Capital Classic basketball all-star game set for April 17 at Showplace Arena

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 17, 2011; 12:56 PM

The Capital Classic, the nation's longest running high school basketball all-star game, will return for a 38th year April 17 at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.

The game was in jeopardy when its chief sponsor, McLean-based Bart & Associates, Inc., withdrew and scheduling concerns arose. The costs for keeping the game at one of the area's high-profile venues, like Verizon Center or Comcast Center, were prohibitively high, according to game founder Bob Geoghan.

Geoghan, who turned control of its operations over to Corrigan Sports in 2004 before taking back management of the game last December, said that American University's Bender Arena didn't have a suitable available date until late April. Attempts to secure the Patriot Center at George Mason were also unsuccessful.

Geoghan, who is also the executive director the _blankMcDonald's All-American Game on March 30 at United Center in Chicago, said he contemplated not holding the Capital Classic this year, citing his short timetable and limited resources.

"Then I started talking to coaches around the area," he said, "and they convinced me that we had to continue the tradition. ... I know there's been a big dropoff in the last seven years in the quality of the event, but it is a Washington tradition.

One of the difficulties with putting together the game in such a short window was trying to attract players. NCAA rules limit players from participating in more than two postseason all-star games, and such events have increased in popularity over the past decade.

Locally, for example, the Elite Showcase Basketball Classic - a boys' all-star game, followed by a girls' game, featuring local and out-of-town players - will be held Sunday at Verizon Center at 3:30 p.m., immediately after the Washington Wizards' game against the New Jersey Nets. Among the players committed to that event are Oakland Mills' Greg Whittington, who just committed to Georgetown, and Maryland recruit Nick Faust of Baltimore's City College High.

"Obviously, we missed out on a lot of super big-name players," Geoghan said, "but the local team will definitely be well-represented."

The Capital Classic's preliminary game, featuring Suburban all-stars playing against those from the District, will tip off at 1 p.m. T.C. Williams' Julian King will coach the Suburban team, while Rob Nickens of Theodore Roosevelt will led the District squad.

In the featured game, Wise's O.J. Johnson will coach the Capital team, while Danny Walck, of Hempfield in Lancaster, Pa., will coach the U.S. team.

Rosters are being finalized and expected to be announced Wednesday.

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