3 sign early after making the grades

SIDELINES

November 16, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

When a student-athlete signs early for an athletic scholarship, you can be sure that the athlete has worked hard in the classroom as well as on the playing field. Two North County athletes and another from Annapolis fit that bill.

All-County lacrosse defenseman Chris Lamy and All-County pitcher/third baseman Mike Wooden, both of North County, and basketball player Lenny Barber of Annapolis received NCAA Division I scholarships this week.

Each signed a letter of intent this week, Lamy at Penn State, Wooden at Maryland and Barber at UMBC. To do so early indicates not only athletic skills but academic skills that qualify a student-athlete.

It means the student-athlete has met the requirements for grade-point average in core subjects and, because he has met those standards, doesn't have to wait for test scores.

Lamy, Wooden and Barber meet the requirements and each is an outstanding young man who obviously did the necessary work early in his high school career.

Too often, great athletes don't have the grades to get in the front door of a major university and try to cram four years of high school work into their senior year. Usually, those student-athletes are left wondering what could have been.

These three worked hard with the books from the get-go and are savoring the fruits of early signing in their senior years. Each will play his senior season without the pressures of worrying about college.

The 6-foot-4 and 190-pound Lamy has started for the Knights of coaches Paul Shea and Jon Appelt since his freshman year and combines size and quickness.

He considered Loyola, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, but the chance to play right away with the Nittany Lions lured him to Happy Valley.

"Chris is an excellent one-on-one player," Shea said.

Wooden, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander, one of the most recruited pitchers from Maryland, has decided to stay close to home at College Park. Wooden was 27-6 combined this past year for North County, Gunther's Little Orioles (summer) and the Oriolelanders (fall).

In accepting the full scholarship to Maryland, Wooden turned down offers from two other schools he visited -- N.C. State and UNC-Charlotte -- and several others. Wooden, a varsity starter since his freshman year, has been All-County the past two years. He pitched a perfect game against Old Mill last year (the county's first in 20 years) and led the Knights of coach Don Usewick to their first baseball playoff berth.

The 6-foot-8 Barber is the most unique of the three in that he did not start as a junior at Annapolis.

Barber was a role player for the 4A East Region runner-up Panthers, but is thought to be the first county basketball player to sign early with a Division I team.

"Lenny didn't have a great season and went out and really worked hard to get better," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "He played in over 50 games in summer leagues, trained and lifted weights every day."

Barber gained the attention of UMBC, Mount St. Mary's, the Citadel and St. Francis (Pa.) while playing in the Metro Index Camp in Pittsburgh and in the High Point summer league in Prince George's County.

"I chose UMBC because I really liked the coaches [Earl Hawkins, head coach] and they told me I will get a chance to play my freshman year," said Barber, who sings the national anthem at Panther home games and has impersonated the lead singers of the Temptations and Village People with the Annapolis band at football halftime shows.

It's also unique that Barber, who will major in education with a desire to become a history teacher, did not play his freshman year at Annapolis.

"I was too scared to try out in ninth grade and played JV in 10th," said Barber.

"I'm really looking forward to this season, especially since all the pressure of college is off my shoulders."

Navy ice hockey wins

Mike Murnane and Brian Erickson scored two goals apiece as the Navy ice hockey club team humbled Penn University, 9-1, over the weekend. In running their record to 4-0-1, the Mids of coach Jim Barry outshot their opponent 49-26.

Navy plays host to West Chester at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Duquesne at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played at Dahlgren Hall.

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