Family plan in the paint Girls basketball: Annapolis center Kammi Cottrell is raising her play in her junior season thanks in part to her big brother and father. Her goal? To play in college, just like they and her mother did.

December 22, 1996|By BILL FREE | BILL FREE,SUN STAFF

Kammi Cottrell has arrived.

And she hopes to take the seventh-ranked Annapolis girls basketball team with her to the state tournament.

The 6-foot-1 center has been hot in the early season for the Panthers, scoring 24 points with 13 rebounds in a season-opening victory over LaPlata and getting 20 points and 14 rebounds in a stinging 42-40 loss to No. 5 Hammond.

Cottrell can drive the length of the court with all the quickness and agility of a top-notch point guard. She can spin left or right in the lane for layups and baby hooks, and she can shoot 15-foot jumpers.

She is averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds in five games for the 3-2 Panthers after getting 11 points and 12 rebounds a game as a sophomore and 10.5 points and 9.3 rebounds in her freshman year.

The sometimes spectacular junior is a pleasure to watch because it's obvious she loves to play the game and has a lot of fun on the court. It's a love of the game nurtured by a father, mother and brother, all of whom played basketball in college and have imparted a lot of knowledge to her.

Her father, Alphonso, and mother, Debbie, played at Bowie State, where they met, and her brother, Teddy, was a reserve forward for a powerful University of Massachusetts team before graduating last spring.

Kammi has the talent to follow the rest of her family to the collegiate court and already has drawn interest from Syracuse, William & Mary, Mount St. Mary's, Rutgers, Temple, Xavier and Towson State.

Teddy Cottrell's job over the past several months has been to work with his sister on post moves and to teach her to be more physical on the court.

Her father has taken on the responsibility of practicing free-throw shooting with Kammi after a disappointing 2-for-8 performance against Hammond.

"I know I'm going to have to improve my shooting to play at the next level," said Kammi. "I'm working on everything, from the post to three-point shooting."

But first, Cottrell and the Panthers have some scores to settle with defending Class 4A county and state champion Arundel during the next two seasons.

Fourth-ranked Arundel has already handed Annapolis a 46-35 defeat this season to make it five in a row over the Panthers. Cottrell was held to 10 points in that setback last Tuesday, but it wasn't all her fault.

She rarely saw the ball, because the Arundel press forced 30 Annapolis turnovers.

That loss has driven Cottrell even more as she seeks to help the Panthers return to the days when they were going to state tournaments and beating Arundel. Annapolis had defeated Arundel six straight times before the current five-game losing streak, and the Panthers last trip to the state tournament was in 1993.

"I remember I was in the eighth grade when our school went to the states, and I missed out on it," said Cottrell. "I want to beat Arundel real bad and make it to the states. I think if we stick together, we can do it. When we lost to Hammond, it was a lack of concentration, and against Arundel we couldn't beat their press."

Annapolis coach Dave Griffith has watched Cottrell develop her inside game immensely since her freshman year and is excited about her future.

"She has developed a strong reverse pivot move and worked hard on her rebounding," said Griffith. "She has generated a lot of interest from Division I and Division II schools. The talent is there, but she needs to bulk up more, be more physical, and step forward as a leader."

Whatever happens the rest of her career, Cottrell said she won't take anything for granted.

Pub Date: 12/22/96

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