Dirk Minniefield, the self-designated jokester and free spirit of the U.S. All-Star high school basketball team, said yesterday his teammates plan to give Washington a show in the Capital Classic.
"We have a few special things rigged up for the people," said the 6-foot-3 ball-handling wizard from Lexington, Ky. "This a fun game and we plan to have a good time. We want the people to see something."
Minniefield, whose specialties include "black magic" passes and flying dunks, will lead the U.S. squad against the Metro All-Stars in the sixth annual classic at 8 p.m. Thursday at Capital Centre.
"I have a few things to show off," said Minniefield, laughing at yesterday's luncheon on Capitol Hill. "At home, they call me Black Magic, not to be confused with Michigan State's Magic Man (Earvin Johnson). I like to throw the tricky passes, too.
"It's been a special day. History was made yesterday (Monday) at the White House and here we are walking in the same spots. It's a thrill just knowing the president, (Anwar) Sadat and (Menachem) Begin were here signing a peace treaty, here, where we are."
The players from 10 states were seeing the president's home for the first time and so was De Matha All-America point guard Sidney Lowe.
One of three De Matha players on the local team, Lowe said he planned to go to school yesterday but decided instead to take the tour. "I had been to the Capitol but never to the White House or the Rayburn Building. And I live here."
The U.S. players spoke little about the game, which shapes4 up as one the best. Most were busy sightseeing in the morning before being bused to their first practice at St. Stephen's High School in Alexandria.
At a noon lucheon the players met their respective congressmen. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) acted as the host for the Washington-area players.
"I know you guys have to eat well," said Fauntroy, looking up at Ralph sampson. "He's how tall? You're 7-z3, oooohhh. I'm glad he's on my team. He's how tall?"
"How tall are your," someone asked Fauntroy.
Fauntroy looked at Sampson and answered, sheepishly, "only 5-6."
Sampson was the main attentiongetter. The Harrisonburg, Va., player, who said he has enjoyed the circus atmosphere surrounding his recruiting, appeared at ease and nonchalant as the photographers snapped away and passers by aahed as he ducked under doorways.
"I'm used to it, now," said Sampson, who can look down at such NBA giants as Bob Lanier, Kareem Adbul-Jabbar and Artis Gilmore. "I've always been the tallest person around. My father (Ralph Sr.) is only 6-foot so I was a bit suprised I grew so tall (he says he is actually 7-3 1/4 and still growing)."
When asked about his confrontation with Lebanon (Pa.) High's 7-1 All-American Sam Bowie, Sampson, who will play for the Metro team, smiled and said, "Since that's supposed to be the big thing in this game, I'll have to go out and play hard."
The two highly recruited seniors were scheduled to have played on the same team in last week's McDonald's East-West All-Star game in Charlotte, N.C., but Bowie did not shop up.
"In this game, everyone can play. People will be out to have fun and won't be too serious,) said Sampson, who says he has not decided on a college yet. "I might go behind my back a few times and dunk a few.)
Sampson joined in a little fun with Fauntroy, who dribbled under the long arms of Sampson and 6-10 Tim Andree of Brother Rice in Birmingham, Mich.
"How tall did you say he was," asked Fauntroy again.
The lunch was cosponsored by Fauntroy and Rep. Thomas F. Railsback (R-III).
"It's a nice thrill to meet your congressman," said 6-11 Greg Kite from Houston. "These are things you read about. I've never been here before and I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time."
Most of the players were anxious to finish last night's practice to get to Capital Centre where they were special guests at the Bullets-Philadelphia 76ers game.
"Hey, I'm a Bullets fan," said Minnifield, who visited here once before, nine years ago. "Plus, I get to see the Doctor (Julius Erving) and DD (Darryl Dawkins). My main man is the Big E (Elvin Hayes). Peopl talk about him, but he can do it all."
More than 11,600 tickets have been sold for the classic. The Metrol All-Stars won for the first time in five tries last year, 87-79, before 14,293. A preliminary game matching the Suburban All-Stars against the District All-Stars is scheduled at 6 p.m.