Imagine this: Juan Dixon, Kevin Braswell and Mike King all wearing Calvert Hall basketball jerseys.
It won't happen, but it nearly did, because both King and Braswell of Lake Clifton both considered attending the Catholic school in Towson where Dixon stars.
Instead, though, King and Braswell ended up a Lake Clifton, where they form what some believe to be the area's best backcourt for the area's No. 4 team.
"I thought about it [going to Calvert Hall] before this season, but I really felt like I'd be jumping, letting down my teammates," said Braswell, a 6-foot-2 point guard.
King, a 6-foot-4 swingman, considered transferring to Calvert Hall from Dunbar, where he spent brief time as a freshman. He later left Dunbar, where his brother, Yashi, had played, because he wanted "to be my own man."
"I grew up in my brothers' shadows, and it wasn't bad being called 'little Yashi,' " said King, whose elder sibling played two years of junior-college ball and plans to continue his career at the Division I level. "But going to Lake Clifton gave me the chance to develop my own identity. I wanted to be known as Mike King, for my game."
Braswell, a junior, has two sources of motivation -- his mother, Milicent Boone, and Dixon, who is bound for the University of Maryland on a scholarship.
"When my grades slip, my mother's always on top of me. She's always there," said Braswell, who has a 2.6 grade-point average and has begun taking the Scholastic Assessment Test.
"And Juan, he's going Division I. He's been my friend since sixth grade, and I attribute a lot of my success to him," Braswell added. "He's a role model in how he plays and how he carries himself off the court."
King, a senior who also has a 2.6 grade-point average, derives guidance from Yashi.
"When we go to the courts or the gym," said King, "he's always giving me pointers like, 'Snap your wrist,' 'Get higher on your jump shots,' or on defense, 'Stop reaching.' "
The players are putting the advice to good use: King averages 22.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 5.2 blocks and 3.2 assists. Braswell, -- who stands 6-foot-2, averages 20.1 points, 7.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds.
However, looming large -- though they were small, physically -- are the specters of 1993 graduate Kevin Norris and 1995 graduate Shawnta Rogers. Norris, now at Miami, was 5-foot-7 -- two inches taller than Rogers, now at George Washington University.
But they had the Lakers ranked as high as No. 2 in the area during Norris' senior season, a season that included a 90-59 rout of then-No. 16 St. Frances.
This year's No. 4 Lakers (8-3) have lost to No. 3 St. Frances.
"Those individuals [Norris and Rogers] made an excellent backcourt, and inevitably, those comparisons are going to come up," said Lakers coach Charlie Moore.
"But these guys [Braswell and King] are great players in their own right. And they're familiar with each other from playing [Amateur Athletic Union] ball with Cecil Kirk during the summer," Moore continued. "I've challenged them, particularly Mike, to be more of a leader. Overall, they're handling things pretty well."
Moore said the moment of truth for both players came a few weeks back, when King called a team meeting after a loss to Germantown Academy of Philadelphia.
"After the game, Kevin and I looked at each other, like, 'Man, we should have won this game,' " said King, who corraled the team members in the locker room. "I looked at everybody, one-by-one, and asked them, 'Do you want to help the team? Do you want to win states? Do you want to go to college?' "
When King isn't leading, Braswell has taken over.
When King missed the team bus before a two-point loss to Southwestern -- a game in which King did not start -- Braswell responded with 12 points.
Pub Date: 1/17/97