AAU age group basketball teams representing the Potomac Valley Athletic Congress have won at least one national title every year since 1984.
The Allentown Boys and Girls Club, the national 15-and-under champion last summer, will not compete in an age group tournament this year because most of its players decided to stay with their summer league teams rather than divide time with the club.
But Washington qualified 13 teams for national competition, and several have the talent to bring home championships.
The first two area teams to take part in a national tournament this summer both came away with impressive outings last week in the 41-team field of the 11-and-under championships in Orlando, Fla.
The Kingman Boys and Girls Club finished ninth, posting a 4-2 record. Coach James Watkins's team won its final three games by an average of 14.3 points to win the consolation bracket. Xavier Singletary averaged 24 points per game and was named an AAU all-American.
The Oxon Hill Roadrunners were also 4-2 in the 11-and-under tournament. Damany Smith, an honorable mention all-America, and David Gause each averaged 10.2 points for Oxon Hill.
Washington teams hoping they can extend the Potomac Valley region's streak of annual national championships include two strong 19-and-under national qualifiers.
Executive III and the Kalorama Saints each will bring strong teams to the 19-and-under championships starting July 28 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Executive III was the gold medal winner in the local tournament at Cole Field House with a 104-102 victory the Saints.
Executive III will be led by South Lakes graduate Grant Hill, Frank Martin of Anacostia, Charles Harrison of Carroll and Don Reid of Largo.
The Saints have good three-pointer shooters in Lamont Morgan and Avis Willis from Gonzaga. Coach Reggie Walker is also counting on Dunbar's James Marshall, Damon Singletary and James Washington and hopes All-Met Michael Smith will be back from a summer commitment at Providence College, which he will attend in the fall.
"He will be one of the keys for us," said Walker.
Others the Saints will look to include Cardozo's Lorenzo Baylor and Jamell Morgan and Carroll's Sidney Shelton.
"We have a very strong team," said Walker. "We going to have to play a real strong defense and a strong inside game."
The D.C. Express will carry its strongest team ever to the national 14-and-under tournament, which begins July 28 in New Orleans.
"We are looking to win a national championship," said optimistic Coach Elmer Smith.
The strength of Smith's team may be best illustrated in Tony Parham and Andre Smith, both two-time AAU age group all-Americans for the Express. This season, each will be coming off the bench.
The starting lineup is solid with Marcus Washington, Keith Slade of McNamara, Darren Hall of South River, Kevin Lancaster of Bowie and Robert Williams of Sidwell Friends.
The D.C. Express will go to New Orleans with considerable experience under pressure. Playing in a higher age group, it was the cochampion with Wheaton in the 15-and-under division in the Beltway League last winter. The Express won the Mid-Atlantic Shootout in Richmond in March and won the Crofton and Washington Invitational tournaments.
Going to its first national tournament will be the Silver Hill Boys Club 14-and-under team. Coach Frank Pfeifer will bring plenty of size in forward-center Damon Pitts and 6-6 center William Peters, whose weight hovers near 300. Starting at guard will be Louis Bullock and Patrick Williams.
Besides its 11-and-under team, the Kingman Boys and Girls Club earned two other national tournament berths.
This week, its 15-and-under team is at the national competition in Kingsport, Tenn. At the end of the month, the 13-and-under team will go to the tournament in Indianapolis.
The 15-and-under team went to Tennessee with an impressive lineup that included 6-8 Joey Beard of South Lakes High, 6-6 Stacy Robinson of DuVal, 6-4 Sean Winfree of Dunbar, Albert Moody of Theodore Roosevelt, Sammy Briggs of Bullis, Travis Allen of Maret and Anwar McQueen of St. Albans.
"I have never had such a talented group before," said Coach Mitch Credle, whose team finished third last year. "What has really helped most of these kids is that as freshmen and sophomores, many of them already have started with their high school varsity teams, and all of them have experience."
The Kalorama Saints also qualified for the 15-and-under national tournament. Coach Wendell Ethridge's team includes former Kingman player Earl Tyson, Kenneth Avent, Brian Jefferson, Lawrence Garrison and Victor Page.
The Kingman 13-and-under team also carries a potentially strong lineup to Indianapolis for its tournament starting July 27. Its roster includes Kevin Jones, Jamal Hill, Garry Perry, Shakil Brew, Aaron Moody, Andre Smith, Michael Gill, Kevin Haynes, Kenny Alford, Gregory Baylor, Steve Johnson and Steve Graham.
Assistant Coach LaBarry Williams thinks the team, which is 4-0 in the Greenbelt Summer League, could finish among the nation's top four. "We have people that can play defense," Williams said of the team's strength.
The D.C. Players earned a berth in the national 16-and-under tournament, but could not raise the funds to go to Los Angeles.