Chesapeake's Findley emerges as court star

February 25, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Chesapeake's Kenny Findley, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and lacrosse), is a legitimate county basketball star but one who knows his limitations.

He patiently has waited his turn and become a standout his senior year, but he has not fallen into the trap that many young athletes who taste stardom do. He has a refreshing perspective.

"I don't handle the ball well enough at 6-4 to play guard at the Division I level," said Findley, who has been one of the county's top-five scorers most of the season and easily one of the best-kept secrets.

"At 6-4, that's what I would have to play, guard. Here at Chesapeake, because of our lack of height, they needed me inside for rebounding."

Findley is averaging 22.9 points and nearly eight rebounds for the 7-13 Cougars, who have dropped five games by six points or less. Chesapeake has played most of its county foes tough mainly because of Findley's consistent play.

"We've played nearly everyone tough. If only we could get the season back," said Findley, who was used sparingly on last year's senior-dominated team.

Coach Tom Kraning predicted before the season started that Findley had scoring potential, and he hasn't let the coach down.

"I used to say that the better teams in the county were 15 points better than us, but this year I can say that they are only five points better, and Kenny has had a lot to do with it," said Kraning.

"Ken has hit a lot of big baskets for us this season, and if we had a true center, he would be even more effective because he's such a good shooter. Teams focus on him and he still gets his points."

In a 64-45 romp over Severna Park (5-15) on Friday, Findley scored 34 points for a second time this season. He first hit his career high in a 61-51 loss to Old Mill (9-8) about two weeks ago.

"If I hadn't gotten into early foul trouble, I think I would have hit 40 that game [Old Mill], and the Severna Park game wasn't much of a game, so I didn't stay in long enough to get 40," said Findley, who had 22 of his team's 25 points in the first half of the Old Mill game.

His is the case of a senior making the most of a long-awaited opportunity -- the chance to play.

"I've played basketball all my life and love the game," said Findley, whose 6-foot-7 dad, Ken Sr., played at Navy and is a 1967 graduate of the academy.

"My dad taught me how to play the game and has worked with me all my life, and I hope to get to play in college."

Findley, who has a 2.50 grade-point average and scored 1,010 on his SAT, has drawn interest from Navy, West Point and Division III schools Gettysburg and Widener. He would like to play basketball at one of those schools, but he also is a pretty good lacrosse midfielder.

"I feel I could play Division III basketball, but it's possible I might get an opportunity to play lacrosse somewhere," said Findley, who improved his game last summer by playing in the local Hero's League and by attending the Elite Lacrosse Camp in Washington.

"He can play and is definitely one of the best players in the county," said Annapolis basketball coach John Brady, whose seventh-ranked Panthers (14-6) had to overcome a 26-point effort by Findley on Feb. 12 to survive with a 56-51 victory.

"He plays hard the entire game and that's important, because you don't last long in college where everybody is good, if you don't play hard."

Playing hard is what has earned Findley his big chance and certainly he has made the most of it.

"He's just a normal kid, not going to be Division I or anything," said his mom, Eileen, "just a kid who has worked hard for a long time to put a few things in his scrapbook."

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