If coaches John Wood and Bill Fox have their way, today's 12th annual McDonald's Capital Classic will be a four-quarter celebration of city playground basketball at it best.
The Capital All-Stars will take on the U.S. All-Stars today at 2:30 p.m. at Capital Centre. A preliminary game matching the District All-Stars against the Suburban All-Stars will be played at noon.
This annual fantasy of dunks and extraordinary play has entertained more than 140,000 spectators over the past 11 years. The game has showcased the skills of NBA stars such as Moses Malone (Philadelphia), Darrell Griffith (Utah), Magic Johnson (Los Angeles), Jeff Ruland (Washington), Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta), Ralph Sampson (Houston), Michael Jordan (Chicago) and collegiate stars Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker (Duke), Joe Kleine (Arkansas) and Ed Pinckney (Villanova).
With eight players who averaged more than 28 points per game the past season, today's game promises some high scoring.
One player on the U.S. team, Toney Mack of Brandon, Fla., scored 71 points in one game and had requests for his autograph from the opposing players. Another outstanding shooter, Jeff Lebo of Carlisle, Pa., was expected to play but the North Carolina-bound guard broke his hand in the state playoffs last week and was scratched from the team.
All of the U.S. All-Stars except Tom Hammonds, a 6-foot-8 forward from Crestview, Fla., have committed to major universities.
The visitors will have a size advantage with 7-1 Tito Horford of Houston; 6-11 Doug Roth of Knoxville, Tenn.; 6-8 Ed Horton of Springfield, Ill., and Hammonds. The U.S. team also has quickness in the back court in 5-10 Kenny Wilson of Jersey City, 5-11 Michael Porter of Dublin, Va., and Mack, who is 6-5.
"This is a very talented group," said Fox, who coaches at Father Judge in Philadelphia. "All of them are big scorers and aren't used to passing as much. But they've shown a lot of unselfishness and practiced very well as a team. But their top quality is putting the ball in the basket."
Wood, who coached Spingarn to a 31-0 record and the city championship, is serving as coach of the Capital team for the second time. He said his team's main attribute is quickness.
"We'll press a lot and try to beat those bigger guys downcourt," he said. "We put in a few wrinkles but I told them about those big fellows on the U.S. team and not to get too close on their shots. Shoot from the outside."
Wood's top offensive weapons are guards Earl Moore of Cardozo and Spingarn senior Sherman Douglas, The Washington Post player of the year. The two finished the season as the Nos. 1 and 2 scorers in the metropolitan area.
Other key players for the local team include DeMatha's Danny Ferry, All Saints' Phillip Gamble and Eastern's Bo Reed. Dunbar's Darryl Prue has a sore ankle and might play little. Spingarn's Earnest Hall has been selected as an alternate to replace Prue if necessary.