Capital All-Stars Rout U.S. All-Stars in Capital Classic High School Basketball Game

Tristan Spurlock (Capital All-Stars) takes the low road vs. Milton Jennings.
Tristan Spurlock (Capital All-Stars) takes the low road vs. Milton Jennings. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 10, 2009

The Capital Classic, the showcase for national and local individual boys' basketball players that is now in its fourth decade, had its share of noteworthy performances last night, but the main story line might have been a rare one for such an exhibition -- a team accomplishment.

The Capital All-Stars, who had lost 21 of the 32 games in the series against the U.S. All-Stars, posted their largest margin of victory in the series, rolling past the crop of more celebrated recruits for a 129-98 win in front of 2,272 at American University's Bender Arena.

Prior to last night, the Capital All-Stars had not beaten the U.S. team by more than 13 points, a 116-103 victory in 1990.

"Compared to our group, they had a couple bigger-name schools," said St. John's guard Derrick Thomas (Drexel), referring to how nine of the 12 U.S. players are bound for the ACC, Big East or Southeastern Conference. "That don't mean nothing to us. That's how we saw it."

"They took it more personal than we did, and that's what happens," said U.S. forward James Padgett, a Maryland recruit from Lincoln High in New York.

There were, of course, plenty of individual highlights, many courtesy of game most valuable player Mouphtaou Yarou, a 6-foot-10 center from Montrose Christian.

Yarou, a Villanova signee, made all nine of his field goal attempts -- most of them dunks -- in scoring a team-high 20 points to lead seven double-figure scorers. He was the main reason the local team had a 80-38 scoring advantage in the paint. Yarou also hauled in eight rebounds in his 16 minutes on the floor.

"I just wanted to have fun, that's all," said Yarou, who moved from West Africa late in his high school career. All-tournament pick Thomas scored 16 points and sank all four of his three-point attempts.

Among the Capital All-Stars bound for area colleges, Paul VI Catholic guard Erick Green (Virginia Tech) had 10 points and a team-high four steals. Word of Life forward Tristan Spurlock (Virginia), an all-tournament pick, had 15 points and a team-high four assists. And Bishop McNamara guard Rashad Whack (George Mason) scored six points.

Perhaps the most intriguing U.S. player for local fans was the 6-8 Padgett, the MVP at the Charm City Challenge in Baltimore last weekend when he made 11 of 13 field goal attempts. Last night he grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and scored four points.

During his time in the Baltimore-Washington area in recent days, Padgett received a lot of attention from Terrapins fans.

"When you're going into a high program, there are always high expectations," Padgett said, "because only great players go to great programs. There's a lot of pressure, but I have to live with it."

Forward Paris Bennett (GMU), from St. Patrick High School in New Jersey, scored five points. And forward Cadarian Raines (Virginia Tech), a 6-9 post player from Petersburg High near Richmond, scored nine points.

Lamont Jones, a guard from Oak Hill Academy, was the only U.S. player not to have chosen a school; he has reopened recruiting after "de-committing" to Virginia Tech, he said. Jones scored 18 points.

Capital All-Stars 129, U.S. All-Stars 98 Home-Court Advantage: U.S. All-Stars guard Blake Jolivette, an American signee from St. Thomas High in Houston, enjoyed his first real action at Bender Arena. "It was good to come home, in a sense, and play my game," he said. Jolivette attempted only one shot in logging a team-low six minutes. By the Numbers: The U.S. All-Stars assisted on only six baskets, 16 fewer than the Capital All-Stars, and they attempted 35 three-pointers, 16 more than the Capital team.

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