Anne Arundel team previews Local Sports: Basketball Previews

December 03, 1996|By Pat O'Malley

Annapolis Panthers

1995-96 record: 21-6.

Coach: John Brady (career record: 396-74)

Top players: Germaine "Boo" Diggs, 6-8, Sr.,F; Brian Barber, 6-8, Sr., F; Barry Booth, 5-11, Sr., G; Byron Booth, 5-11, Sr., G; Todd Nicolini, 5-11, Jr., G; Toronto Williams, 6-2, Sr., G; Scott Raspa, 6-1, Sr., G; Pete Howe, 6-2, Sr., F; Tony Smith, 6-7, Jr., F; Markus Green, 6-2, Jr.,F.

Outlook: A pair of Division I prospects inside in Diggs, the county Player of the Year, and Towson State-bound Barber anchor seven returning seniors from last year's 4A state semifinalists. With a state record 23rd region title, the Panthers returned to the final four at College Park for the first time in five years and lost a 71-64 decision to Northwestern in the semifinals. Diggs became the first player in 21 years to lead the county in scoring (20.5) and rebounding (11.5) as a junior All-Metro selection. Defense is Diggs' forte. Barber, who came on late as a junior (8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds -- 12 points, 10 boards, two blocks in semis) and Diggs give the Panthers as good an inside game as you can find at this level. The Booth twins, Barry and Byron, Nicolini, Raspa and Williams give the Diggs-Barber duo the option of kicking it out to a fleet of speedy, sharp-shooters on the perimeter. "This group plays really hard and they're very clever and smart which will allow us to do a lot of things," said Brady who begins his 20th season. "It's going to be a fun group to watch and we could win a state championship with this team if we get back to Cole Field House."

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995-96 record: 3-17

Coach: Tony Martin (first season)

Top players: Max Yokono, 6-7, Jr.,C-F; Tremaine Robinson, 6-2, Fr., G; Derrick Snowden, 5-11, Fr., G; Marcus Davis, 5-10, Fr., G-F; Jasion Campion, 6-4, Jr., F-G; Joe Petrocelli, 5-9, Sr., G-F; Jon Bents, 6-8, Jr., C-F; Mike Chaconas, 6-5, Jr., F-G.

Outlook: The know-how to win is what the enthusiastic Martin brings to Spalding in replacing Robert Spriggs, who was around for only one season. Martin inherits a program that has hit rock bottom, but expects to turn it around with an influx of young talent and a gifted foreign exchange student in Yokono. A former assistant coach at both Cardinal Gibbons and Mount St. Joseph, Martin has an idea of what it takes after winning JV championships at both schools. "We're going to be playing 14-year-olds against 18-year-olds, but by the time we get to our conference [MIAA C] games, we should be very competitive and do well," said Martin, who has five freshmen and two sophomores on the varsity. One of the freshmen, Davis, is a co-captain with the junior Campion and two other ninth-graders in Robinson and Snowden are being touted as Division I prospects. Martin expects to have one of the top teams in the area within a couple years.

Arundel Wildcats

1995-96 record: 16-7.

Coach: V.J. Keith (first season)

Top players: Jamell Miller, 6-2, Sr., G; Erik Lipton, 6-4, Sr., G; Joe Parker, 6-3, Sr., G; Tony Ross, 6-6, Sr., F-C; Lavar Robinson, 6-4, Sr., G-F; R.J. Farmer, 6-0, Jr., G; Andrew Helms, 6-10, Jr., C; Victor Robinson, 6-4, Sr., F.

Outlook: It's not your normal circumstance for a rookie coach as Keith steps into a pressure cooker in Gambrills. After four years as an assistant to Ken Kazmarek at Broadneck, the 30-year-old Keith replaces the fired Gerald Moore. Moore turned the Wildcats into a 4A power and was 89-72 in seven seasons, and the reason for his dismissal is still unclear. "We're still getting to know each other and the players have been willing to compromise with me so we get on the same page," said Keith. Moore left behind a wealth of talent led by Miller, a second-team All-County guard (12.1 points, 8.0 boards, 3.1 assists), not to mention L. Robinson, a Meade transfer. The backcourt is outstanding and deep with Miller, who can also play forward, Parker (11.9 points), Lipton (6.1 assists) and Farmer, and Ross, V. Robinson and JV grad Helms to muscle up underneath. "This is a highly athletic group, very competitive and extremely quick," said Keith. "Depending on who we play and matchup with, we can put a quick team on the floor or a tall team out there."

Broadneck Bruins

1995-96 record: 16-7

Coach: Ken Kazmarek (221-85)

Top players: John Williams, 6-5, Sr., G-F; Brad Limbacher, 5-8, Sr., G; Noble Watkins, 6-5, Sr., C-F; Mike D'Archangelo, 5-8, Sr., G; Craig Vincent, 6-1, Sr., G; Marcus Day, 6-1, Sr., G; Matt Costello, 6-4, Sr., F; Brooks Barnard, 6-3, Jr., F; Earl Downs, 6-3, Jr., F; Lehrman Dotson, 6-0, So., G.

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