Earl Moore lives a half-block from one of the city's worst drug corners, 14th and W streets NW. He used to hang with nine other guys from his block.

"Eight went bad, one went straight," said Moore, 17, a star basketball player who's headed to George Mason University this fall on an athletic scholarship.

His eight buddies dropped out of high school and most are either selling or using drugs, he said. The other friend graduated and is in the Army. Moore, the leading scorer in high school basketball in the area, is graduating from Cardozo High School next month with a 2.3 grade point average.

He said he can remember being younger and "seeing people shot down in the streets. I used to say, 'Mamma, let's move.' I used to stay in the house because of it. But mamma would always say, 'Everything's gonna be okay.' "

Even now, sometimes when friends are bringing him home from a game and he gives them his address near 14th and W streets NW, Moore said, they are stunned. "They say, 'You live 'round here?' But that just inspires me more," he said. "I want to let people know they can make it out of the ghetto."

What has made his life different from the lives of most of his buddies?

"It comes down to your parents," he said. "They have to sit down and talk to you while you're young. Some people say it's hard . . . to live around here and stay away from drugs. But it wasn't hard for me."

"I don't think these kids had enough exposure to love," said his mother, Mary Moore, ironing clothes in the small living room of their fourth-floor, three-bedroom apartment. "They need someone to hug them."

Mary Moore is a single parent who separated from her husband while Gwen, her 23-year-old daughter, and Earl were in elementary school.

"These parents, I guess, are so frustrated with their environment and situations. I don't know," she said, shaking her head. "It's no excuse. Too many of these kids think you have to beat somebody up, knock them out, stick them up, and that's what makes you a man."

Moore, 39, said she lived by the adage "spare the rod and spoil the child." "I would go right up beside their heads . . . . You either respected me and my rules, or you didn't stay in my house. No sassing, no standing up in my face. And my children had curfews . . . . They had to be in at 10 p.m. weekdays, 11 p.m. weekends. Later, as Earl got older I let him stay out till 2 a.m."

Moore, who works as a janitorial supervisor at Howard University, has stayed on W Street because she can't afford a three-bedroom apartment in another part of the city, she said.

To take care of her children, she worked two jobs for nearly 20 years. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. she was a domestic worker. "Then I came home and cooked dinner," she said. From 6 p.m. to midnight she worked with a housekeeping crew, cleaning a Silver Spring office building. "Welfare and food stamps wasn't my shot. I say that stuff puts you in a rut, never let's you see what you can do for yourself."

Part of her reward is a thick album of newspaper clippings about Earl and more than a dozen trophies on two bookshelves -- one in the living room and another in her son's bedroom -- attesting to his basketball talent.

Moore, a 6 foot, 160-pound guard who plans to major in communications or computer repair, finished his last high school basketball season as the top scorer in the area, averaging 28 points a game. He chose George Mason because it is close to home and he believes it will be a good academic environment. He hopes to play professional basketball someday. "I believe God gave me this gift," he said.

Moore said he believes the lure of "fast money" led most of his buddies astray. "Why they get money is because girls like money," he said.

"We had one guy in our group, we called him our leader. He dropped out of school and all of them dropped out. One of my friends, he was so smart he could learn computers just like that," Moore said, snapping his fingers. "He followed the rest of them. It just makes me mad. Some of them, including him, they're sitting around doing nothing.

"How can you sit around and do nothing?"

He added, "I'm fortunate my mother wasn't like other parents [who] gave up. That's another reason for me to push and try to be successful. I love that woman to death."ssile Treaty, which banned comprehensive nuclear defense systems.

The Pravda article, issued tonight by the Soviet news agency Tass, said the continuation of SDI constituted an "overt sabotage" of the January agreement to prevent an arms race in space, and that the program was "unlawful by [its] very essence."

For its part, "the Soviet Union has not conducted and is not conducting any research or development work that would not fit within the framework" of the 1972 treaty, Pravda said.

Washington has claimed that the Soviet Union is carrying out research on a space-arms defense system. In recent statements, Moscow has admitted to doing research on such technology but has said it is specifically not used for weapons.

The American program, however, is designed "to make it easier for the American strategists to achieve the insane task they have set themselves -- to deliver a disarming first strike and as far as possible to shelter themselves from the strike of retribution," Pravda said.

The SDI not only violates the 1972 treaty, accelerates the arms race, "runs counter to humanism and human morals," but it also leads to a "senseless squandering of tremendous material and intellectual resources," Pravda said.

"True, in the process Washington is trying to put on the appearance that it supposedly stands for a reduction of nuclear arms. But in reality this readiness is total eyewash," the article said.

Pravda's tone reflects the tough stand taken here on U.S. positions at Geneva. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said after the first round of talks ended last month that he remained "soberly optimistic" -- a remark repeated in the Pravda editorial. But Soviet analysts generally have taken a gloomy view of the talks' progress.

In an analysis of the first round of talks, Pravda said the United States advanced old and threadbare positions. In strategic weapons, Pravda said the Americans proposed to limit warheads on intercontinental and submarine-launched missiles and evaded a Soviet proposal to ban long-range cruise missiles.

On medium-range weapons, Pravda said the United States again offered to discuss "zero option" and "interim option" proposals that, the editorial said, fail to count British and French nuclear arsenals. It said the Soviet side had proposed that space weapons research be banned and that existing antisatellite systems be destroyed.

On strategic arms, Pravda said the Soviets offered to reduce "radically" its strategic arsenal "given a total ban on attack space arms." The account did not quantify the Soviet offer.