Marcus Hatten can do just about anything he wants to on the basketball court.
He can be clutch, as he was scoring 20 points in a 71-70 victory over Lake Clifton last season, securing the win after grabbing his eighth defensive rebound of the night with two seconds left and dribbling out of harm's way.
Or he can be acrobatic, as he was in converting a crowd-pleasing dunk off an alley-oop pass in last season's Class 4A state semifinal loss to Oxon Hill.
"The key is for us to be in the game as a team, together, and if they need a lift, then I feel I can provide that lift," said Hatten, a 6-foot-2, 160-pound senior guard. "I like to try to take over a game and take the other team out of it early but at the same time get my team on the same page I'm on."
Listed in Street and Smith's as a preseason All-Baltimore selection, Hatten is an honor roll student and a returning All-Metro pick by The Sun.
Coach Woody Williams lists Xavier (La.) University, Xavier of Ohio, Tennessee State, Florida A&M;, Stanford and Loyola among a long list of colleges after his star.
"In my opinion, he can play at any level, anywhere," said Williams, The Sun's Baltimore City-County Coach of the Year last season. "It would be just a matter of assimilating himself. Otherwise, he could step in and contribute right away at any of the country's top programs."
At 3 p.m. tomorrow, Hatten will lead No. 7-ranked Mervo (7-2) against Anacostia, last season's Washington runner-up to national power DeMatha. The game is one of two the Mustangs will play in the three-day, third annual Mayor's Basketball Academy tournament at Coppin State.
Hatten, 18, earned most valuable player honors last season, when the Mustangs upset then-No. 2 Randallstown and defeated then-defending Class 4A state champ Southwestern.
"We thought coming in we hadn't gotten a lot of respect, but we proved we belonged with the top teams," said Hatten, who had 27 points against Randallstown, and against Southwestern had 16, grabbed 12 rebounds, had 10 assists and six steals.
Overall last season, Hatten averaged 22.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 9.4 assists alongside teammate Damien Jenifer, whose feats got him a scholarship to Loyola.
Hatten and Jenifer were perhaps the area's most dynamic backcourt.
That duo and 6-6 inside player Hugh Brown, now at Allegany Community College, helped the Mustangs overcome Lake Clifton, Southern and Patterson for their first Class 4A North region crown.
But seven players graduated from a squad that went 20-5 and was ranked No. 2 in the area.
"You take away Jenifer and a couple of the other players we had last year, and Marcus has had to assume a pretty hefty burden," said Williams, who classified last year's squad as "blue-collar workers in a league of Armani suits."
Williams said Hatten, who amassed 206 steals last season, still exemplifies that blue-collar work ethic.
Hatten persevered in a 83-54 loss to No. 2 Dunbar, with a 33-point effort. He penetrated often and was fouled often.
"My free-throw shooting could have been better," said Hatten, who went 14-for-21 from the line. "Defensively, I saw a 1-3-1, half-court, double-teams -- mainly outside stuff. It was a good indicator, because after that game, we were better prepared to practice against what we expect teams to do against us."
Hatten recalled his teammates winning a tightly contested game against Southwestern last week after he had fouled out with two minutes remaining. He credited teammates Kevin Taylor, a forward, and point guards Xavier Jackson and Donald Thomas "for taking some of the pressure off me."
"You can't go out there and try to be the team by yourself," Hatten said. "You need the other guys to win."
What: Third annual Mayor's Basketball Academy, tournament and workshops for girls and boys players
When: Today through Saturday
Where: Coppin State College
Schedule: Five games today starting at 2: 30 p.m.; last at 8: 30 p.m. Six games tomorrow starting at 1: 30 p.m.; last at 9 p.m. Nine games Saturday starting at 9 a.m.; last at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $5 in advance, $8 at door. Available at participating city schools, Department of Recreation/Druid Hill Park, at office of 100 Black Men of Maryland, or by calling 410-685-6630 or 410-381-7977
Pub Date: 1/14/99