Basketball

Players To Watch

December 03, 2004

BOYS

Rashawn Alexander

St. Frances, forward

A determined rebounder with long arms and a strong outlet pass, this 6-foot-6 junior is one of the key returnees on a Panthers team expected to contend for the BCL and MIAA A Conference championships. Alexander will likely take on more offensive responsibility inside with the graduation losses of Gus Chase and Gordon Brown and All-Metro guard Darnell Harris.

Velmar Coleman

Walbrook, swing guard

Quick and skilled, the 6-4 Coleman is the catalyst of the Warriors, who hope to contend for the Baltimore City and Class 4A North region titles. Coleman averaged 15.0 points for the region semifinalists as a junior. Towson, Central Connecticut and La Salle have made offers.

Corey Henderson

Arundel, swing guard

Smooth, strong and smart with exceptional athletic ability, Henderson is Anne Arundel's only returning All-County player. The 6-3 Henderson averaged 19 points and 9.0 rebounds as a junior for the Wildcats. His soft touch from the perimeter and knack for driving the lane enabled him to post 14 double doubles.

Nathan Irby

Dunbar, guard

A tremendous athlete who was All-Metro in football and basketball last year as a junior, the 6-foot Irby led the Poets to Baltimore City and Class 1A state titles in basketball. Irby, the only underclassman on last season's All-Metro team, averaged 11.6 points and led the Poets in assists (4.8) and steals (5.8).

Robbie Jackson

Aberdeen, center

The area's tallest big man at 7 feet, Jackson averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots as an All-Harford County junior. This should be his breakout season in the post as the Eagles defend their Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championship with their sights on the Class 2A state title.

Brian Johnson

Mt. St. Joseph, PG

Perhaps the best point guard in the area, the 5-10 Johnson was All-City/County and second team All-Metro as a junior last season after leading the Gaels to their first BCL title. Johnson sparkled this summer at the Nike All-American Camp, drawing eight Division I offers. He averaged 11.2 points, 5.8 assists and 2.4 steals last year.

Lawrence Nwevo

Tow. Catholic, C/F

This Nigerian could be intimidating on the boards for the Owls. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound senior averaged 15 rebounds and 10 points for his country's team that won the African 20-and-under championship. In five playoff games, Nwevo averaged 12 rebounds per game. He is already being recruited by Kansas State, Iowa State and Fresno State.

Troy Smith

Douglass, forward

Just as his older brother Tyler did in 2002 at Cole Field House, Smith led the Ducks to the Class 3A state championship at Maryland's Comcast Center last season. The 6-2 junior pumped in a game-high 30 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 3.8 seconds left and pulled down 10 rebounds in a 66-65 double-overtime victory over Gwynn Park for the state crown.

Courtney Thomas

Mt. St. Joseph, F

A tenacious rebounder with long arms and exceptional leaping ability, the 6-4 Thomas can also score under- neath or with short jumpers. Thomas, who plays hard all the time and does things that don't show up in the scorebook, may be called on to score more this season. Thomas has committed to Loyola College.

Phil Vornadore

Fallston, center

The 6-5 Vornadore rampaged through Harford County as a junior, leading the metro area in both scoring (22.7) and rebounding (13.9) to earn county Player of the Year and second-team All-Metro honors. His variety of low-post moves enabled him to sink 65 percent of his shots and produce 22 consecutive games in double digits.

GIRLS

Amanda Andrews

Fallston, guard

Already the Cougars' leading scorer for the past two years, the senior is a pure shooter. Averaging 16.2 points, she hit for 24 - 20 in the first half - of a regional semifinal vs. Milford Mill.

Zhondria Benn

Western, forward

If the ball is anywhere near the hoop, the 6-1 junior can make something happen. Benn averaged a double double last season - 16 points and 17 rebounds. She also shot 60 percent from the field.

LaKeisha Eaddy

River Hill, guard

The 5-4 junior thrived on using her defensive skills to create her offense. She averaged 4.8 steals per game and turned many of them into a 14-point clip for the Howard County champs.

Bri Gauthier

St. Mary's, guard

Versatility made the second-team All-Metro player a factor in every aspect of the game. A point guard with strong defensive skills, the Mount St. Mary's-bound Gauthier averaged 13.6 points and six assists.

Patrice Griffin

Southside, guard

Griffin did a bit of everything for the Class 1A runner-up. Her 22-point average led a small but balanced team, and the 5-8 senior also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out 3.5 assists and had three steals.

Chandrea Jones

IND, guard

Need points? Jones is the go-to girl. A three-time All-Metro first-teamer, the 5-9 senior has already scored a school-record 1,625 points, averaging 24.6 last season. Quick off the dribble, she also nailed 70 three-pointers a year ago.

Brittany Mallory

McDonogh, guard

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