Quickness, superb outside shooting and defense are the main attributes of The Washington Post 1978 All-Metropolitan basketball team. The 10 selections, as chosen by the vote of the area coaches and the newspaper's scholastic staff, is the smallest team chosen in the last decade.
"There are no big people anywhere," said North Carolina State coach Norm Sloan. "But the D.C. area has some fine players."
Class of the group, according to scouts, is Dunbar's Joe (Bo) Holston.
The left-handed 6-foot-3 senior guard, an excellent ball-hander and shooter from the 20-foot range, led the Crimson Tide to a 25-2 record and the Interhigh League championship and tournament.
Holston has been selected as the Washington Post player of the year.
Holston averaged 19 points on 60 percent field-goal shooting, nine assists, six rebounds and five steals. The soft-spoken Holston, who started at the point on the Crimson Tide's 1976 unbeaten city title team, rarely cracks under pressure and is extremely tough in clutch situations.
Bladensburg's shoot-and-chase offense depends on two things - Skips Speak's shooting and more shooting. The 6-4 swing man averages 23 points per game, most of his baskets coming before the defensive man even considers putting his hands up. With a 6-9 center and two forwards who would rather rebound, Speaks has a free hand to bomb away.
The senior also averaged 11 reabounds and four assists in leading the Mustangs to the Prince George's AA crown and a berth in the Maryland State playoffs. He had game highs of 41 points against Suitland and 18 offensive rebounds against High Point.
While the lithe Speaks was riddling Suitland, Ram 6-6 pivot man Vince Fenwick was producing 34 points.
A second-team All-Met last year, the jump-shooting Fenwick posted a 23-point average, collected 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. He could have been nicknamed The Prince of Dunk in tribute to some of the more vicious stuffs.
Fenwick already has visited Rutgers and would make a fine Knight in the Court of the nation's No. 1 dunker James (King) Bailey.
Churchill forward Eric Smith is the first athlete to be selected frist-team All-Met in basketball and football since Carroll's Arthur Daniels pulled the trick in the 1972-73 school year.
The top punter in the area for the Maryland State AA champions with a 40-yard plus average, the 6-5 Smith almost singlehandedly took the Bulldogs to the baskeyball playoffs. He led the team in scoring (24.0) and steals with 55. He was second in rebounding and assists.
St. John's lost four starters from its championship team of last year but Coach Joe Gallagher didn't fret because he knew his remaining starter - Billy Barnes could play with the best of them. The 6-4 hustler picked up a group of inexperienced Cadets, put them on his broad shoulders and carried them to a 21-9 record; six of the losses coming to the area's top-ranked teams.
An excellent shooter, Barnes amassed 41 points in the Cadet's 78-73 loss to De Matha. He may take his 23 points and eight rebound averages to William & Mary, VMI or N. C. State.
Every player on the talented Mackin team had a specialty except Mark Nickens, 6-4 senior and the do-everything master for Coach Steve Hocker's 24-4 Trojans. If Mackin needed a basket, Nickens provided it (17.0 avg.); if Mackin needed a rebound, Nickens usually grabbed it (seven per game); if Mackin needed an assist or a steal, Nickens got those too (five and three).
Impressing recruiters from Clemson, Penn State, UNC-Charlotte and Rutgers was Nickens' outstanding defensive skills and cool demeanor at the free throw line. He sank 82 percent from the stripe and on more than one occasion sand two to win games in the final seconds.
Easy is the perfect surname for smooth guard Ed Swails of McKinley. As a junior, Swails was the catalyst for the Interhigh champions. Duplicating a great junior season would have been near impossible for some, but for Swails, it was easy.
The 6-1 senior shot past flustered opponents for 17 points per game although rarely taking more than a dozen shots. His spectacular drives to the basket often led to a slam dunk. An unselfish player, Swails added six rebounds, five assists and several steals for the 21-4 Trainers. Jacksonville and Marquette are high on Swails' list.
D-I-E-G-O as spelled out by the Spingarn cheerleaders often means the left-handed junior is long overdue for an eruption. McCoy led his team in scoring with a 17.1 average and, despite his 6-1 height, used his amazing spring to grab 260 rebounds and block 85 shots in 26 games.
McCoy used his long arms to snatch 115 steals to lead the Green Wave (23-4) to 20 victories, the Interhigh Tournament final and a berth in the Knights of Columbus tournament for the second straight year.
No. 1-ranked De Matha has a different hero every game but all of the Stags would agree the one player to be singled out as the "stopper" is forward Charles Branch. With slippery moves around the basket and a soft 12-15 foot jump shot, the 6-4 1/2 Branch built a 15-point average on 60 percent shooting from the floor and 72 percent accuracy from the line.
Add 10 rebounds and four assists in only 16 minutes of play (a high school game is 32 minutes) and you have an ideal swing forward. At least Clemson, Syracuse and Niagara think so.
Robinson basketball followers became a little nervous in the early part of December because Greg Dennis was hobbling with a bad ankle. A 6-2 Mike Newlin (Houston Rockets) type, Dennis put everyone's mind at ease with 21 points in his first game.
Dennis hasn't looked back since and neither have the Rams, who walked through the Northern Region, earning a semifinal berth in the Virginia State tournament in Charlottesville this weekend. Dennis registered 34,15,26 and 26 points in the Rams' final regional games. Several Ivy League schools plus Virginia, Western Carolina, GW and American are in the running for Dennis' talents.