For Anthony Tucker, McKinley Tech's All-Met forward, the attention he is receiving is not unusual. Scouts from many colleges have come to see him play in the Sidwell Friends basketball league.
He is one of the most sought-after players for 1987, but he is already accustomed to the attention.
"He knows how to handle the pressure," said Lafayette Moseley, McKinley's summer league coach.
Tucker exudes a coolness and calm throughout the game, hitting soft jump shots, dunking with authority and playing seemingly effortless, yet extremely effective, defense. However, he never looks hurried or pressured.
He hasn't always responded well to the pressure. When coaches and scouts first started to notice him, he didn't know how to deal with it.
"At first I was really nervous," said the 6-foot-8 senior. "I tried to do too much. I would try to take over the game, doing things like forcing shots, instead of passing to the open man."
Since those rough earlier times, he has developed discipline and has matured. McKinley Coach Charles Perry attributes much of Tucker's growth to the travel and exposure Tucker has had the last two years. Last year, he led both the 17-and-under and the 19-and-under D.C. AAU teams to the regional championship.
"He's been nurtured, groomed and developed gradually," Perry said. "He wasn't thrown into the fire overnight."
As Tucker's attitude developed, so did his overall court skills.
After scoring 14.1 points per game last summer at Sidwell, he led his team to the championship game. Although his team lost, 67-63, in overtime to Gonzaga, he was named to the all-league team.
"I had always hoped, but never expected to excel," he said. "After making all-league, I wanted to make All-Met, then all-America."
His success grew last winter. He averaged 20.3 points and 15 rebounds a game for the Trainers and made the All-Met team.
"My first year, I really had a problem with having a bad attitude, but the coaches sat me down to correct it," Tucker said.
"We've reminded Anthony enough so that he knows the value of having a good reputation in terms of attitude, academic standards and commitment," said Perry. "As long as he's consistant about his attitude and academics somebody will give him a scholarship."
Now, the last of Tucker's desires, to make all-America, awaits him.
"When I go out there on the court, I think to myself, 'There's no reason why I can't be the best in the country,' " he said, "but I have a long way to go."
Through three games of summer play, he is third in the Sidwell league in scoring. He is averaging 23.0 points per game, behind John Patrick of Sidwell (23.5) and Dennis Scott of Flint Hill (28.0).
In a 65-48 victory over Good Counsel, Flint Hill's Scott scored 39 points to help catapault the Falcons into a first place tie with Dunbar in the Western Division. In the Eastern Division, Eastern leads with McKinley second.
The two top teams in the area last winter, Flint Hill and Coolidge, played last week at Friends. Flint Hill, which was ranked second nationally, won, 56-51. The surprise of the week occurred when Friends edged DeMatha, 57-53. The Quakers were led by Patrick, who transferred from DeMatha a year ago. He scored a game-high 24 points.