Devin Gray worked hard the past two seasons making a name for himself and proving that he belonged among the nation's top basketball players.
But tonight at 8, as many of the country's top high school players meet in the Capital Classic at the Capital Centre, Gray, a senior center from St. Frances High, will sit on the bench and watch -- the entire game.
On March 15, Gray had an emergency appendectomy.
The operation came one day after Gray scored 38 points in a quarterfinal of the Alhambra Tournament at Frostburg State. The next day, while his teammates were being routed by nationally ranked DeMatha, Gray lay in a hospital bed in Cumberland.
"He knows everything happens for a reason," said Gray's mother, Patricia. "He's just wondering why it couldn't have happened three games later. His spirits go up and down. Since he has been home, he tries not to think about it, but you can tell by his actions that he's real disappointed."
Devin Gray said: "I feel like I had a very good year, and now that I can't play it feels like it was all for nothing."
Gray established himself this season as the Baltimore area's dominant big man and became the area's top recruit after bursting onto the high school basketball scene as a junior. He averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds this season, was named the Baltimore Catholic League's Most Valuable Player and was a first-team All-Metro pick by The Sun for the second straight season.
The Capital Classic was supposed to be the culmination of an outstanding high school career.
Gray said DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten visited him while he was in the hospital and promised to try to get Gray into another national all-star game. There is also a chance that Gray could play in a Baltimore-area all-star game next month, but playing in the Capital Classic would have been a dream come true.
"I'm still going through all the stuff [ceremonies] that all the other guys are, and I've been on the sideline at practices watching them," Gray said. "I'm happy for them, but I'm not happy that I won't get to play."
Gray, who has not committed to a college, would have been the first player from a Baltimore school to play in the Capital Classic since Lake Clifton's Thomas Jordan in 1987.