., G; Jeffrey Paige, 5-9, Sr., G; Danny Dixon, 6-1, Soph., F; Eric Whitehurst, 6-8, Sr., C

Outlook: Pompey, who last coached basketball in 1991-92, at season, returns to the sidelines. Colbert and Horton should provide scoring, but outside shooting is a concern. Pompey lacks size after Whitehurst, as well as depth. Pompey won't be competing for a championship, but the Redskins could make some strides.

Forest Park Foresters

1997-98 record: 8-15

Coach: Greg Warren

Top players: Donnell Dobbins, 5-11, Sr., G; Dolphus Dixon, 5-8, Sr., G; Donte Toles, 6-2, Sr., F/G; Rasheed Smith, 6-1, Sr., G; Jared Washington, 6-1, Jr., G

Outlook: The Foresters were the surprise of last year's post-season, taking the Class 1A state title after winning just two regular-season games. The returning backcourt of Dobbins and Dixon provides stability. Warren says his team will have more scoring balance but lacks depth and size. Forest Park should eclipse the two wins from last regular season and make another state championship run.

Friends Quakers

1997-98 record: 12-13

Coach: Todd Ezrine

Top players: Brett Benjamin, 6-0, Jr., G; Gene Flinn, 5-10, Jr., G; Kyle Harrison, 5-11, Soph., PG; C.J. Nixon, 6-4, Sr., C

Outlook: The Quakers are in good position to make a strong defense of their Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference title. Four starters return, including leading scorer Benjamin (19 points a game), and with more athleticism, the Quakers will be hard to defend. Flinn is versatile. Nixon is strong inside.

Greater Grace

1997-98 record: 13-12

Coach: Pat Lynch

Top players: John Capello, 5-7, Sr., G; Nate Estabrook, 5-11, Jr., G; Nate Gorman, 5-10, Sr., F; Tim Roberge, 6-1, Sr., F; Matt Sliva, 5-11, Sr., F; Jeremy Sutorius, 6-2, Sr., C

Outlook: The strength is in the backcourt, where Gorman and Estabrook averaged a combined 20 points a year ago. Lynch hopes quickness and depth will help in improving the defense.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1997-98 record: 13-10

Coach: Herman Harried

Top players: Andre Mouzone, 6-3, Soph., G; Brandon Haughton, 6-7, Jr., C; Kenny Purnell, 6-1, Sr., G; Javis Wiggins, 6-6, Jr., F; Teon Carroll, 6-3, Jr., G; Dale Byrd, 6-0, Sr., G

Outlook: Last season was one of transition for Lake Clifton and Harried, who was in his first year. Things should be much smoother with returning starters Mouzone and Haughton. The addition of Purnell, who transferred from Dunbar, and Carroll gives the Lakers solid guards. Scoring shouldn't be a problem but consistency on defense, as well as an unit, is a concern. The Lakers shouldn't be far behind Dunbar and Southern-Balto. in the City East Division.

Mervo Mustangs

1997-98 record: 20-5

Coach: Woody Williams

Top players: Marcus Hatten, 6-2, Sr. G; Kevin Taylor, 6-6, Sr., F; Garry O'Neal, 6-7, Sr., C/F; Everett Walker, 6-3, Sr., F

Outlook: The Mustangs lost seven players off a team that went to the Class 4A semifinals and was ranked No. 2 in metro Baltimore But Hatten, possibly the area's best player, is back. Williams expects to have at least five players from last season's JV, so experience will be a concern. Some bumps will occur early on, but Mervo should be a factor in the City East Division.

Northern Vikings

1997-98 record: 14-10

Coach: Paul Holmes

Top players: Antron Marshall, 6-0, Jr., G; Michael Scott, 6-0, Sr., G; Jerome Ridgeway, 6-2, Sr., F; Joseph Miller, 6-5, Jr., Cl Damian Benson, 5-8, Jr., G

Outlook: The Vikings had a good post-season last year, reaching the Class 4A North semifinals before losing to Patterson. Scott and Marshall, the only returning starters, bring experience and outside shooting. Holmes likes Miller's inside presence, but after him, height is a problem. Northern will be inexperienced but competitive in the City East.

Northwestern Wildcats

1997-98 record: 14-9

Coach: Doug Robertson

Top players: Derek Pack, 6-5, Jr., F; Darren Jones, 6-5, Sr., C; Roland Carmichael, 6-2, Sr., G

Outlook: The Wildcats return three starters from a team that competed well against some of the city's best last season. Pack and Jones give Northwestern a good front line. Robertson, in his fourth season, likes the players up from last season's JV, but Northwestern will be inexperienced. The Wildcats could be a factor in the City West, depending how fast the younger players adjust.

Patterson Clippers

1997-98 record: 11-12

Coach: Larry Alexander

Top players: Alvin Williams, 6-0, Sr., PG; Donte Gilley, 6-5, Sr., F; Tyrone Burns, 5-10, Jr., G; Jermaine Evans, 6-2, Jr., G; Elmer Griffin, 6-6, Jr., C; Trindad Bedilla, 6-2, Jr., G

Outlook: The Clippers advanced some last season, beating Southern-Balto. and Annapolis, then reaching the Class 4A North finals. With only three seniors, Patterson will lack experience. Alexander likes his guards and outside shooting, but size will be a problem. Patterson will be competitive.

Poly Engineers

1997-98 record: 9-15

Coach: Matt Woolston

Top players: Dominic Harrison, 5-10, Sr., G; Kendrick Tilghman, 6-4, Sr., F; Tim Frazier, 6-3, Sr., F; Jarrett Ingram, 5-10, Sr., G; Dockery Devin, 6-6, Sr., C; Ryan Borisvert, 6-4, Sr., G; Jason Herbert, 6-2, Jr., G/F

Outlook: Woolston, JV coach for three seasons, replaces Bucky Kimmett. The Engineers return only one starter, Harrison, and will be looking for a leader. Woolston thinks his guards will be a strength, but the team lacks size.

Pompei Lions

1997-98 record: 2-12

Coach: Mike Check

Top players: John Check, 6-1, Sr., PG; Joe Maranto, 5-11, Sr., G; Max O'Kaye, 6-1, Sr., F; David Shultz, 6-0, Sr., F; Eric Strickline, 6-0, Sr., G

Outlook: With improved ability and maturity by his players, Check hopes for better results. The Lions, who play as an independent, rely on the play of their guards, which in turn could benefit O'Kaye.

Southern Bulldogs

1997-98 record: 19-4

Coach: Meredith Smith

Top players: Melvin Scott, 6-2, Soph., G; Isaiah Johnson, 6-7, Jr., F; Colin Murdock, 6-5, Sr., F; Nathaniel Fields, 6-5, Sr., F; Jimmy Harris, 5-7, Sr., G; Mitchell Beane, 6-4, Sr., F; Darshawn Luck, 6-3, Soph., F

Outlook: The Bulldogs, ranked ninth in the East by USA Today, return nine players from a team that lost to Mervo in the Class 4A North semifinals. Scott is possibly the area's best sophomore, and the versatile Johnson is listed in Street & Smith's as one of the country's top underclassmen. Smith likes the mix of experience and youth, but keeping the team focused and confident will be the key. After missing the Class 4A state final for the last two seasons, Southern should be back to battle Dunbar for the area's No. 1 ranking.

Southwestern Sabers

1997-98 record: 10-13

Coach: Terry Leverett

Top players: Earl Carr, 6-1, Sr., G; Terrell Dantzler, 5-9, Sr., G; Kevin Bethea, 6-3, Sr., F; Archie Williams, 6-3, Sr., F; Michael Jones, 6-4, Jr., F; Timothy Swann, 6-2, Jr., G; Mark Turner, 5-10, Jr., G; Tyrone Cooper, 6-0, Jr., G

Outlook: Southwestern endured a difficult last season, including a brief suspension of Leverett and its first losing season since 1991-92. But the Sabers won the Craig Cromwell Summer League and return Carr and Dantzler. Leverett says he has solid guards to go with some size, but keeping the players focused and disciplined will be a challenge. The Sabers appear ready to again vie for the City West championship.

Walbrook Warriors

1997-98 record: 8-15

Coach: Kelvin Bridges

Top players: Damien Cornick, 5-11, Sr., G; Ivan Wilson, 6-7, Sr., C; Emory Bowie, 5-11, Sr., G; Jamal Booker, 6-2, Fr., G/F; Nathaniel Thompson, 5-5, Sr., G

Outlook: Bridges takes for over Gus Herrington, who stepped down after 14 seasons. Cornick and Thompson are returnees from last season, and Bridges is high on Booker. Bridges thinks the Warriors will bring speed and quickness but lack experience. After a couple of dismal seasons, Walbrook could be a surprise in the City West Division.

Private schools

Archbishop Curley Friars

1997-98 record: 17-16

Coach: Dan Popera

Top players: Ray Price, 6-5, Sr., C; Geff Auffarth, 6-3, Sr., F; Brian Salamone, 5-9, Sr., G; Ty Francis, 6-2, Sr., F; Matt Moneymaker, 6-1, Jr., F; Julian Hall, 6-1, Jr., G; Aaron McKoy, 6-2, Jr, F.

Outlook: The Friars lost seven players to graduation, and Price is the only returnee with varsity experience. Several members of the MIAA B Conference JV championship team will be available. After Price and Auffarth, the team lacks height, but Popera likes his team's speed and thinks the Friars will improve as the season progresses.

Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders

1997-98 record: 18-17

Coach: Bryan Moorhouse

Top players: Dan Neus, 6-3, Sr., F; Matt Neus, 6-3, Sr., F; Ellis Hopkins, 6-5, Jr., F/C; Colin McBride, 6-2, Jr., G; Kenny Gardner, 5-7, Fresh., G; Dwight Dean, 6-4, Fresh., F

Outlook: The Crusaders lost two top and four seniors. Hopkins and McBride are promising players up from the JV, and Gibbons will depend on underclassmen to fill key roles. Moorhouse says the Crusaders will have more size but lack experience. After bouncing back from the school's worst output two seasons ago, Gibbons will probably take a step back this season against a strong stock of experienced and talented Catholic League teams.

Gilman Greyhounds

1997-98 record: 10-13

Coach: Tony Jordan

Top players: Chisolm Opara, 6-2, Sr., F; Henry Russell, 6-0, Sr., F; Andrew Faraone, 6-0, Sr., G; Shawn Woodland, 6-3, Sr., G; Ryan Boyle, 5-10, Sr., G

Outlook: The Greyhounds return eight players, including Opara, Boyle and Faraone, key members of Gilman's No. 1-ranked football team, and should be deeper and faster. Jordan is concerned about perimeter and foul shooting but thinks the Greyhounds can be a MIAA B Conference playoff team.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

1997-98 record: 24-9

Coach: Pat Clatchely

Top players: Sean Johnson, 6-7, Sr., F; Kevin Mickens, 6-8, Soph., C; Adrean Pope, 5-10, Sr., G; Robert Abiamiri, 6-3, Jr., F; Marcus Johnson, 6-3, Soph., F; J.J. Outlaw, 5-10, Fresh., PG; Lionel Jennings, 6-1, Soph., G

Outlook: The Gaels must replace five seniors who led a team that reached the tournament finals last winter after starting 0-5. Johnson, who has signed with Sacred Heart, and the promising Mickens give them a formidable front line. The Gaels lack experience, but Clatchely thinks his guards are more athletic than in previous seasons. Though young, the Gaels have the potential to be a factor in the Catholic League.

St. Frances Panthers

1997-98 record: 19-5

Coach: William Wells

Top players: Tim Payne, 6-5, Jr., F; Jamal Brunt, 6-1, Sr., G; Gerald Brown, 6- 2, Soph., F; Tavon McCoy, 6-0, Jr., G; Lamar Keaton, 6-0, Jr., G; Terrence Whiters, 5-9, Soph., G; Keon Johnson, 6-2, Soph., G; Aaron Thompson, 6-6, Jr., F; Jamal Jacobson, 6-5, Soph., F; Stephon Woodlon, 6-3, Sr., F

Outlook: The Panthers' three-year reign as Catholic League champions ended last season with a stunning first-round loss to Calvert Hall in the post-season tournament, followed by a loss to Towson Catholic in a playoff for the Alhambra Tournament. Payne could be the next St. Frances star. A combination of transfers, along with six players from the championship JV team, will provide depth and speed at guard, but the Panthers may not have the size and experience of previous seasons. Wells says he's optimistic about his team, which should contend for a fifth consecutive regular-season title.

Pub Date: 12/03/98

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