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St. Mary's College of Maryland men's basketball is building around local talent

Gary Grant (SMCM men's basketball)

St. Mary’s College of Maryland freshman Gary Grant, a Thomas Stone High School graduate, averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 27 contests en route to being selected as the Capital Athletic Conference’s Rookie of the Year this past winter.

Following a season in which his squad finished below the .500 mark, St. Mary’s College of Maryland head men’s basketball coach Chris Harney admitted he will head into his 16th season next winter with plenty of optimism and several local products to build around.

The Seahawks, who posted a 9-18 overall record during the 2019-2020 campaign, including a 3-7 in the Capital Athletic Conference mark, was helped by freshman Gary Grant, a Thomas Stone High School graduate who averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 27 contests en route to being selected as the CAC’s Rookie of the Year.

“Gary came in last season and had an immediate impact for us,” Harney said. “He’s such a hard worker. He’s always in the gym working on his jumpshot. From the first moment he arrived on the team he’s been willing to do whatever we’ve asked of him. He’s not just a talented player, he’s a hard worker and a great kid. We’re building the team around him for the next three seasons.”

One of the statistical weaknesses that Harney found glaring was his team’s perimeter shooting, primarily from three-point range. St. Mary’s players combined to shoot only 29.3 percent from beyond the arc this past winter, so one of Harney’s priorities was bringing in a talented long range shooter and the Seahawks have landed one in College of Southern Maryland sophomore Warrick Godwin.

“When you look at our stat sheet from last season, you see that we did not shoot well from three-point range,” Harney said. “Shooting 29 percent is not going to get it done. I’m excited to have ‘Rick come in. He shot 35.5 percent from three-point range, but he attempted 300 shots from out there. He’s another one that works hard and I’m glad he’s decided to come play for us.”

CSM head men’s basketball coach Alan Hoyt admitted that Godwin should fit right into the program at St. Mary’s this past winter. The Upper Marlboro native and Largo High School graduate averaged 18 points per game for the Hawks, connecting on 103 of 291 attempts (35.5 percent) from beyond the three-point line. He was tabbed as an All-Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference honorable mention selection.

“I think ‘Rick is a tremendous shooter,” said Hoyt, a Great Mills High School graduate. “He had tremendous range. I think he’s going to have an immediate impact when he gets to St. Mary’s College. He’s got the potential to be one of the best three-point shooters in Division III. I know he’s going to be sorely missed next season for us.”

After spending his freshman year at Mount St. Mary’s University, Great Mills High School graduate Dee Barnes transferred to St. Mary’s this past winter and played 10 games for the Seahawks, averaging 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. But Harney was not certain that Barnes would return to St. Mary’s next season.

“I know we have a very, very loyal fan base and they expect us to deliver a good product each season,” Harney said. “We’re building around Gary and adding ‘Rick and we have some really good freshmen coming in next year. Our goal is to get better each week and be able to make a run for the NCAA [Division III] tournament.”

Twitter: @tblacksomds1

Twitter: @tblacksomds1