BayRunners' solution: search for right pieces

Greer gets timing down with starters Dabbs, Wilson

Pro Basketball

January 05, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Change, according to BayRunners coach Herb Brown's roster, is good.

It doesn't faze him one bit that half his roster has turned over since the beginning of training camp, and may not have finished changing yet.

Brown said he is going to keep on tweaking the BayRunners' roster until he gets in a position where he feels the team can challenge for an International Basketball League title. He will get a good chance to see if these players can play with the best when the BayRunners (4-11) take on Cincinnati (11-1) at 7 tonight at Baltimore Arena.

Right now, he is pleased with the team even though he did not like having to cut Darnell Sneed yesterday to make room for former Florida State star LaMarr Greer.

"It doesn't bother me that we get new players," Brown said, "because we are getting players. We are getting guys who can play."

Greer practiced with the team for the first time yesterday, working with two of the other newer members in Brent Dabbs and Monty Wilson, who have already vaulted themselves into the starting lineup in three games. Greer, 23, should see heavy minutes tonight after coming in a trade with Trenton for forward Lloyd Daniels. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Greer should help ease the loss of guard LaBradford Smith, who is out tonight with a calf injury.

"I'm going to do anything we need to do to win," Greer said. "If they need me to shoot, I'll shoot; stop somebody, I will; control the ball, I will."

Greer, Wilson and Dabbs join Lonnie Harrell, Mitch Foster and Charles Thomas in a group that includes no players who have been with the team more than a month.

Wilson is the best scorer of the half dozen, tying for the team high with 23 points the last game against Las Vegas. Wilson, 26, scored 18 points in the game against St. Louis before that and said he always has been a scorer wherever he has been.

Before coming to Baltimore, the wherever was the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Wilson, who is from Springfield, Ill., and followed cousin and current Charlotte Hornets forward Anthony Mason to Tennessee State, met Brown at an all-star game two years ago.

"He is a tough guy," Brown said. "We needed some toughness. We drafted Kris Clack, thought he was going to be a tough guy and he wasn't. Monty fills that role."

Wilson is a big guy with range who said he has learned how to play without the ball now under the brief tutelage of Brown.

"I've learned a lot of little things like that, and those things make you better," Wilson said.

"I'm sacrificing a lot of money to learn this year. Most coaches I've had before just relied on getting me the ball and let my talent do the work. But now that I'm on a professional level, he [Brown] is teaching me what I need to know."

Wilson is the scorer, and fellow starter Dabbs is the banger. Brown said Dabbs, at 6-9 and 245 pounds, has the prototypical NBA power forward build, even though Brown is playing him a lot at center.

Brown felt so comfortable with Dabbs that he started him in his first game after only four practices. Dabbs responded with 11 points and eight rebounds against St. Louis on Dec. 30.

Dabbs, who played at Rutgers, brings eight years of professional experience in Europe with his game, the primary reason why Brown felt comfortable enough to start him.

Dabbs, 32, played in France earlier this season before getting the call from the BayRunners. He replaced center Mark Blount in the lineup.

"He is a veteran player," Brown said. "He accepts his role and doesn't try to do what he can't do. And we weren't getting it done with Mark. Mark played very well the first game he played for Rodney [Elliott]. The next three or four games he was playing well. But then teams starting to key on him. He didn't respond the way we wanted him to respond. He needed a wake-up call, and Brent is his wake-up call."

BayRunners tonight

Opponent: Cincinnati Stuff

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7

Outlook: A win tonight over first-place Cincinnati would boost the BayRunners' confidence. BayRunners forward Rodney Elliott, who scored 23 points the last game, is playing in his second game since sustaining an ankle injury on Dec. 12. Forward LaMarr Greer makes his debut for the BayRunners in place of Lloyd Daniels, who was traded to Trenton. Stuff forward Tremaine Fowlkes is averaging a double double in points and rebounds for the season.

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