At least Rob Wooster got to experience the thrill of being nominatedand the thrill of anticipation hoping that his name just might show up on national television Saturday during the telecast of the Duke and Louisiana State University hoop game.
When analyst Billy Packer ran down the list of 20 seniors named to the East team for the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game, a lot of us were in front of our TV sets hoping that we might see the name of Wooster, the Annapolis star, show up.
Five names at a time were shown on the screen, and familiar namessuch as Dunbar High School stars Michael Lloyd and Donta Bright madeit, but no Wooster. Still that did not diminish the honor bestowed upon Wooster Friday night.
The 6-foot-5 player received one of just11 nominations from the State of Maryland in a special presentation before the 80-58 Annapolis (14-1) romp over Meade (10-6).
The state's top 11 were put in the national pool of 1,700 nominations. Saturday, the top 20 players were named by a blue-ribbon advisory board.
No Anne Arundel County player has ever been named to the prestigiousgame, which will be played April 19 at Georgia Tech. The fact that Wooster is considered to be one of the top 11 players in Maryland is quite an honor.
"Rob was named one of the 11 nominees from recommendations made by those on the National Advisory Board, including Morgan Wootten of DeMatha," said Gerry Gimelstob, an ex-college coach, whoowns the McDonald's restaurant in Bay Ridge, and who gave Wooster his award Friday night.
The advisory board is made up of college coaches and such noted high school coaches as Wootten.
Wooster, who leads the county in scoring with an average of 23.5 points per game, was the only county player nominated.
"He looks like a really good player and athlete," said Gimelstob.
Gimelstob was an assistant coach to Bobby Knight at the University of Indiana for five years, including working with the 1981 National Champion Hoosier team. He also worked as an assistant at the University of Utah for five years and was head coach at George Washington for four years.
Two years ago, Gimelstob, a New Jersey native, took over as owner and operator of theBay Ridge McDonald's.
"I told Coach (John Brady of Annapolis) that this is the first high school game I've been to in about four years, and I used to go about five high school games a year for about 15 years," said Gimelstob.
Gimelstob looked on Friday night as Brady'sPanthers tightened their grip on the top spot in the county and in 4A Region IV with their 19th consecutive victory over a county opponent.
The 22-point victory over Meade put the Panthers within reach of their school record -- 22 consecutive wins last season before Old Mill snapped the streak with a 68-62 victory.
Sophomore point guardJuan Johnson and 6-foot-6 junior B. J. Gross, two players who have progressed since the season began, sparkled for the Panthers. Johnson had 13 points, four boards and dished out seven assists.
Gross scored nine points and pulled in 15 boards.
"They have both been improving, and that's been a key for us," Brady said afterward.
"Juan has been playing extremely well at the point guard, making excellent decisions, running the team, and he's only a sophomore. The fact thathe ran the football team (as quarterback) has had a lot to do with his confidence in running the point-guard position."
As for Gross, Brady also had high praise. "B. J. has done a very consistent job on the boards," he said. "He has the potential to be a very good player if he keeps working and stays consistent."
Wooster and fellow senior Marvin Brown combined for 35 points for the Panthers, who face Severna Park tomorrow night. The Falcons (12-4) took a 53-47 squeaker over Old Mill (11-5) Friday night and will be meeting Annapolis for thefirst time this season.
"We're going into their place, and they will be pumped up," said Brady.
"They certainly have a lot of ammunition to make it interesting, and it should be an exciting game. Theyhave a lot of big people, and it will be a big test for B. J. and us."
Severna Park is led by 6-foot-6 senior center Rich Riffle, the county's third-leading scorer with 19.1 points a game.
Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Annapolis-Severna Park game are being sold in advance at the schools. The game is expected to be a sellout, with no tickets sold at the door.
Elsewhere, Chesapeake coach Tom Kraning thought he was dreaming Friday night at Glen Burnie as his Cougars (8-8) werehumbled 62-39 by the Gophers (10-6).
"For me it was deja vu. We played the exact same game we played against Broadneck a few weeks ago," Kraning said on the 24-Hour Sportsline (647-2499).
"I'm sure they're real pleased with their defense, just like Broadneck was, but the bottom line is -- we couldn't throw it in the ocean."