Capital Classic

KIMA's Eugene McCrory makes a statement as Capital All-Stars beat U.S. All-Stars at Capital Classic

Eugene McCrory, a KIMA product headed to Seton Hall, scored a game-high 20 points to guide the Capital All-Stars past the U.S. All-Stars, 117-108.
By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010

When Eugene McCrory first heard of the Capital Classic all-star basketball game last summer, he never imagined himself playing in the game that showcased the Washington area's top players against their counterparts from around the nation.

"I just thought I was going to be a mid-major player," McCrory said. "But I didn't want that to happen, so I worked hard and now I'm here."

Actually, he was more than just in uniform on Thursday night. McCrory tallied 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks to help the Capital All-Stars beat the U.S. All-Stars, 117-108, before 2,111 at American University's Bender Arena.

Now, McCrory can turn his attention to where he wants to play next. He committed to Seton Hall during this past season, but the Pirates fired then-coach Bobby Gonzalez and hired Kevin Willard.

A 6-foot-7, 240-pound bruiser who transferred to the Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers -- a D.C. public charter school -- last summer, McCrory said he has spoken with Willard and remains committed to Seton Hall, though he is keeping open his options.

"He's still letting me come to the school and I like him, he's a great coach," McCrory said. "We just had a good talk. Not about basketball, just about the school. He's the same as Bobby. He just wants me to work hard and is going to get me better. That's what I need."

While McCrory said he likes Willard and still needs to improve his college board scores, he is still auditioning for other schools. He played in an AAU tournament with D.C. Assault's under-17 team this past weekend and will head to Arkansas with that team on Friday for another tournament.

McCrory's success this past season -- he averaged 17.9 points and was named a second-team All-Met -- did not surprise Capital All-Stars Coach Louis Wilson, who is the coach at Riverdale Baptist and tried to get McCrory to attend that school this season. McCrory attended summer school last year at Riverdale before winding up at KIMA.

"He has such good hands, a nice strong body, he's hard to get around and he's got a good shooting touch," Wilson said. "He has a good feel for the game as a power forward. At the next level, he's going to be a little undersized. But with the things he brings to the table, he'll be able to get away with it."

All-Met guard Markel Starks of Georgetown Prep was named the game's most valuable player after scoring 18 points.

It was the typical all-star game fare of fast-breaks, dunks -- highlighted by a right-handed throwdown by DeMatha All-Met forward Victor Oladipo -- and turnovers. But there was also a bit more emotion than is customary in these games.

When the U.S. All-Stars turned the ball over in the closing minutes as it tried to close the gap, Maryland recruit Pe'Shon Howard from Oak Hill Academy in southwestern Virginia angrily slammed his fist against the scorer's table. A few possessions later, Wise All-Met guard Daryl Traynham (15 points) rattled in a three-pointer from the right corner and the Capital All-Stars had secured consecutive victories for the first time in 10 years.

Montrose Christian All-Met forward Josh Hairston added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Capital All-Stars, while Villanova recruit Jayvaughn Pinkston led all scorers with 26 points and nine rebounds for the U.S. team.

"You're always trying to win and hold it down for the nation's capitol," Oladipo said. "You don't want some guys coming in from out of town to win."

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