If there were any doubts LeBron James would play in next month's Capital Classic at MCI Center, the high school basketball sensation did his part to erase them yesterday, as organizers released rosters for the all-star event.
"I'm honored, mostly because Michael Jordan played in the game and he's my hero," James said in a teleconference with reporters attending a news conference announcing the teams. "It's going to be incredible playing in the same city where he does, wearing his [uniform] number. I'm looking forward to showcasing my ability."
The 30th Capital Classic will be played April 17, with a regional all-star game at 6 p.m. followed by the national game.
James, who is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA draft, highlights a national game lineup that also includes Duke recruit Luol Deng (Blair Academy, N.J.), Arizona signee Ndudi Ebi (Westbury Christian, Tex.) and the only local player selected, Linas Kleiza (Montrose Christian).
[See rosters on Page D4.]
No Alhambra for Gonzaga
One day after winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference boys' basketball championship, Gonzaga declined an invitation to play in the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Cumberland, Md., this month, citing differences with the tournament organizers' selections for the eight-team field.
The tournament traditionally invites the WCAC champion and the runner-up. But the tournament did not extend an invitation to Paul VI Catholic, which lost to the fifth-ranked Eagles in the WCAC final. O'Connell, which finished in a three-way tie for first with Gonzaga and Paul VI in the regular season but lost to DeMatha in the WCAC quarterfinals, was invited.
According to Gonzaga school officials, the two-year-old contract between the WCAC and Alhambra calls for the champion and runner-up to receive bids. Tournament organizers interpreted the contract differently, and invited O'Connell based on its record prior to the postseason (22-4), which was better than Paul VI's record entering the tournament (20-6), according to Alhambra spokesman Joe Carter.
DeMatha received an automatic bid to the March 13-15 tournament as last year's champion.
"We're just trying to protect the integrity of the tournament," Gonzaga Coach Dick Myers said. "We think our conference tournament should determine which teams are represented at Alhambra. . . . Paul VI deserves to be there."
Said Carter: "We took [O'Connell] because that's what the contract says. We've already pushed the tournament back a week to accommodate the WCAC, and now I don't have an eighth team."
Dunbar Appeal Denied
D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association officials denied an appeal by Dunbar to allow senior guard Earl Risby to participate in Friday's City Title Game against Gonzaga. Risby received a technical foul and was ejected for tossing the ball at a referee as time expired in the Crimson Tide's 75-62 victory over three-time defending champion Spingarn on Saturday.
DCIAA rules prohibit a player ejected from a game from participating in the team's next contest. Risby, a former Gonzaga student who averages 10 points and eight assists, has two days to file an appeal directly to Assistant Superintendent Ralph Neal.
DCIAA Executive Director Allen Chin said officials yesterday reviewed videotapes of the incident as well as testimony from individuals involved.
The DCIAA also denied a petition filed by Theodore Roosevelt that its loss to H.D. Woodson in the girls' championship game on Saturday should be overturned based on allegations that the Warriors used an ineligible player.
DCIAA officials ruled that the petition was filed late and the player involved was properly enrolled at H.D. Woodson before she took the court, Chin said.