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Mike Yocum

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Good story in today's Philly Daily News about Mike Yocum. Yocum delivers for Episcopal.


Yocum delivers for EpiscopalBy TED SILARYsilaryt@phillynews.comTV CAMERAS were not on hand to record the moment. No microphones were thrust in his face.

For Gerald Henderson (Duke)? Yes, and then some. For Wayne Ellington (North Carolina)? Ditto in bold relief.


But when the third heralded basketball-playing member of Episcopal Academy's senior class last fall announced his college decision (Albany), he moseyed down the low-key path.


He answered a few questions over the phone, mostly expressing relief that the recruiting process had halted and that he was completely comfortable with his choice, and then got back to improving his game.


Say hello to Mike Yocum. He's not Gerald. He's not Wayne. But his value is high and his contributions run the gamut from little to big.


In saunalike conditions in front of a turnaway crowd at Philadelphia University, the 235-pound Yocum last night stood at least as tall as his 6-9 height as Episcopal edged Roman Catholic, 49-48, in a battle between everybody's top two teams - this week, at least - in the city.


Aside from leading all participants in points (14), rebounds (12) and even dunks (three), Yocum wound up contributing a crucial point with 56.8 seconds remaining. Much happened thereafter, but the free throw was important because Yocum had just missed the front end of the double-bonus, and had reacted by snapping away his head in disgust, and Roman's crazed student spectators, camped out on the stage, were razzing him even harder.


"They have great fan support,'' Yocum said, pleasantly. "They were tough on me, but I love playing in front of those kinds of crowds. There's nothing better than walking out with a win, and silencing them.


"They can talk and yell. I'll talk and yell with my play and the scoreboard.''

Yocum's free throw made it 48-45. Roman's Bradley Wanamaker nailed a right-wing trey, then Ellington, like Yocum, converted the back end of a double-bonus at 38.1.


In a wild, make-the-blood-pump sequence, Wanamaker missed about a 17-foot jumper on the left baseline, teammate Mike Ringgold rebounded, Raymond "Doodles'' Sims missed a right-wing trey, the Cahillites rebounded again (Wanamaker) and time was called at :07.9.


Final possession: Wanamaker, already a jump shooter of much renown, tried about another 17-footer, this time on the right baseline. It... went... oh!... in and out. Yocum slapped the ball out of harm's way as the buzzer sounded.


"The first option was for Mike to curl down from the post,'' said Roman coach Dennis Seddon. "They took that away. A jumper for Brad was the second option.''

That response to a question came from Seddon after he offered a comment.

"When you shoot 4-for-19 from the foul line, you can talk until you're blue in the face but you don't deserve to win.''


It was one of those nights. Even the coach was guilty of a "miss.'' Roman was 4-for-20 at the hardly charity stripe. Three of the makes came in the fourth quarter.

But so did seven of the misses.


As the third quarter ended, Roman was up, 40-35. Brian Wanamaker, Bradley's twin, went to the line with four-tenths left with a chance to provide a seven-point lead. No go. Part of pattern.


Roman missed a purple-and-golden chance to knock off the second of everybody's preseason Twin Towers. Neumann-Goretti was conquered last week in Catholic South play. N-G, meanwhile, will meet Episcopal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Palestra. The game will be shown on ESPN2.


"I don't know any of the guys from Roman,'' Yocum said, "but I'm pretty sure after beating Neumann there was nothing they wanted more than to beat us, too. Hopefully, we're where we belong now.''


Yocum shot 6-for-13 and 2-for-4. Ellington managed 12 points, eight boards, two assists and three steals while Henderson had nine points and six blocks. Somehow, despite his head-hit-the-ceiling leaping skills, he went without a rebound (three total) until the final minute of the third quarter. Hard-nosed little guys Tim Ivory (eight points, three assists) and Charlie Barks (six boards, strong defense on Sims) were more than extras.


Yocum, a fifth-year senior, attended Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County, through 2004.

"A lot of people from my old high school said I was crazy to go to Episcopal because I'd never get [shooting] looks. But playing with Wayne and 'G' is great. I'll say it a million times, they're two of the most unselfish players I've ever met. Points are the last of their concerns. All they care about is winning.

"The fact that they're so good makes me better. If they penetrate and my guy steps up to help, they know they can kick it to me and... ''




"Hopefully, I'll finish with a dunk. I like my percentages dunking a lot better than laying up. If I go up for layups, sometimes I go up a little soft. But if I have that mind-set that I'm going to dunk, I'll try going through all five people if I have to.''

When given a choice of good or medium to describe himself as a foul shooter, Yocum smiled and said, "Improving.''


He shot 50 percent last season, he added, and then made a slight alteration to his delivery and invested countless hours in trying to, well, improve.

Last night? Two-for-four. We believe that's 50 percent. Wound up being acceptable, though.

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