For veteran high school players, summer basketball is a chance to hone skills and impress college scouts. For the younger players, it's a time to develop court savvy and confidence while playing in a relaxed atmosphere.

Nearly a dozen summer leagues are under way in the Washington area, at various levels of competition. Boys and girls leagues can be found in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

Two of the area's more recognized summer leagues will have different looks.

The Urban Coalition League, known for its mixture of professional, semi-professional and top collegiate players on the Dunbar High School court, will begin play later this summer.

The Kenner League, which already has established itself as home for the city's top collegiate players, will start its season soon at Georgetown's McDonough Gymnasium.

Aside from a few school rivalries that persist year round and will be carried on in scholastic summer leagues, the focus, whether it be for the professionals or the high school players, will be on developing individual skills.

"The biggest single thing about summer league is that it is a time for the players to develop," said DeMatha Coach Morgan Wootten. "In the winter, the emphasis is on team ball. But in the summer, {players'} weaknesses can be worked on. It also gives them a great chance for exposure in front of all these college coaches."

The emphasis is the same in the girls leagues.

"It's just a matter of keeping the girls in shape and keeping them tuned into the game," said Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Maxine Eggleston of the concept behind the Roosevelt girls league. "It also helps the new kids polish up their skills. I stress to my players that they need to be playing all year round. {The league} is relaxed and they just have fun."

The Eleanor Roosevelt league, which began in 1973, will have 12 teams. Coolidge, from the Interhigh, is the only non-Prince George's County team participating.

The traditionally action-packed Sidwell Friends, Blair, Falconers and Jelleff boys and girls leagues again will be in action throughout much of the summer.

The Sidwell Friends league, directed by Quakers Coach Eddie Saah, has been a big attraction over the years because of its top players.

"There's always lots of talent and there are always some kids who will surprise you," said Saah. "We have two of the best two conferences {Metro and Interhigh} in the country and two of the best high school teams in the nation {Flint Hill and DeMatha} playing in our league."

Sidwell Friends League games will be played Monday through Saturday with starting times from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Once again, the Blair league will be one of the most competitive leagues in Montgomery County. Six Metro Conference and three Interhigh teams are scheduled to compete, along with Montgomery and Prince George's County teams.

Last summer, Whitman, with a patient offense, was the surprise team. But St. John's, Coolidge and Springbrook were all bidding for the top. Games will be played Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 9.

The Kennedy league won't be as fast-breaking as the Blair league. The league has public school representatives from Montgomery and Howard counties, as well as private school entries. The Kennedy league operates on the same schedule as the Blair league.

The Jelleff boys and girls leagues have had their share of summer dramatics and midair acrobatics over the years. The past two summers, Cardozo has won the boys title; H.D. Woodson has won three straight girls titles.

The Warriors, who have been the dominant Interhigh girls basketball team this decade, recently graduated all of their top players. But Coach Bob Headen feels that the conditioning and games the summer league has to offer will prepare his team for the winter.

"I just look for people that can play in the winter," Headen said. "I try to experiment in the summer. I just let them play and see what I can work on to improve their skills."

The Falconers league at Central High, which got an early start, beginning in late May, once again provides the top basketball in Prince George's County. The league will play Monday through Friday with games starting at 6, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m.

Summer basketball is growing in popularity in Northern Virginia. The St. Stephen's league, which began its third year of play this week, is composed of 16 public and private school teams. The league will operate Monday through Friday with the first game each night at 6 p.m.

The Montgomery County Recreation Department sponsors another league for high school girls with 24 teams scheduled to start play next week.

The league will be split up into upper county and lower county divisions with the upper county games at the Longwood recreation center and the lower county games at Woodward High.

The best of summer collegiate basketball can be seen in the Kenner league, which also admits some top high school stars. Play begins Friday and will continue through the championship game on Aug. 9.

One team, the Georgetown Athletic Club, has a few high school standouts on the squad inlcuding Jay Bias (Northwestern).

The District Eagles also appear to have a strong team with 6-foot-8 forward Tony Massenburg of Maryland and 6-9 Tom Scherer of American posing threats in the low post. Another team member is Flint Hill graduate Dennis Scott, who was the Washington Post player of the year.

Team Xerox has 6-8 center Max Blank of George Washington.

Hazel Construction's most dominant players are Perry Carter from Oklahoma State, Charles Smith from Georgetown, Rodney Walker, a power forward who recently transferred to Maryland from Syracuse, and Maryland center Derrick Lewis.

The Montgomery County Recreation Department's Hobson League, which features top current and past collegiate stars, has expanded to three divisions this summer with games played Monday through Thursday at various sites in Bethesda/Potomac area.