1997-98 Baltimore City boys basketball previews

December 05, 1997|By Derek Toney and Rich Scherr

Public schools

Carver Bears

1996-97 record: 4-16

Coach: Durce Jackson

Top players: Miguel Wilson, 5-11, Jr., G Tavon McCoy, 5-10, Soph., G; Dwayne Banks, 5-10, Jr., G; Mike Napper, 6-4, Jr., C; Chris Johnson, 6-2, Jr., F

Outlook: The Bears have one of the city's best guards in Wilson, the team's leading scorer last season. Jackson says his team will be guard-oriented because it lacks height. With only three seniors, Carver will be inexperienced but will play tough defense. The Bears should exceed last season's win total but will be hard-pressed to play around .500.

City Knights

1996-97 record: 15-10

Coach: Daryl Wade

Top players: Kenny Carter, 5-8, Sr., G; Warren Smith, 6-4, Sr., F; Austin Baker, 6-6, Jr., C; Dominic Fulcher, 6-3, Sr., F

Outlook: The Knights, who reached the Class 2A state semifinals last season, lost 7-foot center Derrick Goode to Archbishop Spalding. Smith and Carter are returning starters, but City doesn't have much experience. Wade likes his team's quickness, which it will need with a tough non-league schedule and playing in the City East Division.

Douglass Ducks

1996-97 record: 14-8

Coach: Rodney Cofield

Top players: Charles Harris, 6-1, Sr., G; Joe Ison, 6-4, Jr., F; Dominic Little, 6-1, Sr., G; Tony Day, 6-0, Sr., G; Travis Buchanan, 6-4, Jr., F; Michael Stewart, 6-3, Jr., F

Outlook: The Ducks may be ready to challenge Southwestern seriously in the City West Division. Three starters return, including Harris, a second-team All-City/County selection last season. Quickness should create transition baskets, but the Ducks lack depth and size. A tough December schedule, including games with Dunbar, Randallstown, Southwestern and Southern-Baltimore, will test the Ducks immediately.

Dunbar Poets

1996-97 record: 18-7

Coach: Lynn Badham

Top players: Tim Lyles, 5-11, Jr., G; Jamal Brown, 6-6, Jr., C; Donteaz Dean, 6- 5, Jr., F; Arnold Bowie, 6-1, Sr., G/G; Larry Tucker, 6-4, Jr., F

Outlook: For the first time since 1990-91, Dunbar begins a season coming off a loss, by 31 points, to Thomas Johnson in the Class 3A state title game in March. The Poets, who won the Craig Cromwell Summer League, return four starters, led by Lyles, a first-team All-Metro selection last season. Brown, a second-team All-City/County pick, and Dean are promising front-line performers. Badham likes his team's experience and quickness but is unsure about his bench and the Poets' ability to play consistently for 32 minutes.

Edmondson Redskins

1996-97 record: 10-12

Coach: James James

Top players: Mike Jones, 6-3, Soph., F; Jeffrey Page, 5-10, Jr., G; Guy Williams, 6-4, Soph., C; Eddie Colbert, 6-0, Soph., G; Leslie Prince, 6-1, Jr., G

Outlook: The Redskins, despite returning four lettermen, have no seniors. James says his team's rebounding should improve. Edmondson will probably again hover around the .500 mark.

Forest Park Foresters

1996-97 record: 2-16

Coach: Gregory Warren

Top players: Shawn Waller, 5-11, Sr., G; Chris Hurst, 6-2, Sr., F; Tim Beauford, 5-9, Sr., G; Kemar Law, 6-6, Sr., C; Donnell Dobbins, 5-8, Jr., G; Omar Hammond, 5-8, Jr., G; Latron Davis, 6-2, Jr., F

Outlook: Warren becomes the third coach in three seasons for Forest Park, replacing Ronald Covington. Waller is the lone returning starter on a team that is rebuilding and needs discipline. Forest Park may have a difficult time avoiding the bottom of the City West Division.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1996-97 record: 18-5

Coach: Herman Harried

Top players: Rodney Bass, 6-5, Sr., F; Kevin Smith, 6-5, Jr., F; James Harris, 5 -9, Jr., G; Joe Able, 6-2, Sr., F; Brandon Haughton, 6-7, Jr., C

Outlook: Harried, a former assistant at Loyola College and a member of Dunbar's 1984 mythical national championship team, replaces longtime coach Charlie Moore, who retired in September. Bass is the lone starter back, Smith transferred from St. Frances, and Harried expects them to play big roles. Defense and turnovers are concerns, along with players becoming familiar with a new system. It may take awhile for the Lakers to get comfortable, but there's enough talent to make a run with Dunbar and Southern-Baltimore for the City East Division title.

Mervo Mustangs

1996-97 record: 12-12

Coach: Woody Williams

Top players: Hugh Brown, 6-6, Sr., C/F; Melvin Bridges, 6-3, Sr., F; Damian Jennifer, 6-0, Sr., G; Marcus Hatten, 6-2, Jr., G; Tim Wilkins, 6-5, Sr., F

Outlook: Mervo could be a contender in the City East Division. The Mustangs return a solid nucleus, including Brown, Jennifer and Hatten. Williams likes his team's experience but worries about its ability to play with intensity and maturity. If Mervo can do that, it's capable of challenging Dunbar and Lake Clifton in the East.

Northern Vikings

1996-97 record: 10-11

Coach: Paul Holmes

Top players: Donte Pennix, 6-2, Sr., G; Myron Robinson, 6-6, Sr., C; Mike Scott, 5-11, Jr., G; Antron Marshall, 5-11, Jr., G; Shannon Mims, 6-2, Fr., F; Robert Montgomery, 5-6, Soph., G; William Jones, 6-5, Sr., F

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