Washington-area high schools, known for some of the best basketball talent in the nation, continue to draw college basketball scouts from across America.
Last year's recruiting efforts netted college team slots for such high school All-Americans as Anthony Jones (Dunbar High School/Georgetown University), Sylvester Charles (Dunbar/Wake Forest) and William Martin (McKinley/Georgetown). Western Kentucky University Coach Clem Haskins, who recruits regularly in this area, says it will be difficult to find players with the exceptional skills of some of those recruited from Washington-area high schools last year. But he said there are are still plenty of good ball players around.
Based on last year's performances and preseason scouting reports, some top scouting prospects in the Washington area are: Johnny Dawkins (Mackin High), Linwood Davis (Theodore Roosevelt High), Darryl Webster (Coolidge High), Andre McCloud (H.D. Woodson High), Jeff Baxter (Archbishop John Carroll High), Angelo Horton (Spingarn High), Johnny McCoy (Phelps Vocational High), Darnell Swinton and Dominic Pressley (both of Mackin) and Kenny Gorham (Maret).
Dawkins, generally regarded as the top player in the Washington area, is one of the most sought-after shooting guards in the nation. An 18-year-old senior at Mackin High School in Northwest, Dawkins follows former Mackin basketball stars like Austin Carr, Jo Jo Hunter and Donald Williams. Players are rated and evaluated on their performance during the season and the outstanding ones are chosen as All-Met. Dawkins was the only junior selected All-Met last year. When a team of top college players was picked to represent the East in the National Sports Festival this past summer, Dawkins was the only high school player selected.
Dawkins already has scored more than 1,000 points during his career at Mackin. The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter averaged almost 25 points a game last year -- scoring over 30 points eight times -- to lead his team to a 27-4 mark. Says Mackin Coach Paul De Stefano of his star: "Johnny is a fine player. He is an extremely hard-working player who is always trying to improve his game."
Another player who will be getting a lot of attention is Davis, of Theodore Roosevelt High in Northwest Washington. The 6-foot junior was the most dominating guard in the tough Interhigh League last year. A first-team All-Met, Davis led the league, averaging 24 points a game.
But scoring is not Davis' only strongpoint. He led his team in rebounding and is considered one of the top defensive players in the area. His forte is his intensity. Said one opposing coach: "He is one of the most intense players I have ever seen. He plays both ends of the court and goes all out every play." Although Davis is only a junior, this is his last season of eligibility because his class graduates next year. Next year, he may go to a prep school, where under NCAA rules he could play his senior year and fulfill academic requirements for college.
The best all-around big man in the Washington area could be Webster of Coolidge High in upper Northwest. A three-year starter and All-Met selection for 1981, Webster is one of the strongest players around. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder uses his weight and strength to overpower opponents around the net. He is also consistent with his jump shot from the corner and he rebounds extremely well. Webster is one reason Coolidge has been rated No. 2 among area high school teams.
"A lot of our success this season depends on Darryl," said Coolidge Coach Frank Williams. "He has experience and he can score and rebound with anyone."
H.D. Woodson's McCloud is a prime prospect for college scouts. A highly rated 6-foot-5 forward at the far Northeast Washington school, he has one of the deadliest jump shots around and averaged 20 points and seven rebounds a game. Along with his quickness, his shooting ability makes him ideal for the small forward/shooting-guard position used by many college teams.
Baxter, of Archbishop John Carroll High in Northeast, ranks among the area's best shooters. Last season, the 6-foot-2 star led his team to one of its most successful finishes in recent years, bagging 20 points an outing.
Point guards are sometimes hard to find, but in Horton, Northeast's Spingarn High has one of the best. A three-year performer, Horton has the poise, quickness and stamina (he's also a cross-country runner) to become an outstanding point guard. Horton led his team in assists last season and is one of the main reasons Spingarn has been ranked No. 3 in the area so far.
Every year there is a "sleeper" who emerges as a star. This year's candidate is McCoy, of Phelps Vocational High in Northeast. Last year, he played in the shadow of stars Jones and Martin, but "quietly" averaged 22 points a game. At 6-foot-3, he is one of the smoothest players anywhere.
Dawkins is not the only reason Mackin is rated No. 1 in the Washington area and seventh in the nation by Street & Smith's Basketball Magazine. Two others are Swinton and Pressley. Swinton rates as one the area's top point guards. He is the key to the Trojan running machine, has great peripheral vision on the court and uses both hands extremely well -- something rare among high school players.
Pressley is best described as a 6-foot-3 greyhound. Lean and fast, he runs the court lanes with the best. He plays forward for Mackin but will probably play shooting guard in college.
Kenny Gorham of tiny Maret High School in Northwest Washington has received little recognition during the past two years. But the 6-foot-3, do-everything guard has led his team in rebounding, scoring and assists for two years.