Rick O'Brien: Annapolis-bound Mike Brown helps power improved Hatboro-Horsham

Mike Brown is averaging about 19 points and eight rebounds.
Mike Brown is averaging about 19 points and eight rebounds.
Posted: January 10, 2013

Before making two visits to Annapolis, Mike Brown had doubts about the U.S. Naval Academy's being the right fit for him.

"Initially, the idea of going to a military school was kind of foreign to me," the Hatboro-Horsham senior said. "But I fell in love with the school, the coaches, and the players when I went down there. I saw it as a great opportunity."

Brown, a 6-foot-4, 193-pound swingman and third-year starter for the Hatters, committed to Navy, guided by second-year coach Ed DeChellis, in October.

"His whole outlook to the process was amazing," Hatters coach Dennis Steinly said. "Basketball was the last thing that came up when he talked about Navy. That's when I knew he was doing the right thing."

After going 3-26 overall and 0-14 in the Patriot League last season, the Midshipmen are 5-10 entering Saturday afternoon's league opener at Lafayette.

"They're doing better than they did last year," Brown said. "They're going through a rough patch right now, but I'm sure they'll be fine."

The 17-year-old is part of a winning squad, as the improved Hatters are 9-2 overall and 5-0 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference. They went 8-14 in 2011-12.

"I think there's been a different level of commitment this year," Brown said. "Everyone is playing and working hard, and the practices have been intense."

Brown is averaging about 19 points and eight rebounds. He delivered 14 points in Tuesday night's 58-40 win over conference rival North Penn.

"He's really polished up his game," Steinly said. "His mid-range jumper has been solid, he can hit the three-pointer, and he's a good rebounder."

Brown, who played AAU ball for the Allentown-based Sportsfest Achievers, plans to major in economics at Navy. His other scholarship offer came from Stonehill College, a Division II program outside Boston.

He will be joined in Annapolis by former Pennridge standout Tim Abruzzo, who is now at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I.

"It will be a different type of experience at Navy," Brown said. "But I'm a hard worker, and I'm confident that it will be a smooth transition."

Work in progress. In Tuesday's 74-39 loss to visiting Abington, William Tennent's Horace Spencer, a 6-8 sophomore forward, was watched by St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli.

"There's a lot of improvement in his game from last year to this year," Panthers coach Robert Mulville said.

Against the Ghosts, Spencer, highly touted entering high school, posted 12 points, 10 rebounds (four on offense), 3 blocks, and 2 assists. He had 26 points, 14 boards, and 6 blocks in last Friday's 59-30 win over Neshaminy.

"He's starting to demand the ball a little more on the block," Mulville said. "He's making more of an effort to flash to the ball."

Tap-ins. Harriton's Matt Sherman (15 ppg.) is 32 points shy of the 1,000-point career mark. The 5-11 senior guard is hearing from Haverford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester, Swarthmore, and Ursinus. . . . Phil-Mont Christian has a solid one-two punch in junior guards Zach Dolton (19.9 ppg., 25 three-pointers) and Micah Baldez (11.9 ppg., 15 treys). . . . Abington senior guard Anthony Durham (11 points, 6 assists, 5 boards vs. Tennent) is being heavily recruited by East Carolina, Hofstra, and St. Francis (Pa.). Drexel and St. Bonaventure also are possibilities.

Rick O'Brien: The Inquirer TOP 10


Team Rec.

Records are through Tuesday.

Previous rankings in parentheses.

1. Chester (1) 8-2

2. Lower Merion (3) 10-1

3. Math, Civics & Sci. (4) 11-0

4. Imhotep Charter (5) 8-3

5. St. Joseph's Prep (6) 9-2

6. La Salle (NR) 8-3

7. Neumann-Goretti (2) 7-4

8. Abington (7) 9-2

9. Arch. Carroll (8) 8-2

10. Penn Wood (9) 7-2

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Council Rock North (9-1), Germantown Academy (10-4), Great Valley (12-0), Hatboro-Horsham (9-2), Martin Luther King (11-0), Norristown (9-2).

- Rick O'Brien

Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ozoneinq. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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