Carmelo Anthony had the full attention of basketball fans on Friday, when the New York Knicks forward and best basketball player to come out of Baltimore scored a franchise-record 62 points in the Knicks' 125-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden.

The scoring total, a personal best for Anthony, 29, and most ever at the new Garden, could have been even greater had the former Towson Catholic star played more than 39 minutes.

Though 62 points is nearly twice his high for the Owls during his All-Metro Player of the Year season (37 points against National Christian as a junior), Anthony was no less dominant playing in 32-minute games at Towson Catholic before transfering to Oak Hill Academy for his senior year.

Then a 6-foot-7, 205-pound swingman, Anthony averaged 23 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game during the 2000-01 season and led the Owls (28-9) to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title.

"Carmelo is a great kid and a great player," former Owls coach Mike Daniel said of Anthony at the time. "He's a team player who loves to get the other players involved. He does whatever it takes and is not worried about personal glory."

He's averaging 27 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3 assists per game in his fourth season in New York.

Anthony, who made his NBA debut in Baltimore when the Washington Wizards hosted the Knicks at Baltimore Arena in October, hinted at the time that his best basketball was still ahead.

"I still feel like I'm a young guy in this league," he told The Baltimore Sun. "I haven't really even hit my prime yet. That's a scary thing."

apyles@baltsun.com

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