1997-98 All-Metro boys basketball teams

March 21, 1998|By Derek Toney

Player of the Year

Jamal Brown, Dunbar, senior, center: After four seasons without being ranked No. 1 in the area, uncharacteristic for Dunbar, the longtime East Baltimore basketball power, Brown help carry it to a wire-to-wire at the top spot this season. The 6-foot-6 junior center averaged 20.1 points, 14.0 rebounds and 5.3 blocks for the Poets, who won their fifth state title in six seasons last weekend at College Park, defeating Central of Prince George's County for the Class 2A championship. Quick and athletic, Brown dominated in the post with tenacity and his powerful dunks. Against three of the nation's top teams -- St. Edward's (Ohio), Dominguez (Calif.) and St. Patrick's (N.J.) -- at the Slam Dunk to the Beach National Tournament in Delaware, Brown totaled 56 points as the Poets finished second. After point guard Tim Lyles' season-ending suspension, Brown faced a lot of double-team defense but still scored in double-figures in all 28 Dunbar games, including a season-high 34 against Walbrook. "He has a burning desire to win," said Dunbar coach Lynn Badham. "He was our horse all season, and he's only going to get better." Though a junior, Brown, who will turn 19 before the next school year, will be ineligible to play for Dunbar. He will transfer to Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C.

Coach of the Year

Mike Daniel, Towson Catholic: On the cover of the Catholic League Tournament program was a drawing of the league coaches climbing a mountain with the championship trophy at the top. Dropping five of their last six regular-season games, the Owls were slipping fast, but Daniel and his team turned it around to win its first tournament title since 1993. They followed that with a defeat of St. Frances, a team it lost to twice during the regular-season, in a playoff game at the Towson Center to become Catholic League champions, ending St. Frances' three-year reign. The Owls made it to Cumberland for Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament. Depending on a three- guard set, Daniel patiently incorporated a variety of half-court sets that permitted outside shooting opportunities and or quick feeds in the paint. Towson Catholic won the Northwest bracket championship at the First National Bank Charm City Classic in January, overcoming an 18-point deficit against St. Raymond's (N.Y.). In his 12 seasons at Towson Catholic, Daniel's teams are 202-191 record and won four Catholic League Tournament championships.

The first team

Emil Curry, Southern-Balto., Sr., F: Play of the Bulldogs' senior leader was a big reason Southern was among the top five in the area this season. Curry, 6-foot-2 forward, averaged 18.4 points, 15.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the Bulldogs, who lost to Mervo in the Class 4A North regional semifinals. He has a knack of being around the ball and is a tough scorer despite his size. "He was a tremendous rebounder on both ends," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "He played solid defense and gave us leadership." Curry scored in double figures in 20 of Southern's 23 games, including a season-high 28 against Carver. He most likely will attend junior college in the fall.

Mike Griffin, Edgewood, Sr., G: Igniter of the area's most potent offense, Griffin helped the Rams to the Class 2A state semifinals. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 21.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists, combining with teammate Keith Winder to form one of the area's best backcourts. A quick left-handed shooting guard, Griffin scored a game-high 27 points and buried five three-pointers against Central, of Prince George's County, in a 72-65 loss in a Class 2A semifinal last weekend at College Park. Known for his long shooting, Griffin, who set the school-record for points in a season (594), has improved gradually defensively. "In three years, he never missed one practice and is a hard worker," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle. "He's more than a scorer; he has a great sense for the game." Towson, Coastal Carolina, George Mason and the University of the District of Columbia are interested in Griffin.

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