Spalding aims for stars asketball: Severna Park school moves into MIAA's top conference, plus the Catholic League, with three national trips added into the mix.

December 05, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The message is clear.

Tony Martin wants to make Archbishop Spalding the boys basketball program in Anne Arundel County and maybe the entire metro area.

"The Cavaliers have taken many positive steps toward establishing themselves as the premier program in Anne Arundel County," are the words written in the Cavaliers' pre-season handout.

A go-getter and basketball junkie, Martin, who learned the ropes as an eight-year assistant at two of the area's Cadillac programs, Cardinal Gibbons and Mount St. Joseph, wasted little time in building a potential powerhouse.

"We're trying do things the right way by emphasizing the importance of being good student-athletes," said Martin. "Our team GPA is 3.0, and we have two kids with 1,200 on their college boards and two more with 1,100. We want our players to go to college."

Martin first brought in a top-flight group of underclassmen as a foundation, added a couple key players via transfers and set up an imposing schedule.

Spalding will play in the Reebok Holiday Prep Classic in Las Vegas Dec. 19-23, the Stop-DWI Holiday Classic in New York Dec. 27-29 and the Capital City (Washington, D.C.) Challenge Jan. 10-11 and several nationally ranked teams on its 32- to 35-game schedule.

Michael and Steven Peroutka, brothers who are local attorneys, donated $6,000 raised in a summer golf tournament to the Spalding basketball program to help cover travel expenses.

After setting a school record for wins (21-8) and taking the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference last season with a team dominated by freshmen and sophomores, the Cavaliers have taken a huge step.

Spalding is now a member of the powerful Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A Conferences, and if Martin has his way, the Cavs will be more than just another team.

"I'm pumped up about playing in the Catholic League, and think we can be a factor," said Martin.

Martin, a business grad from the University of Maryland, College Park, spent four years each at Gibbons and St. Joe, coaching frosh-soph and JV teams. Compiling a 151-46 (.766) record in those eight seasons, Martin led his teams to seven league and six tournament championships, including a 26-0 St. Joe JV the year before he came to Spalding.

He also coached high-profile summer league teams and worked at several camps, including the prestigious Five Star.

When Spalding hired Martin last year, the school got a coach who has championships as his priority.

Martin has proven already that he is going to do whatever takes to build a power somewhere between nationally top-ranked Prospect Hall at St. John's, the Frederick power the Cavaliers visit tonight and the Baltimore elite.

You have to have the horses to do it and Martin has corralled a lot of talent. More than one Catholic League coach has said, "You're not supposed to recruit, but everyone does it," Martin included.

Three veteran summer league coaches -- Rick Landers, Ralph Burley and Maurice Bowie Sr. -- are Martin's assistants. They know who the players are.

The four sophomores Martin brought to Spalding are likely college prospects Tremaine Robinson, Derrick Snowden, Darren Johnson and Isaac Brooks. As 14-year-olds, they held their own against 18-year-olds and turned the 3-17 team that Martin inherited into a winner.

Martin also has four quality juniors, two by way of transfers in 7-footer Derrick Goode and 6-2 guard Chris Masters. Goode, who is from Reisterstown and attended Episcopal in Alexandria, Va., his freshman year, led City College of Baltimore to the Class 2A state final-four last season.

His intentions of transferring to Spalding caused quite a stir in the spring.

Goode played at well over 300 pounds last season, but Martin put him on a conditioning program that has him down to 295

pounds. As a result, Goode, who had 25 points, 15 boards and five blocked shots in a 61-53 region semifinal victory at Southern-Harwood last March, should be more mobile and a force in the paint.

Masters, who lives in Severna Park, played on Martin's undefeated JV team in 1995-96 and decided to rejoin his old coach at Spalding this year, leaving Mount St. Joseph.

Max Yokono, a 6-8, 240-pound forward, one of five seniors, is a transfer from Cameroon via House Africa, a network that places African basketball players in the United States.

Yokono came to Spalding last year but has yet to play because of a right-knee injury. He had his second surgery in less than a year in October and is hoping to play by February.

"Without Max, we don't have a true power forward, and that could be our only weakness," said Martin.

Pub Date: 12/05/97

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