Potomac (Md.) Coach Renard Johnson heard after last season that Randall Broddie planned to transfer to the Oxon Hill public school from St. John’s, so last July, the coach headed down to an AAU tournament in Hampton, Va., to find out what he should expect from the heralded 6-foot-2 point guard.
“I thought he was even better than advertised,” Johnson said. “I went in thinking, ‘He can’t be as good as everybody says he is.’ But I watched him play for a little bit, and I was like, ‘Oops, he’s better.’ ”
Broddie showcased those skills for a state-wide audience in Thursday’s 64-57 win over Reservoir at Comcast Center as the Wolverines advanced to the Maryland 3A state final for the first time since 2005.
Despite early foul trouble that sent him to the bench for the last four minutes of the opening quarter, Broddie finished with 22 points and five rebounds. He repeatedly slashed to the basket, tag-teaming with even-more-heralded swingman Dion Wiley (25 points) to take down the Gators.
“I kind of freaked out in the beginning,” said Broddie, who plays with Maryland’s Finest on the AAU circuit. “Then Coach Johnson said, ‘Stay poised.’ I’m not used to catching two fouls in the first half, so I had to play through it.”
Johnson said Broddie, 15, is classified by Prince George’s County Schools as a freshman, but he will have only two years of eligibility to play at Potomac after this season.
The curricula at St. John’s and Potomac did not match up well, so Broddie began taking mostly first-year courses in the fall after his transfer. All materials distributed at the state tournament on Thursday listed Broddie as a freshman.
Johnson called Broddie “a solid student” and said he will have a chance to qualify for the class of 2015 in the classroom with the right planning. He added he will encourage the youngster to go to summer school this year to boost his core credits.
The second-year coach said he has been telling the college coaches who have flocked to the school to look at Wiley to consider Broddie in the Class of 2015.
“We’ve had college coaches come to our practices and visit our school, and it’s like they’re shopping at Wal-Mart,” Coach Renard Johnson said. “They come to buy a grill and say, ‘Well, maybe I need a refrigerator, as well. [Broddie is] an attention getter.”
At St. John’s, Broddie played mostly on the junior varsity last winter, seeing action in five varsity games. This year, the guard has run the offense for the Wolverines, averaging 17.1 points per game.
Broddie can hit from outside, as he delivered two three-pointers against Reservoir, but he’s made his mark driving to the hoop, showcasing physical strength around the rim beyond his years despite a slender build. He’ll play for a state title on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Milford Mill of Baltimore with at least two years of high school competition coming after that.
“I don’t think it would stunt his growth to go to a prep school or anything like that,” Johnson said of Broddie’s options if he ends up in the Class of 2016. “But I think he could go major D-I in 2015 and not miss a beat. Truthfully, I think he could go major D-I next year. I ‘m just glad that he’s not.”
Johnson also said Potomac is likely to be without senior Romone Saunders, its third-leading scorer, in Saturday’s final. The 6-foot-3 swingman sprained his ankle early in the fourth quarter against Reservoir. He played sparingly down the stretch, finishing with five points and seven rebounds. Johnson said Saunders was outfitted with an air cast after the game and called his chances to play against Milford Mill “very slim.”