How does a coach replace someone like Riley Inge, the Mount St. Mary's point guard who could beat a team with his scoring, passing, rebounding and defense?
By plugging in a freshman from DeMatha who brings the same qualities into every game.
Mountaineers coach Jim Phelan has entrusted 6-foot-3 Gregory Harris with the job, and so far he has put up some Inge-like numbers. Through four games, he's averaging 10.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists, is shooting 54 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line, has made seven steals and has logged a team-high 137 minutes (34.2). He also has committed 15 turnovers (3.7).
Harris, who averaged 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in high school and was a four-year honor roll student, played all but one minute of a 74-60 win at Loyola College on Dec. 7. He cut through the lane for a couple of easy baskets, used some deft dribbling to escape pressure and split two defenders with a long bounce pass to senior guard Silas Cheung for a layup that brought the Mount fans to their feet.
"He's doing a great job because at DeMatha he was only a part-time point guard," said Phelan, whose team is 3-1 despite losing three starters who accounted for 75 percent of the scoring last season.
Harris is tied with 6-8 forward Newton Gayle, a transfer from Niagara, for the team lead in rebounding. "When the shot goes up, generally his man drops back defensively, so he pounds in and goes after the ball," Phelan said.
Harris, who led the Mount with 19 points and added 10 rebounds and seven assists in a season-opening win over La Salle, beat out sophomore Eric Bethel for the starting job. Just as the Mount beat out the likes of Towson State, William and Mary and American for Harris.
After visiting the Mount, Harris canceled his appointment with American. He knew the program was losing senior guards Inge and Chris McGuthrie, and he liked the coaching staff.
"I didn't expect to start," he said. "Coach said nothing is guaranteed."
Conwell cleared to play
Phelan said he expects Irv Conwell, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Oakland Mills, to accompany Mount St. Mary's to next Saturday's game at Villanova.
Conwell, who averaged 27.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists last year at Oakland Mills, was cleared last week by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse for the winter semester.
Conwell, a two-time Howard County Player of the Year who led the state in scoring as a senior, will be one of the backups to Cheung and could play some at point.
So much for the backcourt being a weakness. And so much for that predicted seventh-place Northeast Conference finish.
Powell treated, released
Loyola College's Mike Powell spent about 2 1/2 hours at St. Joseph's Hospital after Tuesday night's 89-84 loss at Towson State. The junior guard was groggy after being struck in the head with an elbow late in the game and couldn't make it down the steps to the locker room or out of the Towson Center without assistance.
Doctors said Powell also was dehydrated. He was given an IV solution at the hospital and told to rest for a couple of days.
Loyola doesn't play again until Saturday at Notre Dame.
Paul Grant, who scored 790 points in three seasons at Morgan State, is playing for Crystal Palace of the English Professional Basketball League. Last Sunday against Northeastern, Towson State junior forward Ralph Biggs became the first Tiger to play all 40 minutes of a game since Kurk Lee in 1989. Bowie State's women's basketball team leads the CIAA in rebounding margin. Senior guard Brandey Lemons ranks in the top 10 in scoring, steals, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. Loyola sophomore guard Corey Hewitt is 13-for-15 from the line this season and has made 50 of her last 58. College of Notre Dame sophomore Kelly Love broke her school record in the 200-meter breaststroke (2 minutes, 42.20 seconds). Salisbury State senior goalkeeper Kristie Kauffman and senior forward Ava Tasker (Broadneck), and St. Mary's senior defender Stephanie Karpinski were named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Umbro All Mid-Atlantic second team. College of Notre Dame senior forward Kristine Scelfo and Johns Hopkins freshman midfielder Hartaj Gill were chosen to the third team. Four members of the Catonsville Community College women's soccer team were named to the NJCAA All-Region XX first team: strikers Cassidie Dunbar (South River) and Tania Riismandel (Centennial), goalkeeper Heather Almony (Westminster) and midfielder Sara Nunnally (Howard).
Pub Date: 12/15/96