Spartans turning to Gross for spark



January 14, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Josh Gross is known around North Carolina-Greensboro as an electrifying basketball player.

The 6-foot-5 junior forward from Long Reach High can be counted on to give Spartans fans at least one spectacular dunk every game, and he's considered one of the most athletic players in the Southern Conference.

The 2001 Howard County Player of the Year may be just what UNC-Greensboro needs, as the team went into a seven-game tailspin after starting the season 4-2.

One of those seven losses came Dec. 23 at Comcast Center, where Maryland waltzed to an 85-58 victory.

Gross had big plans for that game, getting one of his six starts of the season right in the backyard of his Columbia home.

Gross never really got into that game offensively, shooting 0-for-4 from the field, but he did block two shots and gather four rebounds.

Gross is averaging 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 16.9 minutes a game, and is shooting 14-for-16 from the free-throw line.

Campbell a hit

Junior-college transfer Brooke Campbell (St. Frances) has been one of the few bright spots for a struggling Massachusetts women's basketball team this season.

Campbell, a 6-foot guard/forward, is third on the team (5-10, 1-3 Atlantic 10) in scoring with a 9.9-point average, and her 7.6 rebounds a game lead the squad.

The junior has started 14 of 15 games, averages 34.1 minutes a game, and is shooting 40.6 percent from the field.

Campbell came to UMass after averaging 7.9 points in two seasons at Midland (Texas) College.

Nelson run ends

One of the primary reasons for Massachusetts' slide this season has been the absence of junior point guard Katie Nelson (McDonogh), who is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The 5-7 Nelson, daughter of Johns Hopkins men's basketball coach Bill Nelson, suffered the injury last Jan. 26. She tried to come back Feb. 13 against George Washington but fell three times in three minutes of action. She later underwent surgery.

Nelson had started 48 straight games as a freshman and sophomore, averaging 8.4 points last season.

UMass coach Marnie Dacko said of Nelson before this season, "She has the potential to leave her name in the UMass record books as one of the best guards in school history. She loves the game and doesn't turn the ball over. She makes our offense ... go."

Clark hype high

Delaware State junior guard Mandy Clark (Milford Mill) has high expectations to live up to this season, being selected the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason Player of the Year.

The 5-7 Clark is averaging 13.9 points and a team-leading 3.5 steals, and she's hit a team-high 25 three-pointers on 74 attempts.

She is also averaging 3.2 rebounds for the Hornets (8-3 overall, 3-0 MEAC) who defeated Morgan State, 64-33, Monday night behind 14 points from Clark.

Clark was a first-team All-MEAC selection last season, averaging a team-best 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.6 steals.

Two other Baltimore-area standouts, 5-10 junior forward Lauryn Smith (Liberty) and 6-1 sophomore forward Najmah Fauntleroy (Arundel) have been impact players this season for Delaware State.

Weber, Bohlman star

Sophomore Michael Weber (Sparrows Point) and freshman Tim Bohlman (Mount St. Joseph) have both compiled 6-3 records in the 133-pound weight class for the York (Pa.) College wresting team.

Freshman Grant Gormley (Mt. Hebron) is 4-2 at 141, and Brian Propst (Mount St. Joseph) is 2-1 at 157.

York (9-2) is ranked No. 20 in the latest Division III coaches poll.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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