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By CRAIG ANDERSON, Staff Writer With an icy look in his eyes and the ability to dribble equally well with either hand, Jesse Brooks continues to run the point for the top-ranked Archbishop Spalding boys basketball team. It has to be that way for the 6-foot, 165-pound senior, now in his third year of facing big-time competition with the same cool efficiency. Any sign of weakness - emotionally or physically - just wouldn't cut it at this level. "There are going to be runs in basketball, and people look to see how the point guard is reacting to the bad ones," Brooks said. "If you panic, your teammates see that and might panic too. If you get flustered, then the other team will play with a lot more confidence. "It's up to the point guard not to let any of that happen. I like having the ball in my hand and being in control of the team." Brooks has always played up to the level of competition, and carried a sparkling 438-187 career assist-to-turnover ratio coming into this week. He's averaged nearly 6.3 points in 89 games. "Jesse is a very versatile point guard," prep coach Mike Glick said. "He's outstanding at handling the ball, and will make big shots when we need them. He's also gotten a lot better in terms of on-ball defense." At last month's prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Severn resident totalled 27 points, 18 assists and seven turnovers in three games, including two Spalding victories. Playing against Memphis-bound point guard Darius Washington, a likely McDonald's All-American, Brooks made three of five shots, had seven points, eight assists, two steals and three turnovers in a 66-54 setback. The 6-foot Washington totalled 21 points, four rebounds and three assists, but also went 6-for-15 shooting and made five turnovers. "It was a great experience," Brooks said. "He's very fast and makes every move count. I thought I kept up pretty well, even though we lost." Spalding hasn't lost much the past three seasons, going 72-17 since Brooks' sophomore season. He's carried on the family tradition set by older brother Isaac, a former Cava- lier standout who's now a senior 3-point specialist at Division III Goucher College. Basketball has always been a family affair in the Brooks household, with dad Isaac Sr. and mom Anita rarely missing their sons' games. Oldest brother Robert played at Meade, and is now an Air Force staff sergeant stationed in Germany. Sister Shirley played softball at Meade and now works at a National Security Administration day care facility with her mother. The youngest Brooks is considered a low-Division I college recruit, and is being pursued heavily by Hartford (Conn.). Other schools will likely join the chase after the high school season. Carrying a 2.7 grade-point average, Brooks will be eligible to play immediately as a college freshman. He's interested in studying computer science, following the course of his father, a 20-year member of the Air Force who retired as a technical sergeant. "That's what I'm looking at now, but people usually change majors in college," said Brooks, who was born in England but spent most of his life in Anne Arundel County. "I've always been interested in computers, though, so for right now that's what I want to study." Published January 28, 2004, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright © 2004 The Capital, Annapolis, Maryland
Baltimore Sun Athletes of the Week Originally published January 28, 2004 BOYS Rudy Gay Archbishop Spalding, basketball The University of Connecticut-bound senior continued to post big numbers last week, averaging 23 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in three wins. Gay's biggest output came last Wednesday against McDonogh, as the 6-foot-8 forward scored 31 points to go along with seven rebounds and five blocks in the Cavaliers' 58-54 overtime win. He followed that with a 20-point, nine-rebound, seven-block effort in a 57-56 overtime victory over Calvert Hall on Friday, before ending his week with 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks against St. Maria Goretti. Consistently facing double and triple teams, Gay, an All-Metro selection last season, is averaging 21.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and four blocks, while shooting 60 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range for the No. 3 Cavaliers (17-3).
Pat O"Malley From Staff Reports Originally published January 24, 2004 Justin Castleberry's driving layup with 10 seconds left in overtime gave third-ranked Archbishop Spalding a 57-56 win over visiting and No. 16 Calvert Hall yesterday. Castleberry's layup came 11 seconds after Calvert Hall senior center Maurice Martin hit a free throw to give the Cardinals (13-7, 2-6 Baltimore Catholic League/MIAA A Conference) a 56-55 lead. The Cavaliers (16-3, 7-1) overcame the absence of senior Rudy Gay, who fouled out less than three minutes into the extra session. Calvert Hall's Ricky Harris missed a 12-footer as time expired. Gay finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks, but he missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation.
By Steve Argeris Special to The Washington Post Thursday, January 22, 2004; Page AA16 The perception, Spalding players and coaches readily concede, is that the Cavaliers are a one-man show, and that man is Connecticut-bound forward Rudy Gay. "Yeah, we get used to it," forward Lawrence Dixon said last week. "But that's okay." During practices and on trips, teammates say, they treat Gay no differently from the rest of the group. "I wouldn't like it if they did," Gay said. But because Spalding has just one other player committed to play basketball for a Division I school next season (backup center Jason Loughry, who is headed to Mount St. Mary's), and because there is no denying Gay's prodigious talent, the rest of the Cavaliers feel they have a point to make every time they step on the floor. "We're not just Rudy and a bunch of other guys," point guard Jesse Brooks said. "We kid him a lot about it. He gets all the attention, but I like that. It makes you play even harder." For Brooks, who has received some looks from low-major Division I programs, the chance to play in national-level competition (the Cavaliers beat St. John Neumann, a top Philadelphia team, 78-62, in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday) is a boon to his college prospects. The more scouts who come to see Gay, the more scouts happen to see Brooks. "It's a win-win," Cavaliers Coach Mike Glick said. "The other players helped Rudy get to play at that elite level, and they in turn get the benefit of playing better competition as well as much more exposure." Gay "pretty much can be counted on for 20 a game," Glick said. He averages 20.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. But it is his teammates who elevate the Cavaliers against top-tier competition. Among those, Brooks has the most responsibility and the most impact. He is the lone true point guard in the Spalding system, and other than junior shooting guard Justin Castleberry, who runs the team during Brooks's rare trips to the bench, there are few other players as capable or comfortable handling the basketball. Brooks averages 7.6 points and 6.6 assists, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.1. He has started for three seasons, giving him some 80-plus games at the helm of Glick's team. "This is my fifth year here, and I got the job in a September [of 1999], so this really is my first team entirely made up of my guys," Glick said. "We tried to develop a system here. In many ways, Jesse is the system." When Brooks is playing aggressively, such as during the end of the fourth quarter and the first overtime of the Cavaliers' 63-58 double-overtime loss to Mount St. Joseph's, Spalding plays at a different level. "When Jesse plays well, we play well," Glick said. "Jesse often is the difference-maker. He is an extension of me on the floor." Brooks said he is open to attending college pretty much anywhere, "as long as my parents don't have to pay for it." So he has much riding on each game, with two months to prove himself worthy of a scholarship. I've got a lot to play for every time out," Brooks said. "A lot." The rest of the starting lineup meshes nicely with Gay and Brooks. Dixon and Castleberry are solid presences on the wings, averaging 7.9 and 5.1 points per game, respectively. Marquis Sullivan, a junior, averages 11.1 points and likely will shoulder some of Gay's scoring load next season. At a shade less than 6 feet, Sullivan dunks with ease and is perhaps the Cavaliers' fastest player. On the bench, the Emmitsburg-bound Loughry "has turned a corner in the past three weeks," Glick said. Kevin Galinat shoots 37.1 percent from three-point range, and Johann Jones is a sophomore wing -- the lone sophomore on the varsity roster -- who has shown promise. Forward Matt Cornell will suit up for Ohio State next season -- in lacrosse. But in the interim, he provides the Cavaliers with a rugged inside presence. "He sets picks, and you feel them," Gay said. Gay accounts for slightly more than one-third of Spalding's 63.5 points per game, a good indication of his value to the Cavaliers. But it is on defense where the rest of the Spalding team emerges. "We're a defense-first team," Glick said. "We pride ourselves on that. Rudy is a terrific shot-blocker, terrific at altering shots, so he does cover up for some of the mistakes we make on defense. But we're a good defensive team, first and foremost." That requires a team effort, and "the other four guys, they're all willing to play defense," Glick said. "We're a very good help-defense team. They work together very well." Part of that is the sophistication of their defense, which can use as many as six or seven sets in a game. The Cavaliers pride themselves on their constant switching between man-to-man, zone and junk defenses, cooling off and confusing opponents. Against Calvert Hall, which led for much of their game Jan. 13, the Cavaliers could do little to slow the Cardinals, falling behind by 11 points in the fourth quarter. At that point, Glick and his coaching staff changed to a 1-3-1 zone and rallied for a 61-60 victory. "We tried five different defenses, and we couldn't stop them," Glick said. "Then we changed to the 1-3-1, and that was the defense that won the game. "We keep looking until we find a defense that works. We change defenses a lot. We ask a lot of our kids. We're trying to best prepare our kids to play in college, so we try to run a college system." In the end, however, Gay is the focal point. At 6-9, he presents a matchup challenge for nearly every opponent. "Since Rudy gets double-teamed constantly, our players are better able to feed off that," Glick said. "They understand they have to get the ball to the open man." Off the court, Glick said, "this is the most together team I've ever coached." With the whirlwind of attention surrounding Gay, the benefit of having such a close team is obvious to both. "I think they provide a cocoon for Rudy," Glick said. "Rudy has teammates who care about Rudy the person, not Rudy the basketball player." Gay sets the tone. Dixon, his usual roommate when Spalding takes an overnight trip, calls him a "regular guy." "I try to keep that relationship," Gay said. "At this point, I've been with them most of my life. I'm as close to them as family. They basically are my family for five months."
Spalding defeats Calvert Hall 61-60 Spalding's Marquis Sullivan releases his game-winning free throw with 1.1-seconds left, last night at Calvert Hall (Photo by Gary Knoll/Photos of Me.com) Calvert Hall's Ricky Harris (#22) drives past Spalding's Lawrence Dixon for two of his 20-points. (Photo by Gary Knoll/Photos of Me.com) Spalding's Rudy Gay (#21) follows through on a jumper, while Calvert Hall's Maurice Martin boxes out and Spalding's Jesse Brooks eyes the basket (Photo by Gary Knoll/Photos of Me.com) by Gary Adornato Third-ranked Archbishop Spalding overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit and junior Marquis Sullivan sank a game-winning free throw with 1.1-seconds remaining as the Cavaliers survived a spirited upset bid from #13 Calvert Hall, 61-60, in a MIAA A Conference basketball game last night in Towson. The Cardinals, coming off a lopsided loss to unranked McDonogh on Sunday, went toe-to-toe with Spalding throughout and appeared on the verge of scoring a TKO in the final period. The Cavs, however, maintained their poise in front of a packed house of vocal Calvert Hall supporters and battled back to tie. Sullivan then went to the line for two shots and missed the first, before converting the winner. Calvert Hall junior Ricky Harris matched the play of Spalding All-American Rudy Gay, as both players scored 20-points. The Cardinals (13-4, 2-3) also got a big effort from junior Ryan Hourihan, who netted 14-points, and senior center Maurice Martin, who scored 11-points. Sullivan totaled 10-points for Spalding (13-2, 5-0), as did fellow junior Lawrence Dixon, who hit several key shots during the fourth quarter comeback. The schedule does not get any easier for Spalding, which is ranked #7 on the East Coast this week by USA Today, as it will return home to host Mount St. Joseph, which replaced it at the top of local rankings on Tuesday, in a rematch of last winter's MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League Championship Game. Calvert Hall also faces another tough test on Friday, as it visits #8 Cardinal Gibbons.