In Capital Classic, there is no try: Luke Maye not be ignored

Typically, the guys who do the thankless grunt work don’t get noticed in high school all-star basketball games. Fans come to see high-flying dunks, ankle-breaking crossover dribbles and great moves to the basket.Luke Maye

In Friday night’s 42nd annual Capital Classic at Catholic University, however, the contributions of North Carolina-bound Luke Maye couldn’t be ignored.

Maye, a rugged 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward from Cornelius, N.C., grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with his 15 points as the U.S. All-Stars rallied past the Capital All-Stars late for a 105-102 victory.

Continue reading In Capital Classic, there is no try: Luke Maye not be ignored

For Wizards radio announcer, broadcasting is a dream job and a link to his mother

Washington Wizards announcer Dave Johnson (Handout April 13, 2015)
Washington Wizards announcer Dave Johnson.              (Handout / April 13, 2015)
Dave Johnson doesn’t just think about basketball when he’s broadcasting a Washington Wizards game. He also thinks about his mother. His late mother, Mary Lue , suffered from multiple sclerosis and spent most of her time in a wheelchair. For her to leave the house was a chore for all involved; she had to be lifted in and of the car by Dave and his father. On most days, that radio was her only link to the outside world. That radio was usually tuned to WTOP, Washington’s all-news station — a place where her son has worked for the last 20 years. “She listened to WTOP all day long to keep up with the news — and that’s where I ended up working,” the Annapolis resident said. He’s been at the station since 1995. He picked up the Wizards gig two years later — in the 1997-98 basketball season — and is probably best known for that. But he hung on WTOP, too, phoning in early-morning sports reports from wherever his NBA travels take him.

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Locals pulled huge upset in Capital Classic back in 1978

Nobody much cares which team wins an all-star basketball game, especially a high school all-star game. The game is supposed to be a showcase for the players, a chance to show what they can do in front of college scouts. It’s also for the fans, who get a glimpse of the college (and potentially professional) stars of the future.

The Capital Classic all-star game, which was created in 1974 and featured a squad of D.C. area players going up against a national all-star team each spring, was no different. The games were popular and well-attended at the old Capital Centre in Prince George’s County and the early matchups included such future stars as Moses Malone, Magic Johnson and Albert King.

The one thing those early games didn’t feature was a competitive performance by the locals. In the first four years the game was played, the best the D.C. all-stars could do was lose by 18 points to the nCapital Classic logo.00ational team. In the most lopsided game of the series to that point – a 138-107 victory by the U.S. squad in 1976 – the score probably didn’t get any further out of hand because the players on the winning team got tired from all the running and dunking.

By the time the fifth anniversary game came around – 36 years ago this week – local basketball officials were determined to change things. Area coaches and players were sheepish about what had happened in previous years and wanted badly to make a better showing. Continue reading Locals pulled huge upset in Capital Classic back in 1978

Maryland signee Diamond Stone is a big deal in every way

Some thoughts on Friday’s news that the 6-foot-10 Diamond Stone, one of the most sought-after high school basketball players in the country, plans to play basketball next season at the University of Maryland:

The announcement that Milwaukee-area high school basketball phenom Diamond Stone has committed to play at the University of Maryland next season is huge.

In fact, everything about Stone is huge, beginning with his actual size. Most scouting services list him at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, although he tweeted earlier this year that he had been measured at seven feet tall.

It’s also a huge “get” for Maryland and coach Mark Turgeon, who beat out Wisconsin, Connecticut and Oklahoma State, his other top choices. In truth, though, every big-time school in the country pursued him at one point, including Duke, UCLA and all the rest.

They did so with good reason. Stone is a consensus top 10 player nationally and his ranking within the top 10 depends on which outlet (ESPN, Scout.com, etc.) you’re looking at. Stone is headed to Chicago for the McDonald’s-sponsored high school All-America game on Wednesday and becomes – aside from Melo Trimble – Maryland’s first McDonald’s All-American signee since sharpshooting stoneguard Mike Jones in 2007.

Considering his size, talent and potential, it seems unlikely that he’ll remain in College Park for four years, so here’s a crash course, including quotes, facts and figures about the young man who might be the program’s most celebrated signee since Albert King, almost 40 years ago.

With that said, here are 10 things to know about Diamond Stone:

Continue reading Maryland signee Diamond Stone is a big deal in every way

Some Bowie flavor to NCAA Tournament

Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Duke’s Quinn Cook grew up playing basketball together in Bowie, Md. and now will try to take their respective teams on deep NCAA Tournament runs.

For as long as they can remember, Bowie’s Quinn Cook and Jerian Grant have been part of each others’ basketball lives.

“That’s my guy,” Cook says of Grant.

“We go way, way back,” said Grant. “As far back as I can remember.”

Reprinted from Capital-Gazette Sports.

Duke vs ND

Continue reading Some Bowie flavor to NCAA Tournament

The secret to Maryland’s basketball success in 2014-15

By now, Maryland basketball fans probably have heard or read about Ken Pomeroy’s assertion that Maryland has been the luckiest college basketball team in the country this season.

And, after watching the Terrapins pull out another close game in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament against Indiana on Friday night, they probably don’t care.

luckPomeroy, widely respected for his statistics-driven analysis of the game, may have a point about the Terrapins. It’s his assertion – in part – that blowout wins and losses are a better indicator of a team’s relative strength than their performance in close game. A nail-biter, after all, could be decided by something completely out of one’s control, like a miracle shot a bad call, etc. That Maryland is now 11-0 in games decided at six points or less seems like an anomaly. By all rights, a team’s record in such games should be about .500.

Having watched Maryland basketball for 40 years and having covered it for more than 30, I must admit that the continued success of this year’s team has flummoxed me and some of my friends and colleagues as well.

Continue reading The secret to Maryland’s basketball success in 2014-15

D.C.’s Austin Carr set an NCAA Tournament scoring record 45 years ago today

Saturday, March 7, 2015 marks the 45th anniversary of one of the great performances in NCAA Tournament history – a performance turned in by one of Washington, D.C.’s greatest players.

Austin Carr, who played his prep basketball at now-closed Mackin High School in the District, set an NCAA record with a stunning 61-point outburst in a first-round game between Notre Dame and Ohio University back in the first week of March 1970.

Austin Carr at the foul line during his record-breaking 61-point performance in the 1970 NCAA tournament.
Austin Carr at the foul line during his record-breaking 61-point performance in the 1970 NCAA tournament.

Carr’s performance is that much more impressive when you consider that college basketball had no 3-point line at the time and no shot clock to speed up the game. Carr could (and did) shoot from anywhere, and yet despite all the changes that have come to the game since, no one has come close to matching his scoring record.

The only time anyone has come within a dozen points of Carr’s NCAA record was in 1987 when David Robinson (another D.C.-area product) tallied 50 points against Michigan.

When D.C. area basketball fans think of local players who starred at Notre Dame, they usually focus on future NBA scoring champion Adrian Dantley. Dantley played at DeMatha, then Notre Dame, before going on to become a Rookie of the Year in the NBA, a two-time scoring champion and, ultimately, a Hall of Famer.

Injuries kept Carr from achieving what he might have as a professional. Then again, Dantley couldn’t match Carr’s college accomplishments, either. Carr owns three of the top five NCAA Tournament single-game scoring performances and five of the top 12.

The boxscore from Carr’s breakout game – a 112-82 Notre Dame victory – shows that he hit 25 of 44 from the field (.568) and 11 of 14 from the line. Though his shot total (44) was inordinately high, Carr was anything but a gunner.

He was a master at moving without the ball, getting himself open in positions on the floor where he could score. Notre Dame accumulated 28 assists in the game – including a whopping 17 by point guard Jackie Meghan. That’s an indication that Carr was getting his points in the flow of the game, rather than taking matters into his own hands. Carr somehow picked up three assists himself, not to mention six rebounds, just one turnover and one foul.

His record scoring outburst wasn’t exactly a surprise. He averaged 38.1 points per game during his junior season in 1969-70. But he always seemed to save his best for the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 52.7 points in three tournament games in 1970 and averaged 41.3 points for seven NCAA Tournament games in his college career.

Here’s a highlight tape from that record-setting Notre Dame-Ohio game in the 1970 NCAA Tournament.