That was a nice coming-out party Washington's international basketball connection had today in the National Sports Festival. Quicker than you can rattle off all seven names, their East team sprinted in front of the highly regarded Midwest and scored a 96-80 victory.
Imports and natives, every Washingtonian did something positive in the East's rout of a collection of talent considered to be nearly its equal before the game. But of all the stars Earl Jones shone brightest. The losing coach, Lute Olson, explained why.
"Pat Ewing has a chance to dominate (college basketball) like no one for a long time," Iowa's Olson said. "But he's an inside player, so it was easier for us to give him trouble. Earl Jones is a forward, not a center, and he caught us in some spread-court situations and was too quick for anyone we had."
Jones made half his 14 field-goal tries and scored 18 points. One several-minute stretch in the second half was extraordinary. Once he drove the right baseline on the Midwest's best big man, Greg Dreiling, double-pumped to spring free and banked the ball off the glass and into the basket.
The next time downcourt the University of the District of Columbia sophomore faked a pass to a breaking teammate, forcing Dreiling off balance, spun the opposite direction and hit a 10-foot jumper. The East was up 21 points, 71-50, at the time, and to make sure it stayed that way Jones stepped in front of a Midwest pass, then jumped out of bounds while flocking the ball to a teammate.
"Big forward, small forward, center," East Coach John Thompson said. "Earl can play 'em all. And play 'em intelligently."
He will play 'em for UDC next season, Jones said, denying rumors he might transfer to Georgetown to play with Ewing and the other thoroughbreds in Thompson's stable.
Many of them play together in the Urban Coalition League, but today Thompson had them split into teams that got about equal time. Anthony Jones, Ewing and Mackin's Johnny Dawkins started and played most of the first and third quarters. Earl Jones, Adrian Branch and William Martin played on the other team. Gene Smith was a swing guard for both teams.
"The kids played extremely well together," Thompson said. "And it's easier to convince players with less talent to do that. We had 10 practices in six days in which to do about one and a half months' work. We do have a great deal of flexibility."
Thompson said he started a high school player, Dawkins, because of his inexperience. He wanted the pressure-tested Smith available to play for both teams. Thompson said he will play Jones and Ewing together later in the tournament. They never were on the court at the same time today. l
Of his obvious improvement, Jones said, "I'm going to the boards a little more and I'm shooting straight up, cutting out those finger rolls. Coach (Jerry) Welsh (Thompson's assistant for the festival) has been helping me shoot better."
Anthony Jones has been playing both small forward and shooting guard here and in the D.C. playground leagues. He sees that as his Georgetown role this season. Smith was unselfish and defensively fine at point guard. Martin made four of five field goal tries and had four rebounds. p
Ewing, who scored 11 points, blocked two shots as the East gained a 12-2 lead, and the Midwest never got closer than eight thereafter. Earl Jones and Ewing each fouled out of the game with more than five minutes left to play, but the East was too far ahead for that to be worrisome. m
There had been a pregame fuss about whether Ewing would, or could, talk with the press, and he did both for about 15 minutes.
He said the 1984 Olympics "has been one of my dreams.That's why I became a citizen last year (he was born in Jamaica)." He also said he would "finish school before I turn pro."