Booth is living All-American dream Poet is making McDonald's stop

April 04, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Myrtle Beach. St. Louis. Honolulu. Those are some of the stops Keith Booth has made during his four years while playing at Dunbar High. But the one he makes today figures to be the most memorable.

Before a national television audience today (1 p.m., channels 11, 9), the 6-foot-7 forward and The Baltimore Sun's boys basketball Player of the Year will participate in the 16th annual McDonald's All-American Game at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn.

"This has been a dream of mine since the ninth grade, seeing players like Chris Webber and Mike [Lloyd] and Donta [Bright]," Booth said from Memphis. "It's an honor to be in this position, and the hard work that I've put in has paid off."

The McDonald's game is part of a busy agenda for Booth. Upon his return from Memphis, he will begin preparation for the Capital Classic, scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. at Cole Field House. Next Sunday , he will sign a national letter of intent to play for the University of Maryland.

As a member of the East squad, Booth will get a chance to play with some of the players he will be competing against in the Atlantic Coast Conference, including Duke signee Joey Beard, a 6-foot-10 power forward from South Lakes High in Reston, Va., and Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis of Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who are both heading to North Carolina. Stackhouse, a 6-7 swingman from Kinston, N.C., is considered the best high school player to come out of the state since Michael Jordan.

Also on the East team is Rasheed Wallace, a 6-11 center from Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, the country's No. 1 team this past season according to USA Today. Wallace, whose final college choices are North Carolina, Georgetown, Temple and Villanova, was named along with LSU signee and East team member Randy Livingston of Isidore Newman High in New Orleans as Parade magazine's National Players of the Year.

"We've been talking a little trash about who's going to do what," said Booth. "It has been a lot of fun, but it has shown what your strengths and weaknesses are and what needs to be done to make that step up."

One of the nation's most versatile players, Booth averaged 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists this season for the Poets, who were ranked No. 1 in the area for the third straight season and were ranked No. 18 by USA Today. He was a second-team Parade All-American.

His junior season, he averaged 19.5 points and 11.8 rebounds as Dunbar went 29-0 and won the national championship. He earned the first of three all-Metro honors in his sophomore season, after averaging 14.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists, helping the Poets to the Baltimore City Public Schools tournament title.

Now, the final chapter of a successful high school career is in its final days. But the hard work Booth has put into that doesn't end, and he's aware of that.

"It continues in the off-season, becoming stronger and quicker," he said. "A lot more hard work has to be put in if I want to be a pro and the same in the classroom. It's just the beginning."

McDonald's Classic

When: Today, 1 p.m.

Site: Mid South Coliseum, Memphis, Tenn.

TV: Channels 11, 9

Top players: Keith Booth, Dunbar (Balt.), 6-foot-7, forward; Bobby Crawford, Eisenhower (Texas), 6-3, guard; Ronnie Henderson, Murrah (Miss.), 6-5, guard; Jerald Honeycutt, Grambling Laboratory (La.), 6-9, forward; Randy Livingston, 6-4, guard, Isidore Newman (La.); Charles O'Bannon, Artesia (Calif.), 6-6, forward; Darnell Robinson, Emery (Calif.), 6-11, center; Jerry Stackhouse, 6-7, forward, Oak Hill (Va.) Academy; Jacque Vaughn, John Muir (Calif.), 6-0, guard; Rasheed Wallace, 6-11, center, Simon Gratz (Pa.).

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