Fans will be seeing stars

Led by five All-Metro first-team selections, there is an abundance of returning talent in the area.

Boys Basketball

November 30, 2005|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,SUN REPORTER

After surveying the amount of returning high school boys basketball talent in the Baltimore metro area, Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey had a message for fans.

"Clean your slate, because you are going to really enjoy the next couple of years around here," said Clatchey, whose Gaels begin the season ranked No. 1. "It's a hot time for basketball in the Baltimore area, with a lot of guys who are going to play at the next level. It's going to be strong, with anybody capable of beating anybody else on a given night."

Five first-team All-Metro players from the 2004-05 season, including McDonogh's 6-foot-9, 225-pound DaJuan Summers, last season's Player of the Year, and five second-team All-Metro players are back.

And the list of talented players doesn't end there.

Two lesser-known juniors - Calvert Hall's 6-7, 245-pound Braxton Dupree and Mount St. Joseph's 6-8, 225-pound Dino Gregory - appear ready to have breakout seasons. Dupree announced a couple weeks ago that he was committing to Maryland, and Clatchey said Gregory also is headed to College Park and will make the oral commitment official tomorrow with an announcement at Mount St. Joseph.

Mount St. Joseph also has 6-9 sophomore Henry Sims coming on.

Dupree and Gregory both raised their stock over the summer at national showcases, vaulting into the nation's top 100 players.

"Dino has improved more than anybody I have ever seen," said Clatchey, whose Gaels have dominated the Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference over the past three seasons. "Dino can get his entire hand above the box and can hit 15-foot jump shots."

Four of the five returning All-Metro first-team players have signed with Division I schools, while the fifth is St. Frances sophomore standout Sean Mosley.

A 6-4 swing guard, Mosley became the first freshman to be named Most Valuable Player of the Baltimore Catholic League tournament after leading the fifth-seeded Panthers (19-15) to the title.

Summers has signed with Georgetown, while his rival in the paint, 6-6, 230-pound Louis Birdsong of Mount St. Joseph, is headed to George Mason.

"With Joe [Yermal] and Brandon [Herbert] a year older around DaJuan, we can be as successful as last year," said McDonogh coach Donta Evans, who took over as head coach after serving as an assistant to Matt MacMullan. "Da- Juan will make everybody around him better."

Jamal Barney, Southwestern's 6-2 flashy guard, and 6-4 swing guard Rodney Spruill of Class 4A state champion Walbrook, are the other returning first-team All-Metro players. Barney has signed with Providence, while the bulky but athletic Spruill is headed to Towson University.

"We lost Velmar [Coleman, a first-team All-Metro selection] and Ed Tyson [second-team All-Metro], but everybody else is back," Spruill said. "We know everybody will be after us because we won it all last year, but we're looking forward to it."

The five second-team All-Metro returnees could have earned first-team honors in other years. Among them are Towson Catholic's 6-9 junior Donte' Greene, who committed early to Syracuse, and Anne Arundel County Player of the Year Kevin Coates, 6-5, of Annapolis.

"I didn't realize how good of a player [Greene] is until the end of the week at the Nike camp," said first-year Towson Catholic coach Josh Pratt, who observed Greene while he was an assistant coach at Archbishop Spalding. "I thought then he could be a tremendous player."

Greene, who is also an outstanding volleyball player, is extremely athletic and is reminding Owls fans of Carmelo Anthony, who starred at Towson Catholic.

In addition, second-team All-Metro guards Johnny Higgins, who led Randallstown to the Class 3A state championship, and Malcolm Delaney of Towson Catholic are back, along with Southwestern forward Juawan Rheubottom. Each played a key role in placing his team in the top 10.

patomalleysports@aol.com

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