While some of Washington's basketball elite drift from playground to playground in search of the holy grail, most support the action on their own familiar courts. Through a random poll of players from different locales, the following sites emerged as nine liveliest.
Turkey Thicket, 12th Street and Michigan Avenue NE, has four full courts with the highest level action on the first court closest to Michigan Avenue. While Thicket doesn't draw "names" its games are top flight with a community flavor.
Luzon, located on 14th Street near Walter Reed Army Hospital, used to consistently draw pros passing through, such as Wilt Chamberlain. The Urban Coalition League has diverted the flow of big names and thus cooled the action, but Luzon still has some of the area's most competitive games on the right night.
Sligo Creek, located in Sligo Creek Park in Takoma Park, Md., has inherited much of Luzon's clientele and was mentioned most often as the up and coming area playground.
Kelly Miller Junior High School, 49th and Brook Street NE, and Anacostia High School 16th and R Street, SE were two consensus choices among those who know. Kelly Miller, which used to draw pros such as Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing continues to thrive without the name players. "Of course Anacostia is way up there" was a constant phrase used when talking of the cream of Southeast. While you have to catch many playgrounds "on the right night," at Anacostia, it's nearly always the "right night."
Stead recreation center, 1625 P Street NW, is widely known for its tournaments. While Stead has solid competition on its own, the tournament action is Stead at its best.
Rose Park, 26th and O Streets NW in Georgetown, gets a steady flow of area college basketball players plus transient talent from all over town.
Watts Branch, 62nd Street and Banks Place NE, also draws local college talent such as Georgetown's Craig Shelton, with reliable action nightly.
The Quad, located amid the Hill Dormitories of the University of Maryland, attracts most of the athletes taking summer courses. The Quad is one of the few places with several courts running top flight games simultaneously.