Lake Clifton savors four on NCAA floor King, Rogers, Payne, Norris give school rooting interest

March 11, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Of the four Lake Clifton High graduates who will be playing in the NCAA tournament, Mike King is the one player whom students there now most identify with.

"With Mike King, some of the younger grades that were around King are still here, so, of course they're going to take notice of that," Lake Clifton basketball coach Herman Harried said, explaining why King was recognized more than the other former Lakers in an informal survey among students this week.

Jason Alexander, a 17-year-old student at the East Baltimore school, certainly remembers King, who graduated last year.

"Mike King, he's nice. He can play," Alexander said enthusiastically.

Indeed, King -- who will team with fellow ex-Laker Shawnta Rogers for George Washington in its game against Oklahoma State on Friday -- can play.

But so can Rogers, Terrance Payne of Xavier and Kevin Norris of Miami (Fla.), helping Lake Clifton become the first area school since Dunbar in the mid-1980s to place at least four of its graduates in the NCAA tournament.

This comes as positive news for a school that sees itself as having a bad image.

"We never had any trouble out of them," said athletic director Ruth Travis. "And no matter where they go in life, they will always represent this school well and I think they are such wonderful role models for our up-and-coming athletes."

Charlie Moore, who coached the players before retiring after the 1996-97 season, says he'll be watching the four play this week and -- he hopes -- beyond in the tournament.

"I'm overjoyed and happy for the kids and definitely their families," Moore said. "I'm elated to have had a little to do with their lives and to see them in the big dance."

Lake Clifton isn't the only East Baltimore institution beaming with pride over this year's NCAA field.

King, Rogers, Norris and Payne all played at the Cecil-Kirk Recreation Center, as did three other players in the tournament: Sam Anyan and Pat Ngongba of George Washington and Johnny Helmsley of Miami, Fla.

"It's not a selling point at all," said Anthony Lewis, head of the center. "You could perceive it as that, but for us, it's a matter of pride."

Dance party

Lake Clifton is not the first local high school to have four graduates playing in the NCAA tournament. In the mid-1980s, there were four consecutive years in which four or more former Dunbar players went to the tournament.

Player .. .. .. ..School(s) .. .. ..'84 .. .'85 ...'86 ...'87

Muggsy Bogues .. .Wake Forest .. ... .X

Mike Brown .. .. .Syracuse, Clemson .. .. .. .X .. .. .. ...X

Gary Graham .. ...UNLV .. .. .. .. .. . .. ...X .. ..X .. ..X

Herman Harried ...Syracuse .. .. .. .. .. .. .X .. .. .. ...X

Karl James .. .. .UNLV .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .... .. . .. .X

Keith James .. ...UNLV .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. ..X

Kurk Lee .. .. ...Western Kentucky .. . .. .. .. .. .X .. ..X

Derrick Lewis .. .Northeastern .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. ...X

Reggie Lewis .. ..Northeastern .. .. .X .. .. X .. ..X .. ..X

David Wingate .. .Georgetown .. .. ...X

Reggie Williams ..Georgetown .. .. ...X .. ...X .. ..X .. ..X

Totals .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. .. ...4 .. ...5 .. ..4 .. ..9

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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