Every year, something's different about the Black College All-Star basketball game, nips and tucks that will keep the fifth-year event around longer, executive producer LaShun Lawson hopes.
"I dream about the 10th annual Black College All-Star Game," said Lawson, 34, a Bowie resident who started thinking of the event more than a decade ago. "I don't know if I'll be the person running it by then, but I'd like to see it continue to grow."
The men's and women's games have moved from Baltimore Arena to Morgan State's Hill Field House. The games -- featuring several players from Coppin State, Morgan State, Bowie State and UMES -- are today at 12: 30 p.m. (women) and 3: 30 p.m. (men). The games previously had been played on a Saturday.
Lawson's explanation: She didn't want an event on the same day as the more prestigious Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia, though Norfolk State's Damion Woolfork is the only player from a historically black college playing in it.
And, all platitudes about moving the event to a historically black college or university campus notwithstanding, Hill Field House is a less expensive venue, and its 5,000-seat capacity is more in line with last year's attendance of 4,300 than is the 12,000-seat Baltimore Arena.
"It will be a better visual for TV production," Lawson said. "It's a more intimate setting, making it more attractive for sponsors in the future."
The event moved to Baltimore in 1998, after two years in Atlanta.
"I love your city; it's been overwhelmingly supportive," she said. "I look forward to being here for the duration."
Coppin State has two men (Jorge Cajigas and Kofi Pointer) and one woman (Leisha Mitchell) playing; Morgan State has one man (Jimmy Fields) and one woman (Monique Liddell); UMES has two men (Kevin Wallace and Demetric Reese) and Bowie State has three women (Tiffany Moss, Beverly Winstead and Diedra Fields, who is not related to Jimmy).
For Jimmy Fields, the game is one more at Hill Field House, his home court for his last two seasons at Morgan State. The Gilman grad, who said he needs to work on his decision-making to succeed at the professional level, likes the idea of getting another chance in front of people who know him best.
"I'm looking forward to another victory on Sunday in my home gym," said Fields, healthier after a senior season spent being bruised by defenders. "I'm in front of my hometown, home fans, family and friends. I just want to go out and play well."
Good performances could give Wallace and Reece some exposure in this part of the state, given the Hawks' location in Princess Anne -- a three-hour drive from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia.
Wallace said that when he goes home to Michigan, UMES is often confused with a much more well-known school.
"People ask where I go to school and I say, `UMES' and they'll be like `UMass?' " he said. "I always have to say it's in the same conference with Coppin State -- you heard about them because they won in the tournament a couple of years ago."
Jimmy Fields (Morgan State); Damion Woolfork (Norfolk State); Kevin Wallace (UMES); Demetric Reese (UMES); Freddie Cole (Bethune-Cookman); Brett Harper (N.C. Central); Larry Patterson (Winston-Salem State); Lee Grant (Shaw); Delvin Thomas (Bethune-Cookman); Duane Johnson (S.C. State); Marcus Riddick (Elizabeth City State); Chandar Bingham (Virginia Union); Jorge Cajigas (Coppin State).
Charles Manning (Kentucky State); Antwon Morgan (LeMoyne-Owen); Patric Dyse (Texas Southern); Wallace Harris (Alcorn State); Ted Thomas (Dilard); Terrance Vanlier (Alabama A&M); Marcus Mackey (Talladega); Adarrial Smylie (Southern); Ifey Anyanwu (Texas Southern); Patrick Chambers (Arkansas-Pine Bluff); Lonnie Benjamin (Tuskegee).
Felicia Bryant (Hampton); Leisha Mitchell (Coppin State); D'Shawn Watts (Bethune-Cookman); Tiffany Moss (Bowie State); Keisha Evans (S.C. State); Monique Liddell (Morgan State); Tomedia Peterson (Florida A&M); Regan Carter (Howard); Diedra Fields (Bowie State); Anastacia Sands (St. Augustine's); Beverly Winstead (Bowie State); Belinda Jacobs (Shaw).
Latitia Hall (Southern-Baton Rouge); Kisha Burns (Clark Atlanta); Andrea Watson (Southern-New Orleans); April Allen (LeMoyne-Owen); Lakeisha Gaskew (Tougaloo); Nakesha Jewell (Grambling); Tracie Campbell (Miss Valley); Lanora Brooks (Alabama A&M); Patricia Scaggs (Kentucky State); Kelli Williams (Kentucky State); Tiffany Beasley (LeMoyne-Owen); Naterria Mitchell (Ft. Valley State).
Black College All-Star game
When: Today, women at 12: 30 p.m., men at 3: 30 p.m.
Where: Hill Field House, Morgan State
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at door