They are some of the best boys basketball players in this area. But last week, they found out how many more players like them there are.
"I didn't know there were so many good players out there," Lake Braddock's RaMell Ross said. "It made me work a lot harder."
Five local players -- Ross, James White of Newport Prep, Deon Saunders of Spingarn, Jordan Collins of DeMatha and Tamir Goodman, who played at Talmudical Academy last season -- attended the NBA Players Association camp last week in Princeton, N.J. The camp brought 80 of the country's top players together with former and current NBA players.
The campers worked on individual basketball skills, but also listened to lectures on drugs and alcohol, the value of education, the odds of making the NBA and character on and off the court.
Ross and White also sought extra help from Chip Engelland, a shooting coach who has worked with San Antonio Spurs guard Steve Kerr and Detroit Pistons forward Grant Hill. White said he was amazed Engelland's shooting tips had made a difference already.
"It's really helped my shot," said White, who also won the camp's slam dunk contest. White was one of two high school players scheduled to compete in a dunk contest at Wednesday's NBA draft at MCI Center before the league canceled the event.
Green Wave Gets Going
Spingarn's tough summer schedule has not slowed this veteran team. The Green Wave should return five starters next season, including Saunders (a third-team All-Met), after going 22-4 last season.
"Almost everyone we have played or will play was in The Washington Post Top 20," Spingarn summer coach Reggie Walker said.
The Green Wave, 4-2 in the Kenner League, have beaten top-20 teams Central, McNamara and Oxon Hill. Their two losses came against Eleanor Roosevelt and Coolidge.
Spingarn didn't need two of its top players, Saunders (at camp) and Nathiel Holmes (sick), to beat McNamara, 62-61, on Saturday. A strong first half by rising junior Anthony Williams and a strong second half by rising senior Chakowby Hicks -- and some steady play by senior point guard Dominic Jones -- was all Spingarn needed for the victory.
Williams finished with 19 points, while Hicks added 16. Maurice Young scored 24 points for the Mustangs, but was ejected from the game with less than a minute remaining after receiving two technical fouls.
It was an unusual score for summer basketball, but not so unusual for South Lakes. The Seahawks beat Madison, 107-71, in the Fairfax summer league on June 24.
"We're not tall," team captain Duke Cooper said. "We're a small team. We press a lot."
Cooper, Dustin Hellenga and Mike Miller combined to score 73 points for the Seahawks.
Classic Battle at Pro-Am
One of the better matchups in the girls all-star game at Sunday afternoon's Black Entertainment Television Pro-Am DC Summer Classic at George Washington University's Smith Center was between Annandale guard Natasha Denny and H.D. Woodson guard Shanda Holmes.
Holmes, a rising junior, had the height advantage and her team, the Oxon Hill Road Runners, won the game, 73-50. But Denny, a senior, impressed many in the crowd with her explosiveness, ballhandling and passing skills. . . .
Rebekkah Brunson, a 6-foot-2 senior center at Oxon Hill, was coaxed by her Road Runners teammates and coaches into entering Sunday's slam dunk contest at the Pro-Am DC Summer Classic.
Brunson, who says she has been dunking a basketball since she was 15 or 16 years old, had never attempted a dunk at a public event, although she routinely dunks in practice.
Although Brunson missed on her attempt, her effort was impressive enough to earn a 10 from the judges. She then withdrew from the competition.
News & Notes
McNamara junior point guard Tony Bethel recently returned from the Nike Hoop Jamboree at United States International University in San Diego. The three-day invitational camp brought together 96 high school players who will be sophomores and juniors in the fall. . . .
Carroll's David Hawkins continues to lead the Reebok summer league in scoring at 20 points per game. However, he has been joined at the top by St. John's Frank Peterson. Arundel's Jill Marano has taken over as leading scorer in the girls division, averaging 18.3 points per game. . . .
Greg Rector had 21 points and 10 rebounds as Quince Orchard handed Magruder its first loss in the Montgomery County summer league. The Cougars are 6-0 and tied with Wheaton for first place in the Potomac Division. . . .
Derrick Payne, a senior at Coolidge last season, was among the leaders in rebounds and blocked shots at the USA Basketball men's youth development festival last weekend. . . .
The Falconers league is on a two-week hiatus. The league will resume play on July 12.