Happy 62nd birthday to DeMatha great Adrian Dantley

Adrian Dantley
While at Dematha, Adrian Dantley was a three-time All-Met selection and helped lead the Stags to four straight No. 1 rankings in the Washington area.

It was a cold winter morning in December of 1969. Schools were on break, with teachers and coaches like DeMatha’s Morgan Wootten happy for a respite from their responsibilities.

This particular morning, Wootten heard a knock on the door of his Hyattsville home. He went to answer it and discovered ninth-grader Adrian Dantley standing on his doorstep. Dantley, then an up-and-coming star for the Stags, wanted to borrow the keys to the DeMatha gym, so he could squeeze in a workout.

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Gary Mays, Armstong High’s one-armed wonder, dead at 82

When you hear the stories about Gary Mays, a multisport star at the long-closed Armstrong High School, it’s easy to dismiss what you’ve heard.Gary Mays

There’s couldn’t really have been a one-armed high school basketball player who was also the best catcher in the city. It’s got to be an urban legend.

Mays was a legend, all right. But the tales you’ve heard about him are absolutely, 100 percent true.

Mays, 82, passed away last week. He’d been living in Temple Hills for a while and his health hadn’t been good in recent years.

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In January of ’68, nobody was hotter than Jim O’Brien

Fifty years ago this week, Washington’s sports pages were full of stories on the Green Bay Packers’ recent Super Bowl II victory over the Oakland Raiders.

O'Brien head shot
Jim O’Brien played with the NY Nets in 1973-74.

In sports news closer to home, local basketball fans were starting to notice a kid named Jim O’Brien, who kept showing up in the Stuart High School boxscores with 20 or 30 points to his credit. The rail-thin, 6-foot-7 redhead averaged 17.8 points per game as a sophomore on a team that finished just 11-10.

But by January of 1968, O’Brien had shifted his game into a different gear. He’d had a 42-point, 29-rebound game against rival Falls Church to open the 1967-68 season – a stunning statistical achievement in a 32-minute high school game.

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Grant Hill: Reston’s Hometown Hero

Grant Hill in 1990, during his senior season as a South Lakes Seahawk in Reston.  (Fairfax County Times file photo)

South Lakes High School in Reston recently retired Grant Hill’s No. 32 jersey. Nobody who plays basketball for the Seahawks will wear that number again.
And with good reason; Hill was one of the best basketball players Northern Virginia ever produced.

He played 18 seasons in the NBA and was a seven-time all-star. He averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists during his career. But he really made his mark in his first six seasons, before injuries limited his game. In his first six seasons, the multi-talented Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.

By the time he decided to quit, Hill had done well enough in business and with his investments to become part of a group that bought the Atlanta Hawks for an estimated $800 million in 2015.

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Williams and Ferry inducted into Washington Metro Hall of Fame

Walt Williams
Walt Williams in 1991

Prince George’s County was well-represented at the Wooden Leadership in Coaching awards dinner Thursday night at the Watergate Hotel in downtown Washington.

Walt Williams (Temple Hills, MD) and Danny Ferry (Bowie, MD) were inducted into the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame.

Both were high school standouts, with Williams playing on Crossland HS team that reached the Class AA state basketball finals three years in a row (1986-88). Ferry, of course, played at storied DeMatha Catholic HS, where the team he played on in his junior year (1983-84) wound up 29-2 and ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today.

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Happy Birthday to “The Admiral”

Happy 50th birthday to the greatest professional basketball player ever to come out of Northern Virginia – Osbourne Park’s David Robinson.

David Robinson hook shot at the Naval Academy
David Robinson earned the nickname “The Admiral” at the Naval Academy

The number 50 looms large in Robinson’s career – he wore that number on his jersey at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, and during his Hall of Fame career with the San Antonio Spurs.

He also was voted one of the 50 best NBA players of all time – while still an active player. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a more unlikely journey to all-time greatness than that taken by “The Admiral.”

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