Former local stars shuffle at Maryland

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Kevin Broadus comes to the University of Maryland

For a long time, it seemed like local basketball fixture Kevin Broadus (Blair/Dunbar) might wind up working for every local college basketball program but Maryland.

 

Over the year, he embarked on a tour of the area’s colleges as an assistant coach, working at Bowie State, UDC, American University, George Washington and Georgetown (twice).

Broadus was finally able to complete the local circuit when Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon added him to the Terrapins’ coaching staff last week. There, Broadus’ numerous local connections are expected to come in handy on the recruiting trail.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to the Maryland basketball family,” Turgeon said in a statement released by the athletic department. “Kevin has a strong reputation as a tireless recruiter and is passionate about developing players on and off the court. He has extensive knowledge and experience as a coach and I am confident his ties to this region will be extremely valuable to our program.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to work with coach Turgeon,” Broadus said in the same news release. “I have watched him from afar and really admire him. He has been very successful everywhere he has been. I am excited to be a part of this program and continue to build on the success they have had.”

Broadus will replace Cliff Warren on the coaching staff. Warren, a star player at Paint Branch High School in nearby Burtonsville, had expressed a desire to come off the road and spend more time with his family. He assumes a new role as the Maryland basketball program’s director of player development.

“Cliff shared his desire of tending to family matters and this new position will allow him to do so,” Turgeon said. “He has been an outstanding mentor and role model to our team. Cliff will continue to play an integral role in supporting and guiding our student-athletes academically as well as helping them achieve success on and off the court.”

Broadus, 53, is probably most known for his work as an assistant at Georgetown. There, he coached and helped recruit future NBA players like Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and Otto Porter.

Broadus sandwiched two different stints at Georgetown totaling nine years around a successful but controversial two-year stint as the head coach at Binghamton. There, he led the team to the NCAA tournament in his second year. He was later forced to step down after admitting to improper contact with a recruit during a so-called “dead period.” Broadus later sued the university and the state higher education system in New York for discrimination, but agreed to resign after getting a $1.2 million settlement. An NCAA investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

TRIMBLE’S NUMBERS: Most every story about Melo Trimble’s decision to leave the University of Maryland for the NAB after three years mentioned that he was part of 79 Maryland victories.

That got me to thinking: Where does that total of 79 victories rank among other great players who have worn the Maryland red and white?

The answer is: pretty high.

In some sense, measuring the O’Connell grad against Maryland stars of the past is comparing apples and oranges because prior to the 1972-73 season, players had to sit out their freshman seasons. Then, too, college basketball teams typically play more games now than they did 45 years ago – back when Maryland’s basketball first gained national prominence.

In 1972-73 and 1974-75, for example, Maryland reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and still played just 30 and 29 games, respectively. This past season – Trimble’s last, as it turns out – Maryland played 33 games even with its disappointing first-round NCAA Tournament exit.

That said, Trimble’s number are impressive my almost any measure. He is one of just two players in school history (Terrence Morris is the other) to play for three consecutive teams that won at least 25 games. Even if great postseason success eluded Trimble and the Terps, that run of excellence has to count for something.

Trimble’s three-season victory total doesn’t quite match that of Lonny Baxter (Springbrook/Anacostia) and Juan Dixon, who accumulated 82 victories – including the national championship – in three varsity seasons from 2000-2002.

The pair of Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas played on teams that won 78 games in their last three varsity seasons (2001-2003). Morris’ last three Maryland teams managed 73 victories, as did the 1972-74 teams spearheaded by Tom McMillen and Len Elmore. The John Lucas-Maurice Howard Terrapin squads of 1973 to 1975 accumulated 70 victories. Adrian Branch (DeMatha) helped win 69 games for the Terps from 1983 to 1985. Local legend Len Bias (Northwestern), meanwhile, won 68 games in his last three seasons in a Maryland uniform.

Make 2017 a Banner Year for Adrian Branch

The University of Maryland athletic department announced this week that it will unveil a banner honoring former basketball coach Lefty Driesell before the Feb. 11 home game against Ohio State.

The move is long overdue. Driesell put Maryland on the college basketball map in the 1970s, raising the program to the point where it could compete against the best.

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Adrian Branch

Now that the athletic department has addressed this oversight, I’ve got another suggestion. How about school officials also raise a banner for ex-player Adrian Branch?

In the early 1980s, Branch helped Driesell accumulate 82 victories from 1981-85, a healthy chunk of the 348 wins Driesell amassed during his 17 years in College Park.

It’s not like Branch isn’t deserving. He’s the only 2,000-point scorer in school history whose jersey number doesn’t hang from the ceiling.

Continue reading Make 2017 a Banner Year for Adrian Branch

DeMatha’s Fultz a fabulous freshman

marquelle-fultzThe new college basketball season is still taking shape. As a result, it’s difficult to draw many definitive conclusions based on what’s happened so far. After all, preseason No.1 Duke has already lost once; perennial power Michigan State has lost three times.

One of the few certainties in this still-young season is this: Upper Marlboro native and DeMatha grad Markelle Fultz is playing as well as any freshman in the country. Through the first five games of his college career at the University of Washington, Fultz is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

Continue reading DeMatha’s Fultz a fabulous freshman

Gene Doan, a basketball architect

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When Gene Doane was a young man, he thought he might become an architect or an engineer.

“I always had an interest in designing things,” he once said.

Ultimately, he was diverted from such pursuits. Basketball was in his blood, so instead he became a coach – a builder of successful high school basketball programs, an architect of winning teams.

Doane, who passed away last month at the age of 82, was one of the most successful coaches in Montgomery County – back when Montgomery County basketball was at its peak. From 1971-79, county schools won a dozen state titles. It took them another 30 years to win their next 12.

Doane compiled a 441-113 record and won with three programs – Sherwood in the 1960s, Blair in the 1970s and Seneca Valley during a half-dozen years there in the 1980s.

He won a pair of state championships at Blair, in 1975 and 1977. His success there is what he was most famous for locally. The ’75 team, which finished 23-2, probably set the standard for excellence among Montgomery County basketball teams.

“They were unreal,” marveled Mel Laughner, who coached at Sherwood at the time and led that school to a state title in 1979.

Doane probably could have stayed at Blair forever and won a few more titles – that was home to him, after all – his alma mater. But he grew restless if he stayed anyplace too long. He was constantly looking for another project to work on. To him, the real satisfaction in coaching was building something.

“I liked to get to a high school, put it on top and stay there for a couple of years and go on to another one,” he said. “It’s fun to do that. I never stayed at a school more than nine years.

“I liked challenges. I loved going to a school, building from scratch and making a winner.”

That’s what he did. He guided Sherwood to the state semifinals in 1965 – that school’s first-ever appearance in the state tournament. Then came the two Class AA state titles at Blair. At Seneca Valley, he took over the program at a football-crazy school in 1978. By 1981-82, he had the Screaming Eagles 23-1 and was named “Coach of the Year” in the metropolitan area by The Washington Post.

He did this by being fiery, meticulous and leaving nothing to chance. No matter where he coached, he went the extra mile. At every stop, he watched junior high games, met with kids and adults in the community, tried to place his team in a strong summer league and started basketball camps.

He was just as detail-oriented when it came to practices and games. He constantly drilled his players – he always thought other coaches did too much scrimmaging – breaking the game down into its component parts so that players could understand and execute what he wanted.

One day, when legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith came by a Blair workout on a recruiting trip,he was heard to say as he was leaving the gym, “Now that’s how you run a practice.”

“He wasn’t a coach, he was a teacher,” said Cedric Boatman, one of the stars on that ’75 Blair team. “What made him so good was his preparation. The reason Coach Doane’s teams won so much was because we were so prepared in practice.”

Doane delighted in the intricacies of in-game strategy as well. Someone like Springbrook’s John Barrett would adjust to something Doane was doing, and Doane would have to counter it.

“I think the main joy he got out of coaching – aside from the relationships he had with us – was figuring out how to counteract things and figuring out how to make things work with the pieces he had,” said Brian Magid, the shooting star of the ’75 Blair team.

Doane found plenty of challenging opponents in the county coaching ranks back then. From 1977-79, for example, county teams won eight of the 12 state championships contested in four Maryland classes. At one point in the late 1970s, there were eight county coaches working the sidelines who had won at least one state championship.

There was Barrett at archrival Springbrook, Laughner at Sherwood, Jim Conner at Rockville, Dale Miller at B-CC and Wootton, Tom George at Woodward, Hank Galotta at Paint Branch and Les Lombardi at Churchill – all of whom won state titles for the county during the 1970s.

“The coaches they had then – they worked at the game,” Doane once said. “They knew the game, so you had to be good to beat them.”

His players and his colleagues could always appreciate the passion he brought to coaching. To the public at large, however, he could sometimes come off like a madman. No one was more animated on the sidelines and often the only thing louder than his sportcoat was his voice as he yelled at his players. Maryland’s Gary Williams wouldn’t be an inappropriate comparison in that respect.

But his players came to understand – although maybe not always in the moment – what Doane was trying to do.

“If I can say this in the most affectionate way, he was a taskmaster,” said Willis Wilson, who played on the ’77 Blair team and later became a college coach himself. “He was very driven and very detailed. He always used to say, ‘There’s a method to my madness.’ He was always going to keep the heat on his players and his teams to really reach down and find their best.”

Jo Jo and Hawkeye: a staged match up for the ages

You could argue forever about the Washington area’s all-time best high school team or player.

The best-ever head-to-head matchup? There shouldn’t be much debate about that.

I’ve researched decades and decades of local high school basketball history and for my money, the best individual matchup came in a game played 40 years ago this week.

On Feb. 1, 1976, DeMatha forward Charles “Hawkeye” Whitney and Mackin guard Anthony “Jo Jo” Hunter put on show that was both stunning and spectacular.

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Charles “Hawkeye” Whitney

Both were first-team All-Met selection during that season of ’76; both were the top players on outstanding teams as well. Whitney averged 23 points per game in leading DeMatha to a 24-3 record and a No. 3 ranking in the final area poll. Meanwhile, Hunter averaged an area-best 28 points per game as the Trojans finished 23-7 and No. 4 in the area.

 

And both were at their absolute best on that cold February night 40 years ago. A DeMatha-Mackin game was always a huge draw in those days. With that in mind, the game had been moved to the gymnasium at St. John’s to accommodate the big crowd.

That turned out to be a good decision. The St. John’s gym holds about 1,700 fans. Newspaper accounts of the game listed the crowd that night at 2,200. Where was the fire marhsall? He was probably at the game, like everybody else.

But the crowd figure wasn’t the story. The numbers that Whitney and Hunter put up that night was what everyone remembers.

Even though the two big stars didn’t guard each other – Whitney was a forward, Hunter a guard – they were clearly the focal point. For most of the night, the other eight players on the floor were rendered supefluous.

Whitney, who could and did score inside and out, pumped in a game-high 41 points, just managing to lead the Stags to an 84-82 overtime victory.

Hunter, equally brilliant in a losing cause, reponded with 38 points of his own on an assortment of long jumpers (this was a decade ahead of the 3-point line) and lightning-quick drives to the basket.

Clearly, the two of them were playing on a different level – and neither was unduly selfish or reckless during their 32-minute showcase. Whitney connected on 17 of 25 shots grabbed 14 rebounds and even found time to hand out four assists. Sort of makes you wonder what the rest of the Stags were doing that night.

Hunter countered with a 17-for-31 shooting performance. He also filled up the stat sheet, adding five rebounds and seven assists.

“There’s no question those two put on one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen,” DeMaha coaching legend Morgan Wootten said afterward.

The back-and-forth between the two decorated high school stars went on all night. Whitney scored nine points in the first quarter, after which the Stags held a 23-18 lead. Hunter responded with a dozen in the second as Mackin cut its deficit at halftime to 39-38.

Hunter stayed hot after the break, too, scoring 10 points during a frantic 90-second span to start the third period. After three quarters, the Trojans had taken the lead at 62-60.

Then it was Whitney’s turn to shine. He scored seven points in the first three minutes of the fourth to put DeMatha up by six. But Hunter came right back later in the quarter with a pair of baskets within 30 seconds to tie the game at 76 with 30 seconds left.

After DeMatha’s Tony Ellis missed a free throw with 22 seconds left, Mackin rebounded and had a chance to win at the end of regulation. But a turnover ended any chance to decide the game in just four quarters.

Whitney took over from there, scoring six points in the extra session to settle the epic contest.

Both he and Hunter had given their all. Whitney had been suffering from the flu and was so weak that he missed four practices leading up to the game and needed help to get to the bathroom while home sick.

Hunter, though healthy, was just as spent. He sat on a bench in the Mackin locker room, his head down, and couldn’t summon the energy to get dressed until his teammates had showered and left.

As soon as the game ended, Wootten rushed up to Hunter, hugged him and said, “Jo Jo, there’s nobody beter than you.”

Except, perhaps, Hawkeye Whitney.

Mixed bag for Maryland transfers

It’s hard to remember now, but the perception of the Maryland basketball program was very different 16 months ago.

As Coach Mark Turgeon began practice for the 2014-15 season, he’d lost a half-dozen players during the offseason – players who were expected to play significant roles for the Terrapins. Headlines and tweets wondered if Turgeon’s job might be in jeopardy. After all, his first three seasons in College Park hadn’t produced a single NCAA Tournament berth. With all the defections, it didn’t look like it would happen in 2014-15, either.

Except, of course, that it did. Freshman guard Melo Trimble was even better than advertised and became one of the most transformative players in Maryland basketball history. Largely because of his efforts, Maryland finished 28-7 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament that season.

As a sophomore, Trimble has been no less brilliant. He’s the leader of a Terrapins team that has won 13 of its first 14 games and sits at No. 4 in the latest Associated Press college basketball poll. Since Trimble’s arrival and Turgeon’s supposed career crossroads, Maryland is 41-8.

The Internet is now Tweeting a different tune about the Coach; but what about those players who left the program that summer and opted for the court not taken? Unable to find anything on-line or anywhere else on this, this is for Maryland fans who are interested to know whatever became of Charles Mitchell, Seth Allen, Nick Faust, Rody Peters, Shaquille Cleare and Trayvon Reed.

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Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare in Terrapin uniforms in 2013.

Here’s a brief rundown:

Continue reading Mixed bag for Maryland transfers

Everyone knows Markelle Fultz now

It’s fair to say that DeMatha basketball standout Markelle Fultz is on the fast track.

Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz

Fultz, a 6-foot-5 guard, was a virtual unknown at the beginning of last summer. He’d failed to make the DeMatha varsity as a sophomore and wound up playing for the Stags’ junior varsity squad in 2013-14.

With a breakout summer last year, he put himself on everyone’s list of topflight college basketball prospects. He did nothing to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm during this past regular season, leading another excellent DeMatha team in scoring with a 16.5-point average. Fulz also averaged more than seven rebounds and four assists per game. He was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year, a rare honor for a non-senior.

Continue reading Everyone knows Markelle Fultz now

Ex-Terp Vasquez is on the move again – to Milwaukee

In case you didn’t notice amid all the hubbub about wardrobe choices during the NBA Draft or all the free agent speculation following it, former Terrapin Greivis Vasquez (Montrose Christian) was on the move. Again.

Greivis Vasquez headshot
Greivis Vasquez

The much-improved Milwaukee Bucks (41 wins this past season after 15 the year before) sent a 2017 first-round pick (via the Los Angeles Clippers) and the 46th pick of the 2015 Draft (Norman Powell) to bring in Vasquez for the backcourt depth and extra floor leadership they’ve been seeking. I’m probably prejudiced when it comes to Vasquez, a 2,000-point scorer for the Terrapins and one of the most colorful and passionate players to wear a Maryland uniform in recent years. Continue reading Ex-Terp Vasquez is on the move again – to Milwaukee

Jerian Grant third Stag to reach NBA off 2009-10 DeMatha team

The further you get away from the 2009-10 DeMatha basketball team, the better it looks.

That year, the Stags were their typically excellent selves, going 32-4 en route to a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title and a victory over Ballou in the City Title Game at Verizon Center.

The Mike Jones-coached Stags lost only to national powers Mater Dei (California) and St. Anthony’s (New Jersey) and twice to league rival Gonzaga. The second loss to Gonzaga came in the finals of the season-ending Alhambra Catholic tournament at Frostburg State.

Through the years, DeMatha’s had a host of 30-win seasons and league championships under both head coach Morgan Wootten and Mike Jones, a former player at DeMatha.

The school’s basketball has been so consistently good, it’s difficult to make comparisons between one team or one era and another.

But as time goes on, the collection of talent Jones had at his disposal looks more and more impressive.

On Thursday, Jerian Grant, a member of the 2009-10 Stags, was selected 19th overall by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA Draft. He was almost immediately sent to the New York Knicks as part of a three-way trade that also involved the Atlanta Hawks. Grant was an All-American this past season at Notre Dame, averaging 16 points and six assists per game.

He becDM logoomes the third player off that particular DeMatha team to get drafted. Two years ago, Ex-Stag Victor Oladipo went second overall to the Orlando Magic. Last year, Grant’s brother Jerami, went in the second round to the Philadelphia 76ers. He, too, played at DeMatha in 2009-10.

Continue reading Jerian Grant third Stag to reach NBA off 2009-10 DeMatha team

Bench led Warriors to title 40 years ago against Bullets

So, the Golden State Warriors win an NBA title at last in part because they get a huge lift from someone who normally comes off the bench – namely Andre Iguodala.

That’s the same recipe the Warriors used to win their last NBA title, 40 seasons ago. Fans of professional basketball in Washington who were around back then need no reminders of that.

Four decades ago, the Warriors pulled one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NBA Finals, knocking off the heavily-favored Washington Bullets in four straight games.

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Bullets logo

Up to that point, it was just the third Finals sweep in league history. The series also marked another landmark – it was the first major sports championship contested by teams who were both coached by African-Americans – Golden State’s Al Attles and Washington’s K.C. Jones.

Continue reading Bench led Warriors to title 40 years ago against Bullets