Hammond's Brown aims for more acceleration 69-goal scorer wants to shake label that he's slow

March 22, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Hammond's Tom Brown scored 69 goals last season and didn't get a lot of recognition for it.

He was first-team All-County. That's it. Mount Hebron's Kyle Campbell, who scored 74 goals and led his team to the state finals, overshadowed Brown.

Brown's Bears lost to Glenelg in the regional semifinals. Campbell is touted as a certain Division I player. Brown, who is 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, is pointed toward Division III Western Maryland, Salisbury State or Lynchburg (Va.).

The difference? Speed. Brown is said to be a step too slow for Division I.

"That's just a bad label I got stuck with," Brown said. "I don't think I'm that slow. I used to run more flat-footed, but I've worked at running on my toes and jumping rope. I'd like to get faster."

The senior said he was clocked at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash before lacrosse season.

Brown, a natural left-hander who said he's still growing, already has the size and aggressiveness to play Division I. He scores mainly on one-on-one moves, and uses his body to back into the crease where he fires home goals from 5-foot range.

"He has very good stick skills, right-handed or left-handed," Hammond coach Larry Luthe said. "He has good vision and throws hard. He can back in and take anyone one-on-one. He's young. He just turned 17 in November. And as he matures he'll get quicker. A step quicker, and he'd be recruited by every Division I school."

Brown's 69 goals was a school record, and only eight away from the county record. He also made 22 assists. Being only the No. 2 scorer in the county despite scoring a prodigious 69 goals didn't faze him much. "I'll work the same as always. Being No. 2 is just a title. It doesn't matter. At the beginning of last season, my goal was to score 40 goals. At the end, it shocked me to have scored 69."

Although it would be nice to duplicate last season's scoring numbers, what he'd really like is a county title for Hammond, a school that's never won one.

"It would shock other people if we won," Brown said. "For me, I'd just be happy. It's time to win one. We've waited patiently."

Hammond came close in 1989, but missed out by a game.

Luthe believes Hammond will be a contender this season. "And Tom is one of the main reasons we can contend. If teams don't double him he'll hurt everyone."

Brown scored nine goals apiece against Wilde Lake and Howard, five apiece against Centennial and River Hill and six in the regular-season Oakland Mills game.

State finalist Mount Hebron held him to one goal, and Glenelg, also a state finalist, to two goals during regular-season games. But he scored four goals against Glenelg in the playoffs.

"We had a problem clearing, so Mount Hebron kept the ball at its end of the field and I didn't get much chance to score," Brown said. "The one goal I got against them was on an unsettled situation."

He figures the Bears will get a lot more goals from their midfield this season, and that should help them win more than the 10 games they won last season.

"Our midfield has really good speed and that should help a lot. We have better stick skills and sense of the game. Better recognition. We're a much better team -- absolutely," he said.

Brown also believes that attack teammates Dave Acott and Craig Feinberg are going to score a lot.

"Dave plays crease attack and is a workhorse who will put in a lot of goals, and Craig plays behind the goal and is a good finisher," Brown said.

For his three-year varsity career, Brown has scored 113 goals and has 49 assists.

He was a second-team All-County linebacker in football.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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