It almost reached the point where Ferg Myrick was afraid to show up for school.

Not because he'd neglected to study for tests, or because someone was trying to bully him, or because he couldn't take 1 more day of wicked cafeteria food.

The transfer winds were the problem. And they were blowin' hard in the wrong direction.

In a 1-week span last spring, Prep Charter's elite basketball program lost one . . . two . . . three starters.

The way Myrick remembers the sequence, the first to depart was guard Parrish Grant. He's now at Imhotep Charter. Following in quick order were two more guards, shooter Jesse "Boog" Morgan (Olney) and ballhandler Willis Nicholson (Cherokee, of New Jersey).

"I couldn't believe it," Myrick said. "That was some drastic stuff.

"It was like, 'What's going on here? Will anybody still be around? How much is this going to mess up our team? Will we even be good anymore?' "

Welcome to modern-day high-school basketball. Comings and goings are a constant, and Myrick can relate.

Although the 6-6, 215-pound Division I small-forward prospect is in his third year at PC, he did begin his high-school experience at Haverford School.

"That seems so long ago," he said, laughing.

In a way, so does last spring's mass exodus. The reason? The Huskies are proving capable of surviving quite nicely, thank you.

Yesterday's Public C docket offered a sweetheart of an early season matchup. Almost 2 hours, 76 free throws and a sufficient number of thrills and chills later, PC owned an 80-74 win over visiting Communications Tech.

Myrick, who's academically qualified for freshman eligibility and boasts offers from Howard, New Hampshire and Long Island (along with nibbles from La Salle), contributed 21 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks and two apiece of assists and steals.

Thereafter, he beat himself up, verbally.

"I'm never satisfied," he said. "There were so many things I could have done better. Coach Dan [Brinkley] is really rough on me. I mean, he stays on me. But I understand and I can deal with it because I'm tough on myself."

When asked for specifics, Myrick said he'd committed dumb turnovers and too often had been selfish, having failed to make passes that could have led to assists.

He added this explanation: "I'm so used to just catching the ball and shooting after so many years of playing with my back to the basket. It's not like that anymore. I'm having to learn the small forward's game. It's taking time.

"Because I'm just making this transition, that's one reason I'm thinking of going to prep school. Most seniors are 18 or even 19. I just turned 17."

Sophomore guard Ameen Tanksley added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies, while 6-8 junior Shaquille Duncan totaled 10 points, six boards and the same number of blocks. Zaahid Holloman, who benefited from the others' departure, added nine points and five assists.

Although there were all kinds of interesting moments before and after, the game's most noteworthy sequence occurred late in the second quarter.

As sub Kyle Stanton drained a trey, a CT player was nabbed for an under-the-basket push. Myrick hit a double-bonus for a five-point play and Duncan added two more field goals in rapid order before the buzzer sounded.

Remember how we mentioned transfer winds earlier? Making his first appearance for CT was Robert Morris signee Lijah Thompson, late of Monsignor Bonner. The 6-7 forward was waved onto the court by coach Lou Biester for the start of the second quarter. He hustled for 17 points, 10 boards and six blocks before fouling out late.

Point guard Antonio "Gee" Monroe collected 19 points, seven rebounds and four apiece of assists and steals for the Phoenix. Wing sniper Chris Jones hit four treys en route to 14 points.

CT, down by 57-43 with 3:30 left, stormed within 63-60 before PC regrouped.

Myrick is finding the follower-to-leader switch to be something of challenge.

"All the things that the transfer guys brought to our team, now I have to," he said. "That makes for extra pressure. I feel that every game I play is never good enough.

"It's up to me to make the new guys perform, too. Know what? Everytime coach Dan calls their numbers, they're giving us nice contributions. I keep telling them, 'Look around. You're as good as the next player.' I come here every day with the right mind-set."

Myrick, who lives near 5th and Washington in South Philly, figures at some point he'll pursue a career in computer engineering. By then, he hopes to be rich, thanks to hoops.

"I want to be a pro," he said. "I'm going to keep working and working until things go my way. I've got that desire."

Turns out, he also has some pretty good, still-around teammates. *