McCray on stage for Terps fans

Headed for Maryland, he'll lead U.S. All-Stars against Baltimore team

High Schools

Charm City Challenge

March 25, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Chris McCray shrugs off the expectations heaped on him since the senior at Fairmont Heights in Prince George's County committed to playing basketball with the Maryland Terrapins.

"Everybody expects me to come in and play like Juan Dixon," McCray said, referring to the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. "I'm just going to try to do my best and play my game."

McCray, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, will get an opportunity to introduce himself to Terrapins fans in the Baltimore area when he leads a U.S. All-Star team into the second annual Charm City Challenge tonight at the Towson Center at Towson University.

The U.S. All-Stars will meet a Baltimore All-Star squad headlined by All-Metro Player of the Year Tyler Smith of Class 3A state-champion Douglass in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

The first game, which will start at 6:30 p.m., involves a City All-Star team coached by Daryl Wade of Mervo and a Suburban All-Star squad coached by Mike Glick of Archbishop Spalding.

The Baltimore All-Stars' roster includes two All-County Players of the Year in Josh Boone of South Carroll and Richmond-bound Kevin Steenberge of River Hill.

Florida State-bound Todd Galloway of City, Rutgers-bound Deavon Haskins of Walbrook, La Salle-bound Gary Neal of Calvert Hall, and Loyola of Chicago-bound Terrance Whiters of St. Frances are just a few of the players Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried will be able to send in from the Baltimore All-Stars bench.

"This will be a team any coach would love to have," Harried said. "If a coach had these players during the regular season, he would have [championship] rings on every finger."

Last year, fans watched then-Maryland recruits Andre Collins and Mike Grinnon play for the U.S. All-Stars team. Tonight, McCray will be joined by future Terrapins teammates John Gilchrist of Virginia Beach, Va., and Nik Caner-Medley of Portland, Maine.

McCray averaged 26.8 points per game. Caner-Medley, a 6-7 small forward, scored more than 34 a game, while Gilchrist, a 6-1 point guard, averaged more than 24.

That potential has drawn interest from national basketball observers.

"People are saying that we're one of the top 10 recruiting classes," McCray said. "We have to live up to that and stay with it as best as we can."

Although everyone involved realizes that tonight's game is an exhibition of sorts, bragging rights are at stake.

Southern graduate Melvin Scott, who now plays for North Carolina, scored 25 points to power the Baltimore All-Stars to an 86-73 victory over the U.S. All-Stars in the first Charm City Challenge.

"As much as it's supposed to be for fun, it's still a game," Harried said. "I don't want to lose and the kids don't want to lose. It's still going to be competitive."

Tickets for the Charm City Challenge will be $10 for students and $15 for adults. They can be purchased by calling 410-605-9381 or at the gate.

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