Metro All-Star coach Red Jenkins may have wished he moved his small, almost undersized team outside to practice shooting over trees after tonight's second annual international basketball game against the USSR Junior National champions at Robinson High School at 8.
The tall, talented Soviet team looked impressive whisking through two hours of fask-break, shooting and ball handling drills at Robinson yesterday. Many students involved in basketball and other activities on the side courts of the huge Fairfax County facility cut their games short to watch the visitors.
"They ain't flashy, but they put the ball in the hole," said one Robinson student.
Even Jenkins, who watched the practice, admitted his team would not be able to "outmuscle the Russians."
"We don't want to stir them up. We'll leave them along," said Jenkins. "We're just going out there to have some fun. It should be a great spectator's game. I hope they brought a couple of changes of tennis shoes because we plan to press and run them at entire game."
Jenkins' strategical moves are necessary if he expects to stay close to the Russians, who have eight players 6-foot 7 or taller.
And eight of the area all-star players who participated in the Capital Classic last month have decided to skip this game for one reason or another.
The other members of the Metro team that was clubbed by the United States All-Star team, 112-92, McKinley's Gary Jordan, St. John's Mark Pitchford and Eastern's Rodney Wright, will be joined by a lesser-known group of players.
The rebounders for the area team include 6-5 Jordan, 6-7 Dave Mulquin of Georgetown Prep, 6-6 Paul Keller of Flint Hill and Armand Mancini of W. T. Woodson and 6-5 Gerald Sherrill of Wakefield and Booty Neal of Oxon Hill.
Of the Soviets, only 6-10 Nikolay Deryugin has played here before. The other players, though young, are talented.
"We played one tournament in an adult league in Bulgaria recently and did well," said Soviet coach Leonid Zakharov, speaking through an interpreter. "We're just as good overall as we were last year."
The Metro team has in its backcourt Willie Jackson, the 5.5 guard from No. 1-ranked T.C. Williams, and Wright, Pitchford, Mike Pepper of Flint Hill and George Richardson of Williams.
"After some of the big names dropped out, I called these guys and they were at practice within an hour," said Jenkins. "The enthusiasm is definitely there. I'm not throwing in the towel.There's enough talent in the Washington area to field several excellent teams."
This is the first of a 10-city stop for the Soviet team.
The game, which will be played under International rules, is sponsored by the AAU and the Robinson Booster Club. Tickets are available at the school.