Meade's Barrett leaves opponents all shook up

February 16, 1993|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Sitting in the bleachers on one end of Meade's gymnasium are Derek Barrett's "boys" -- mostly classmates and former teammates -- constantly urging the 5-foot-10 senior to shake someone.

Standing at the other end and opposite side of the gym is the Mustangs veteran coach Butch Young instructing his backcourt to "run the play."

"Shake em'!," screams one Meade supporter as Barrett is met at mid-court by a defender. "Take it the hole."

In no need of encouragement, Barrett methodically works his way inside the three-point line. His teammates clear the lane bringing their opponents with them. Barrett dribbles the ball between his legs three times. He's off to the races, only this race is over after the first step as Barrett glides in and lays it off the glass for the easy basket.

"What I try to do is freeze them for just a split second," said Barrett, who has been one of the county's hottest commodities this season, averaging 18.1 points and 4.3 assists per game.

" It all depends on what I have to do. If I'm going to the hole that move [between the legs] gets them rocking one way, which is all the time I need to get by them. It also helps me get the jumper off. I can do a lot off of that one move."

Next time down the court, same thing.

Barrett is met near half-court by another defender bound and determined to shut him down. Again, he cautiously works his way in just beyond the three-point line. Three more rapid dribbles between the legs sends the defender on his heels, only this time Barrett pulls up and sinks the three-pointer.

A series of high-fives ensue in the stands. Barrett bites his lower lip in an effort to hide his smile and his coach just shakes his head in disbelief.

The Mustangs would go on to beat Arundel that night 84-52, but not before Barrett would collect 34 points, eight steals and seven assists. Another day at the office for Barrett.

"What we've tried to do is tone his game down some," said Young, who has seen his share of contenders and pretenders in 16 years at Meade. "There's a fine line between being tricky and clever and being downright fancy and Derek sometimes goes beyond that line. On occasion I say something to him, but for the most part he plays under control."

Barrett, an 82 percent free-throw shooter, has exhibited considerable discipline for someone who learned most of his moves on the playgrounds and school yards of Southeast Washington.

After playing "a couple of years" in the Gambrills-Odenton Recreation Council, Barrett joined Meade's junior varsity team as a freshman where he was the starting point guard. The next season, he helped the Mustangs to a 19-1 record and a junior varsity county title.

Young believes it's Barrett's unselfishness and the altruistic behavior of every team member that has helped the Mustangs to a 16-2 record and No. 15 metro area ranking with four regular-season meetings left.

"I think his whole team concept has developed pretty well," said Young, whose team will play host to Chesapeake at 7 tonight before traveling to Old Mill on Friday. "He has more faith in his teammates. I think that's been one of the things that has helped us win some ballgames this year. Everyone on this team cares for each other."

"The whole group reacts pretty well to each other and they all take pleasure in good touch passes that result in an easy basket. Sometimes people think we overpass a little bit, but they all take pride in setting up the easiest possible shot. Believe me, every one of our players is alert when Derek has the ball."

Meade senior swingman Danny Sancomb admits that he keeps his head on a swivel any time Barrett touches the ball.

"I know if I work myself open he's going to get me the ball," said Sancomb, who is averaging 17.7 points a game. "He makes everybody on the team a better player."

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