For most of his scholastic career, Davon Kelly of Queen Anne School rarely played before a crowd of more than 200.
However, Saturday at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, Kelly, perhaps the best player in the little-known Potomac Valley Athletic Conference, will have the chance to perform before many more spectators and against players from much larger schools in the Capital Classic preliminary.
The "scholarship game" will start at 6 p.m. and the Capital Stars will play the U.S. Stars at 8 in the feature contest. Members of the Capital Stars include Quinton Burton (Hammond), Derrick Davis (Coolidge), Brian Domalik (Flint Hill), Steve Hood (DeMatha), Sam Jefferson (Flint Hill), Mark Karver (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), Bob Pollard (Ireton), Mike Sumner (Crossland), Mark Tillmon (Gonzaga), John Turner (Eleanor Roosevelt) and J.R. Reid from Kempsville in Virginia Beach. The team will be coached by Flint Hill 's Stu Vetter.
"Nine years ago, Mike Pepper was in a similar position [to Kelly]," said Capital Classic director Bob Geoghan. "He'd been a good player at Flint Hill, which wasn't as well known back then as it is now, but he only had one scholarship offer, from a small college.
"But in our scholarship game, he played the best game of his high school career, according to Vetter," Geoghan said. "Pepper scored 18 points and had six assists. After the game, Syracuse, Louisville and North Carolina were among the 25 schools that were offering him scholarships. He decided to go with (Tar Heel Coach) Dean Smith and played four years there, even starting as a senior."
Since the Capital Classic now comes after the NCAA national championship game, Division I coaches may attend the game for the first time in four years.
Kelly and 23 other local players earned their way into the scholarship game by trying out with 24 other top local players. Selections were made after several days of practice and a scrimmage a week ago at St. Stephen's.
Joining Kelly on the District All-Stars, consisting of players from the Interhigh League and local private schools, will be Howard Tinker and Ricky Lewis (Spingarn), Carlos Thomas (McKinley), Everett Robinson (Coolidge), Danny Ford (Ballou), Maurice Brighthaupt (Eastern), Rod Holmes (Gonzaga), Ray Johnson and Derrick Campbell (McNamara), Cameron Jackson (Flint Hill) and Sean Smith (Ireton).
On the Suburban all-star team, comprised of players from Maryland and Virginia public schools, will be Kervin Dennis (Jefferson), Harold Westbrook (Park View), Sean Andrews (Mount Vernon), Keith Warren (West Springfield), Mike Saale (Lake Braddock), Terry Woodson (Lee), Eric Sanders (Parkdale), Darryl Farmer (Surrattsville), Mike White (Crossland), Bryan Hutchens (Walter Johnson), Thomas Lynch (Northwestern) and Adrian Basey (Seneca Valley).
Coolidge's Frank Williams will coach the District team. Crossland's Earl Hawkins will coach the Suburban squad.