Charles Sutton, one of the most-talked about Oregon atheletes since Steve Prefontaine, is looking forward to seeing Springarn's three-time all-America, Earl Jones, in action.
"I've never seen him play but I hear he's great," said the 6-foot-8 Sitton, who led McMinnville to a 27-0 record last year and 21-3 this season and is regarded as one of the top high school players in that nation. "This should be a good game."
While Jones, a 6-10, 210-pound package of talent, and the versatile Sitton probably won't match up on court, the two players will probably get most of the attention when the U.S. All-Stars battle the Capital All Stars in the seventh annual McDonald's Capital Classic at 8 o'clock tonight at Capital Centre.
The locals have pulled off upsets the last two years, beating the visitors, 87-79, in 1978 and 86-85 last year. In the four previous classics, the U.S. team bombed the local team by an average of 21 points.
The game is usually a wide-open affair of dunks, playground-oriented moves and shots and zero defense, much to the delight of the fans.
The U.S. team with five players 6-9 or taller, will undoubtedly try to establish ownership, of the boards, despite the presence of Jones. Brutes Joe Kleine (6-11, 255), Russell Cross (6-10), Tim McCormick (6-10) and Bret Bearup (6-9) earned their high school all-America status by outmuscling people underneath. Sitton, 6-8 Clarke Bynum and smooth 6-6 James Banks are the do-it-all showmen, while guards James Master, Lonnie McFarlan, Glenn Rivers, Glen Mayers and Derek Harper, the shortest U.S. player at 6-3, show no hestitation in throwing up three-point-range jumpers.
"I know they're big and we'll try to open them up a little," said Capitals Coach Jim Wood, who led Splingarn to the city title and the top ranking in the area this year. "We'll try to run on them but we can be flexible. I think we have good court speed."
Speed should be an advantage for the locals. Guards Othell Wilson (GarField), Jan Pannell (McKinley), and Mike Wright (Cardozo) was extremely quick and can score from far out. And the Capital team is not hurting inside. In addition to Jones, the locals can call on 6-10 Tim Kearney (Marshall), 6-8 Cecil Rucker (Mackin), 6-7 Arnie Russel (T.C Williams), and 6-6 Butch Baylor (Blair) to help out on the backboards.
Wood will also have the other two-thirds of his aggressive Spingarn front line, 6-6 John Jones and burly 6-2 Clifton Cotton.
"This is my type of game," said Cottom, who prefers the rough and tumble play underneath. "We'll do okay in there."
Sluby, the Washington Post's player of the year. Pete Holbert (W.T. Woodson) and Steve Perry (GarField) can beat a team inside and outside.
In past games, the Capital All-Stars have done well because of team play. The U.S. team, mainly because of a lack of practice together, has relied more on a free-lance game.
Harper, a slick, ballhandling guard from West Palm Beach, Fla., said it will be different this time.
"It's not hard to adjust to one another's style," said Harper. "We can work a few plays in with no trouble. I know I can adjust my style to anyone. wIt'll be a good one."
Last year, the U.S. team was forced into 27 turnovers and had only 11 assists. By comparison, the locals had only 15 turnovers and were credited with twice as many assists.
Eight of the U.S. players have announced which college they will attend, while only three of the locals have selected a school.
A preliminary game matching a District All-Star team against a Suburban All-Star squad will begin at 6 p.m.