Before we get rolling with this week's dose of "Q's and A's," let mefirst remind everyone once again that the application deadline for the ninth-annual Anne Arundel County Sun All-County Academic-Athletic Team is Friday, March 29.
All entries must be received in our office by 5 p.m. that day or postmarked by that evening. To date, we havereceived an overflow of outstanding applications.
As for extending the deadline two weeks to March 29, I got an interesting opinion on the 24-hour Sportsline, 647-2499, from Northeast High counselor Len Sokoloff.
"By extending the deadline, I think you are giving kids the wrong message, because many of these kids areapplying for college and scholarships and have to apply on time, anddon't get extra time," Sokoloff said.
"They have to realize they're big boys and girls now and need to do what has to be done when it needs to be done."
The counselor's point is certainly well-taken, but there is something else to consider. We would like to think that everyone in Anne Arundel County reads our newspaper, but that's not necessarily so.
Several years ago, we had an outstanding student-athlete who played three sports and had a 4.0 grade point average but didn't learn about our team until the two-week extension period. It seems the family did not subscribe to The Sun, and he learned about theteam from a classmate.
Also, many times over the last nine years,I have received requests for more time because certain students had additional information not yet in their hands that they wanted to include and some faculty members needed the extra time to get off a recommendation letter.
So as not to give special preference because ofone legitimate request, we give everyone the extension. That's only fair, but to reinforce Sokoloff's point, we will adhere strictly to the March 29 date.
Now let's get into those questions without answers that you guys are so kind to help me with by calling the 24-hour Sportsline. Keep those "Q's" and comments coming on 647-2499.
* Howbig of a thrill do you think it was for the Anne Arundel County Sun Boys Basketball Player of the Year Rob Wooster of Annapolis to receive a personal letter from Washington Bullets star Bernard King?
That's right, the Bullets' scoring machine wrote to the Panther junior to congratulate him on his great season and for being recruited by coaches from the nation's top three conferences: the Big Ten, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East.
King wrote, "Prepare yourself both on and off the court to be the best player and student that you can be.
"Setting goals and focusing in on them is a must if you are to be successful. Take it from a guy who was told by everyone that his career was over in 1985 following a career-threatening knee injury. I wouldn't buy that.
"Rob, don't just take the talent that you possess right now and sit back and be satisfied. Work daily on yourweaknesses. Don't be denied in reaching your potential because the only thing in your way is you if you don't push yourself."
Isn't itgood to know that there are some highly paid pros out there, such asKing, who would take the time to write to a budding college player even though he never had anything to do with Annapolis High but answered the request of Wooster coach John Brady to drop him a line on the importance of focusing on his goals?
* How about that Brian Toronto, the Broadneck High and Anne Arundel Community College left-handed pitcher who is on a baseball scholarship at the University of Texas, saving another game last week for the Longhorns with his incomparablepickoff move to first base?
With Texas leading, 5-2, over Kansas in the top of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded, Toronto was summoned from the bullpen and promptly notched a save without throwing a pitch. The stylish lefty picked the runner off first to end the game, something he has done several times already this spring.
Also, in an outing against Notre Dame, Toronto struck out four battersand picked one man off in three innings.
Aren't you going to markTuesday, April 2, on your calendar for the Longhorn's game against the major-league Texas Rangers on ESPN? Nolan Ryan faces his son Reed,who is on the Texas staff, and we can hope that Toronto gets into the game and shows the nation his major-league pickoff move.
* Has the Anne Arundel Community College baseball team got the quintessential leadoff man in Frank Billings, the All-County outfielder from Chesapeake High?
Can you believe in a 24-6 romp over Cecil last week that Billings, whose job as first batter is to get on, reached base allseven times and scored five runs?
* With only two years in professional baseball even though last year was a 20-win season for him, wasn't it no surprise that the Minnesota Twins reassigned former Arundel High and University of Minnesota left-hander Denny Neagle to theirminor-league camp Monday?
Won't we see Neagle in the big show sometime this season or next?