Advertisement

Saints alive - MAIT grabs three St. John's: Rebuilding Gaels open vs. N.Y. team

November 24, 1999|By MARK KELLER / Sports Editor

Saints alive - MAIT grabs three St. John's: Rebuilding Gaels open vs. N.Y. team

No, there really were no plans to rename the Mid-Atlantic Invitational Tournament the St. John's Invitational Tournament.

But if St. Maria Goretti coach Cokey Robertson had in fact entertained that idea, it would have at least been accurate.

Of the four teams competing in the 17th annual MAIT beginning Friday at Goretti, only the host Gaels are not from a school named for St. John.

"Well, when I got one, I decided to get the others," Robertson said.

St. John's of the D.C. Catholic League, St. John Neumann from Philadelphia and St. John's Prep of New York will fill out the field.

Advertisement

St. John's (D.C.) is led by one of the top backcourt tandems in the Washington Metro area in Jeff Palumbo and Luke Martin.

"Two very good guards, probably the best in D.C. this year," Robertson said. "The people from the league down there told me (St. John's) would be one of the top four teams in the league this year. That says enough about them coming from that league."

St. John Neumann, which played in the MAIT in 1996, returns its top seven players from a year ago. Charles Bailey, an honorable mention selection in Street and Smith's College Basketball Preview, and 6-foot-8 junior center Brandon Brigman, the team's leading scorer, are the top players for Neumann.

St. John's Prep boasts senior point guard Taliek Brown, who recently signed with the University of Connecticut. He averaged 23 points and six assists as a junior, and is listed as a Third Team All-American in Street and Smith's.

As for the Gaels, who finished third in the Baltimore Catholic League last year, Robertson calls the 1999-2000 season one for rebuilding after losing eight players from the program.

Rodney Gibson, a Herald-Mail All-Area Second Team player as a sophomore, is the only returning starter for the Gaels. Chad Brashears and Chip Chambers earned letters in backup roles and will be in the starting lineup Friday.

After that, Robertson said, almost anything goes.

"Filling out those other spots, getting that six-, seven- and eight-man depth that we like to have is where the work is," Robertson said. "I've seen some good things, but it's ninth and 10th graders.

"We'll dress 14 for the tournament to give them some experience and see if we're going to have enough minutes for them," Robertson added. "If they're coming up (to varsity), they're going to play ... and not just token minutes."

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|