1992-93 All-Baltimore City boys basketball team Booth steps into leadership role and Dunbar doesn't skip a beat Player of the Year

March 21, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

For his first three seasons, Keith Booth played in the shadow of Donta Bright and Michael Lloyd. The spotlight was solely on him this season.

He didn't disappoint.

Booth, The Baltimore Sun's Baltimore City Player of the Year, averaged 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and Player of the Year

4.8 assists, leading the Poets to the area's No. 1 ranking for a third consecutive season and the state Class 1A title. Those accomplishments added to a resume that includes two Maryland Scholastic Association championships and a national title.

"I was able to accomplish everything that could be accomplished on the high school level," said Booth after the Poets' 65-59 victory over Cambridge-South Dorchester in the Class 1A final Wednesday. "All the credit goes to Coach [Pete] Pompey and Dunbar High School for giving me the opportunity."

The only returning starter from last season's 29-0 squad, Booth (6 feet 7) had to handle most of the scoring and ball-handling duties while Norman Nolan, an All-Met transfer from Milford Mill, became acclimated to the system.

"He could have gone on scoring binges if he wanted to," said Pompey, "but he had to sacrifice, and he has done a lot in bringing the team along."

Booth, who will play in the McDonald's All-American game in Memphis on April 4 and the Capital Classic at Cole Field House on April 8, is capable of playing all five positions. As a freshman Booth was skinny, but he has grown into a solid 210 pounds and probably will be a small forward or a shooting guard at the University of Maryland.

His displayed his versatility early in the season. In the second game of the season against St. Raymond's of New York in the Charm City/Big Apple Challenge at the Baltimore Arena, he had a steal and hit two free throws with 4.5 seconds left in overtime to give the Poets a 61-59 victory.

His patience was tested during a three-game losing streak for Dunbar, its longest slump since the 1986-87 season. Booth scored 33 points during the three games while being triple- and double-teamed, but didn't get frustrated.

And neither did the Poets, who matured under Booth's guidance and won their final 11 games.

"We experienced some difficult defeats during the season, but we still had a great season," said Booth, who will sign a letter of intent with Maryland in April. "It's not about playing for Dunbar, it's about pride. You got it every time you stepped out on the court."

* And Booth carried it well.

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