Dunbar adds overseas voice to its chorus

Senior forward Frederick gives Poets British accent

Mayor's Basketball Academy Tournament

High Schools

January 17, 2002|By Lem Satterfield and Katherine Dunn | Lem Satterfield and Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Just like any other player on the Dunbar basketball team, forward Christopher Frederick exudes something called "Poets pride."

"You realize how great it is when you step on the court and you see the national-championship banners and all the other banners hanging up there," said Frederick, a 6-foot-7 senior averaging 10 points and five rebounds. "The guys that came before, they understand it. And the guys that come after, they do, too."

Frederick is like any other player on the No. 2 Poets' squad until he speaks, revealing a velvety British accent. Frederick, 18, arrived in America from North London three years ago.

"My mother, Suzan, moved here for a job, " said Frederick, whose second-ranked Poets will play Fairmont Heights of Prince George's County tomorrow night in the sixth annual Mayor's Basketball Academy Tournament at Coppin State.

"We moved to Kensington, Md., where she's a teacher working with handicapped students with learning disabilities."

Frederick transferred to Dunbar over the summer from the now-defunct Newport School in Kensington.

"They had good academics there, but I knew nothing about their basketball team. It was just the closest school," said Frederick, whose now lives with his brother, Thomas, 22, a managerial consultant in Baltimore. "I played AAU basketball in England, but I had never played high school basketball until I came here."

Frederick had to adjust to the move from what he said was his natural position of guard and to the faster pace of the game.

"It's a lot quicker and the players take it a lot more seriously," said Frederick, who is back playing after arthroscopic surgery last month to repair cartilage damage to his right knee.

Winning combination

The Mayor's Academy's motto is "Athletics plus academics equals a win/win combination," so the players coming to Coppin for the tourney today through Saturday will get more than just a dose of top-notch basketball.

The tournament, which began in 1997, blends SAT and college preparatory classes with cultural and community experiences. Between games and classes, student athletes visit nursing homes and museums.

Dunbar girls coach Wardell Selby said his players have gotten a lot out of the experience over the past few years.

Return engagement

Dunbar is the lone returning team in the girls field that includes Woodlawn, Milford Mill and first-year program Southside.

The No. 11 Poets (10-1) will face tough opponents in No. 19 Woodlawn and unranked Milford Mill, which had been as high as No. 14.

In what looks to be the marquee game of the girls competition, the two-time state Class 2A champs will face Woodlawn (9-1) at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Dunbar coach Wardell Selby figures the keys to his team's success against Woodlawn will be speed and the inside game.

"They don't have as much height as we do," said Selby, whose key post players are 6-foot Ciarra Jones and 5-10 Jolunda Leake. "If we get a chance to, we're going to pound it inside. And I know they press a lot, so we're pressing right back."

That's excatly what Woodlawn coach DeWayne Burroughs expects, saying his team will have to be patient and play good defense.

"We have to take care of the basketball and we have to convert on their mistakes," said Burroughs.

The visitors

Martin Luther King High and Overbrook High, both of Philadelphia, and Fairmont Heights of Prince George's all bring significant talent to the boys side of the tournament.

Maryland-bound Chris McCray will leads Fairmont Heights (6-5) against No. 2 Dunbar (11-2) tomorrow at 9 p.m. The 6-4 senior guard is averaging 27.3 points per game.

Martin Luther King (9-0), which opens against No. 5 Walbrook (10-2) tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., boasts 6-6 forward, Darron Bradley, an All-Area player who is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds.

Overbrook (7-4), the alma mater of Wilt Chamberlain, will open with No. 1 Douglass (11-0) at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Overbrook also features a corps of solid players in 6-4 forwards Angelo Hernandez (19-point average) and Shawn Ikokwu (10 points, eight rebounds), and point guard Murvin English (17 points, five assists).

Science project

Milford Mill girls coach Pam Wright has experimented with a new lineup in the past few games and it seems to have helped the Millers' chemistry.

"We have the talent," said Wright, "but it just wasn't flowing. The energy wasn't there and that came from lack of leadership. We didn't have somebody to bring it every night, but I think we're starting to get that now."

With only one senior on the team and the loss of their point guard, who did not return, the Millers have struggled at times, but are still in position for a shot at the Baltimore County title.

Candyce Jeter and freshman point guard Tammy Rogers lead the way with about 12 points each. Qiana Cheatum and Tori Flenor also have made key contributions.

Wade on bench

When the whistle blows signaling the start of today's tournament, city athletic director Bob Wade, who worked so feverishly with others to put together the strongest boys field ever, will be at home recovering from back surgery.

Wade is wearing a brace that extends from his shoulder blades down to his waist after a four-hour operation a week ago at Johns Hopkins Hospital to repair damage to three disks in his lower back, an injury that occurred while doing yardwork in August.

Assistants Jessica Ivy, Donnae Bushrod and Ruth Jackson will be sharing Wade's duties in the athletic office.

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