Armon Harried, a senior guard who led the Lake Clifton boys' varsity basketball team to two consecutive state championships, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.
Harried was nominated for the award by his father, longtime Lake Clifton head coach and athletic director Herman "Tree" Harried.
"I watched him put his work in," Herman said. "He's disciplined enough to work out by himself. He doesn't need someone to actually work him out. … He's mature enough to work on things with suggestions here and there, and occasionally he and I will do things together. I watched him just this summer change his diet and the weight training he's done. So I've watched him put his work in to have the kind of year that he's had this year."
Armon scored 35 points in the Lakers' 64-46 win against Southern in the 1A Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association championship game in College Park, Md., March 16. The 6-foot-4 Armon, described by his coach as a complete player who can handle the ball, shoot, drive, post up and defend, also played a leading role in Lake Clifton's 2A title last winter.
The state championships brought the soon-to-be 18-year-old Armon full circle; Herman just finished his 23rd year of coaching the Lakers, and Armon grew up in Lake Clifton's gym.
"I've been there probably in the crib somewhere," Armon joked.
Armon and Herman recalled Herman setting up a basketball hoop -- first a Nerf hoop, then an outdoor portable hoop -- in the corner of the gym for Armon to use while Herman coached his team. But it wasn't always smooth sailing in the gym for Armon in the gym, illustrated by one story Herman recalled.
"He just learned how to ride this skateboard, two-wheel scooter, and I told him to be careful," Herman said. "And of course, he flips over a table and I've got to take him to the emergency room because his elbow is hurt. He has busted his head running underneath the bleachers before. He's damaged himself in that gym as well. It ain't always been all good in that gym."
Now, Armon is set to graduate from Lake Clifton this spring. He's carrying a 4.4 GPA, has never earned less than an 'A' and takes college-level courses -- Statistics, English and Writing 101 -- through a dual-enrollment program provided by the University of Baltimore. He led the Lakers to 18-5 and 24-4 seasons the past two years to boot.
"You just have to know what you want to do in life and being able to manage it, because I know my plan for my life is not like everyone else's," Armon said. "I want to be successful, so I have to work for it and I just have to manage my time with schoolwork and on the court."
Armon wants to study sports medicine and kinesiology in the future, and he has no shortage of options for college. He's been offered athletic scholarships to play basketball by Navy, Monmouth and Canisius. He'll make a decision with his parents after visiting interested schools this spring.
"It's been an easy process because I know all the work I put in and all my grades alone without basketball have just been fine, and they've put me in a position where I can get accepted into a college that I apply to," Armon said. "Eventually, just making a decision will come down to where I feel as though I fit best and sets me up for my future."
Even though college awaits, Lake Clifton will always be home.
"He's learned how to ride his bike in that gym, he's learned how to walk in that gym, he's learned how to talk in that gym, he's learned how to live in that gym, and that gym has been a home to him -- not just a gym," Herman said. "It's a home to me and not just a gym, and we treat it like it's a home."