Wooster improves upon tradition at Annapolis, but it hasn't been easy

January 16, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Special to The Evening Sun

For Annapolis forward Rob Wooster, improving his statistics of the previous winter isn't just a goal.

It's tradition.

"After your junior year, you're supposed to come back and add more of what you did then to your senior year," he said.

"Delmore Howard was a junior with four senior starters, and he had to come back last year and increase his scoring. Same with Jeff Brown two years ago. It's just an Annapolis tradition."

In his third varsity season, Wooster is discovering that he's a tough act to follow.

Emerging from his supporting role to become what coach John Brady calls "a primary player," Wooster ranks among the leading scorers in Anne Arundel County at 18.7 points a game. That's more than four points over last season, when his deft outside shooting and sound defense helped the Panthers reach the Class 4A state playoffs for the 11th time in 14 years.

But there's a flip side to Wooster's season. His rebounds have dipped from 8.1 to 4.3 a game, and the 6-foot-5 senior said "there are a lot more things that I could be doing as a player.

"I'd like to get my rebounding back up and I'd also like to increase my scoring more. At times, I've shown flashes of averaging 20-something points. I think I'm capable of that."

So does Brady. And he isn't shy about letting Wooster know.

"His scoring is up, but it could be better. He should get 20 a game just showing up. That should be his par," he said.

Brady lays partial blame on the team's overall inconsistency. With five sophomores, this is his youngest squad ever.

"Last year, he really complemented the guys and made it easier for them to do what they were supposed to do. We just need the other people to complement him," Brady said.

And Wooster needs to stay out of foul trouble. He picked up three early ones against Cardozo of Washington, D.C., in the finals of the Capital City Classic last month, and the result was eight points and the Panthers' only loss in their first eight games.

Last Friday, he scored 11 points after spending part of the game on the bench because of fouls. Annapolis struggled before pulling away for an 83-60 win over Arundel to maintain its No. 4 ranking in The Baltimore Sun poll.

"Those are just mental breakdowns on my part. They're just silly fouls that I shouldn't be committing," said Wooster, who has scored at least 20 points in five games, including a season-high 27 against Edmondson.

"There are some good things that I've done, but I'm my own worst critic."

Others, like senior guard Josh Gannon, aren't as critical. "He brings a lot to the team, a lot of leadership. The two-year varsity players look up to him, both on and off the court," he said.

Wooster has been recruited by a number of Division I schools, including Maryland and Navy. He could have signed early with St. Bonaventure but declined.

Maryland dropped out of the running after securing other recruits during the early signing period, and Wooster said, "I'm keeping my options open."

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