Star week showcases athletes in 2 cities

1st Baltimore-D.C. games missing some top players

July 16, 1999|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

The first Baltimore-Washington Parkway All-Star Week for high school seniors -- punctuated with a 7 p.m. football game at Washington's Eastern High tonight and a pair of basketball games tomorrow -- seems like an idea whose time is right.

The goal is to showcase public-school athletes in Baltimore and Washington. However, some potential participants have been unavailable or distracted by summer jobs, summer leagues and all-star games elsewhere.

"It's just another opportunity for kids hoping to catch the eye of schools still looking for student-athletes," said Bob Wade, Baltimore schools' athletic director and one of the event's organizers. "We want to give as many kids the exposure as we can."

But on Wednesday, as Mervo coach Woody Williams was preparing his Baltimore team for its 1 p.m. game tomorrow at Coolidge High in Washington, at least six players hadn't attended a practice. They included Dunbar star Dontaz Dean, expected to be one of the Baltimore team's marquee players.

"He hasn't been here yet," said assistant Williams Lee, who also assists Williams for Mervo. "We don't know whether he's in town or out."

Dean, a Sun All-Metro selection this past season, is in Florida for another basketball event.

Of 15 players on Williams' roster, five showed up on time for the Wednesday practice, and two showed up later. The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year, Mervo's Marcus Hatten, couldn't make it because of a summer league game but is expected to play tomorrow.

"Earlier in the year might be better," Williams said. "The kids are doing so many things [now] that it's hard to get them together."

Sluggish after five months of freedom from practices, the players eventually wore down after four games of four-on-three.

Those who showed did so out of civic pride and the desire to beat Washington, the honor of being selected as one of the city's best public school players, and the hope of impressing coaches who might be watching.

"I played well in the season. I earned it. I might as well play," said former Northwestern High guard Roland Carmichael, who hasn't found a college but hopes to go to Dundalk or Catonsville community colleges.

He said he averaged 15 points, four rebounds and four assists for a Northwestern team that went 13-10 last season.

The girls game will be played at 11 a.m., before the boys game.

The D.C. team features Coolidge guard Shalayna Johnson, who will be playing for UMBC in the fall. The top player on Baltimore's team, coached by Dunbar's Wardell Selby, is Western's Latia Few, who averaged 13 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and three steals last season.

In football, Baltimore's team must do without Bryant Johnson, a wide receiver and former City College star who is checking in for his freshman year at Penn State.

Despite the scheduling problems, Wade said he would like to keep the games in the same week for the event, which comes to Baltimore for 2000 with volleyball and soccer added to the mix.

Wade said the event, which includes workshops on drug awareness and peer counseling, allows a large group of student-athletes to interact when they might not otherwise be able to do so. With that goal, he said he's willing to lose out on the athletes who can't make it.

"We wanted to designate one week for this," Wade said. "Those who can participate, fine. Those who can't participate -- we can invite someone else who is able to participate."

Pub Date: 7/16/99

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