Versatile Kyle Jefferson Is Clutch In Hammond High School's Drive

One Of 10 Best Ever To Play County Hoops, Says Coach Jack Burke

Player Of The Year

March 20, 1991|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

A lot of colleges are knocking at Kyle Jefferson's door these days.

And why not? The two-time, first-team Howard County Sun All-Countybasketball player is one of the best clutch players around.

That, and his versatility, earned him The Howard County Sun's Player of the Year honor.

"Whatever we asked him to do, he did," Hammond coach Jack Burke said.

"If we needed more rebounds near the end of the game, he'd hit the boards harder. If we needed him to shoot more, he would. If we needed him to play inside where he knew he'd get beat up, he'd do that."

The 6-foot-3, 165-pound Jefferson not only wasn't afraid to take a pounding from bigger, stronger players inside, but he usually beat them with his quickness.

"I think he's one of the 10 best players ever in Howard County and the best this year," Burke said.

A good leaper with excellent body control, Jefferson has a feathery shooting touch. He was keyed on defensively since opposing coaches knew he was the key to Hammond's success.

He scored 525 points in 24 games for a 21.9 average. He averaged 9.2 reboundsand 5.2 assists. For his career he scored 991 points.

Jefferson played one of his best games this season against Mount Hebron at a time when the Vikings led the league with a 5-0 record.

Behind Jefferson's 23-point, 15-rebound, four-assist game the Bears beat Mount Hebron, 70-60. Jefferson held Mount Hebron's 6-3, 210-pound center MarekJantac to just four points.

The Vikings never recovered and finished fourth in the league.

Jefferson wreaked similar havoc upon Wilde Lake in two regular-season Hammond victories over the 'Cats.

With both Hammond and Wilde Lake battling for the county title late in the season, Jefferson produced his piece de resistance.

Jefferson scored 20 points, shot 9-for-13 from the floor and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 71-70 win in the 'Cats gym.

Jefferson forced a Wilde Lake player to alter his shot and miss a fast-break layup with 15 seconds left and the 'Cats leading, 70-69.

Then he rebounded a missed free throw. After his brother, Kris, a sophomore who plays guard for Hammond, sank two free throws for a 71-70 Hammond lead, seven seconds remained.

Jefferson stole the inbound pass, and Hammond held on to win.

The Bears and Wildecats went on to finish the season with identical 10-4 league records, one game behind county champion Oakland Mills.

Hammond lost both games to Oakland Mills, but Jefferson scored 32 points and had 13 rebounds in one of the battles.

Jefferson could play all five positions for Hammond. He was a good free-throw shooter and liked to have the ball with the game on the line.

He won both a 66-65 game against Centennial and a 94-93 game over Forest Parkwith two free throws at the end .

"About 20 schools have expressed an interest in Kyle," Burke said.

"The Division I schools include Delaware, Tampa, Buffalo, Rider and Wagner. Kyle was described by one college scouting service as a 'bubble' Division I player."

"There are Division I schools where he could play. I think he'd be a reallegitimate Division II player, and a star in Division III," Burke said.

Division II schools Florida Southern, Gannon and Millersville have expressed some interest.

"Kyle is the kind of player who can pass, shoot, rebound or draw a foul and will make your team better and win you games," Burke said.

"If he's physically overmatched, he'll beat you by outthinking you."

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