OCCASIONALLY some old-timers will complain that the basketball talent coming out of Baltimore City and environs isn't up to snuff compared with years past. But some recent classes are doing quite nicely.
In particular, the backcourt talent in the Class of 1988 looks better with age.
The Evening Sun Player of the Year was Dunbar's Sam Cassell. After a year at a prep school in Maine, Cassell is in his second season at San Jacinto, a junior college in Pasadena, Texas. He has signed a letter of intent with Florida State.
Cassell is averaging 27.9 points for the 9-1 Ravens, and he had 43 in a 129-120 overtime win against state rival Odessa, another national two-year power.
"Sam is the best junior college guard in the nation," San Jacinto coach Scott Gernander said.
Joining Cassell on the first-team All-Metro squad were Walbrook's Devin Boyd and Southern's Terrance Jacobs, who are teammates at Towson State.
The second-team listed Loyola's Kevin Anderson, who's now a swingman for the college of the same name, and Lake Clifton's Ken McNeil. After a brief stay at Northern Oklahoma, McNeil is a student at Coppin State, but coach Fang Mitchell said he doesn't fit into the Eagles' immediate plans. Aberdeen's Monroe Brown, a third-team All-Metro pick, has started the last two years at Penn State.
Picking All-Metro teams isn't an exact science. Cassell overshadowed his Poets teammates during the 1987-88 season, but Loyola wouldn't trade anyone from that year for Dunbar grad Kevin Green, the Greyhounds' explosive shooting guard who is the state's leading scorer. He didn't receive as much as honorable mention in high school.
* How much respect did Washington College soccer player Mike Bishop get in the Middle Atlantic Conference?
Bishop's team won one conference game and three on the season, but the senior from Liverpool, England, was voted Most Valuable Player in the MAC Southern Division.
Bishop made the MAC Southern Division first team for the third straight year, and that unit also included Johns Hopkins' Rich Bronshvag, a senior back from Kentfield, Calif., and Warren Jones, a senior forward from Randolph, N.J. Haverford's Rob TTC Shaker, a senior forward out of Wilde Lake, also was honored.
The South Atlantic Region all-stars in Division III included Salisbury State's Dave Kidd, who played at Archbishop Curley and Essex Community College. Making the second team were Frostburg State's James Fuss, a senior back from Southern of Harwood, and James Eppard, a senior midfielder from Montgomery County.
* The Towson State Holiday Relays help kick off the indoor track and field season Sunday (10 a.m.).
Tigers coach Roger Erricker feels he has his strongest women's team ever. The freshmen class includes hurdler Kristie Rohlehder and half-miler Mary Matthews, who helped Old Mill High to several state 4A titles. Another Anne Arundel County product is Chesapeake's Jennifer Clark, a fine high jump prospect who knows how to handle a relay baton.
An older newcomer is sophomore Vikki Benhardt, who was The Evening Sun cross country Runner of the Year in 1988. She didn't run for Towson State last year, but joined the Tigers' cross country program in the fall.
* Little went right for Salisbury State football in coach Joe Rotellini's first season, but senior punter Bill Schmidt did get a lot of work and was named to the ECAC Division III Southern all-stars. An All-Metro during his days at Edgewood High, Schmidt punted 52 times for a 38.9-yard average, and placed 10 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line.