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Jordan Capital Classic Recap

April 19, 2003 Columns No Comments

Jordan Capital Classic Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

The 30th annual Jordan Capital Classic was held on April 17, 2003 at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. The Capital Classic is similar to other postseason games like the McDonald’s All-American game in that it features many of the nation’s best high school talents, but it also features a Regional Game with some of the best high school players from metropolitan Washington, DC, and some of the best players who have signed with schools in the area.

This year’s game has been highly anticipated in part because the National Game featured LeBron James. As James has already played in the McDonald’s game and the EA Sports Roundball Classic (held in Chicago on March 31), his participation in this game puts him over the limit of two postseason games that a player may participate in if he is to play in college the following season. Despite his recent talk that he just might go to college after all, few remotely believed The Chosen One would ever be college-bound in the first place. He will likely be the first player selected in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Regional All-Star Game

In the Regional game, the White team jumped out early and controlled the glass, leading by as many as 25 in a 108-86 win over the Blue team.

Central Connecticut State signee DeMario Anderson (6’3″ SG-SF, Oxon Hill (MD) High) led the White team with 20 points and 7 rebounds, shooting the ball very well and still getting slashing baskets. The game MVP was Matt Causey (6’0″ PG, Lilburn (GA) Berkmar HS), who will play more games at the MCI Center as a Georgetown Hoya, as he had 13 points, handed out 8 assists and had 4 steals. On a couple of occasions, the speedy point man wowed the crowd with a great move, including a behind the back dribble after a turnover to lead a fast break.

Causey said he wanted to give the fans some value for their dollar, even though he didn’t think much of it.

“I wanted to give the crowd a good show, because I know most of them are Georgetown fans,” he quipped. “I was just going out there having fun with the rest of the guys, and it was just a real honor to play in this game.

“When they come up next to me, I just do whatever… to get past him. It’s just natural.”

When his future Georgetown teammate, Darian Townes (6’9″ PF-C, Washington (DC) Archbishop Carroll HS) blew the dunk at the end of the play, Causey just looked towards the future.

“We got plenty more connections on the way the next four years, so I’ll forgive him,” he quipped.

Townes impressed with 15 points and 3 blocks, running the floor on several occasions for baskets. George Washington signee Ricky Lucas (6’5″ SF, Herndon (VA) High) had 11 points and 9 rebounds, and the scorer will give the Colonials a boost. Patrick Ewing, Jr. (6’8″ SF-PF, Fort Washington (MD) National Christian Academy), who has committed to Indiana, had 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, and made several nice athletic plays at both ends of the floor. With a little more strength, he’ll be a nice college player.

Kentucky signee Sheray Thomas (6’7″ SF-PF, Upper Marlboro (MD) Riverdale Baptist School) was impressive in defeat, notching a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was aggressive at the offensive end, ran the floor well, and looks like he could play both forward positions. Maureece Rice (6’0″ PG, Philadelphia (PA) Strawberry Mansion HS) shot the ball well en route to 18 points. Maryland signee D.J. Strawberry (6’4″ SG, Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei HS) had 13 points, showing his quickness and athleticism as he got to the basket just about when he wanted to.

National All-Star Game

Shannon Brown scored 24 of his 27 points in the second half, including a three-pointer that gave his team the lead for good with 7:19 to play, as Team Silver took home a 107-102 victory over Team Black in the National game.

The Michigan State-bound Brown (6’3″ SG, Maywood (IL) Proviso East HS), who also handed out 8 assists, led six players in double figures for Team Silver en route to being named co-MVP. He got most of his help from others in the backcourt. Wake Forest signee Chris Paul (6’1″ PG, Clemmons (NC) West Forsyth HS) had 18 points, 5 assists and 6 steals, Michigan signee Dion Harris (6’4″ SG, Detroit (MI) Redford HS) had 14 points and 7 rebounds, and LSU signee Taurean Minor (5’11” PG, Houston (TX) Booker T. Washington HS) had 13 points.

LeBron James (6’7″ SF, Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary HS) led all scorers with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists en route to being named co-MVP. He generally struggled shooting the ball, as he was 13-30 from the field and made just 3 of 10 three-pointers. Kansas signee J.R. Giddens (6’6″ SF, Oklahoma City (OK) John Marshall HS) drew James at the defensive end, and generally defended him as well as one could, but James made some shots with Giddens on him. Giddens still showed some of his great athleticism with 12 points, including a couple of high-flying dunks.

James’ primary support came up front, as Linas Kleiza (6’8″ PF, Rockville (MD) Montrose Christian School) quietly tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds, Duke signee Kris Humphries (6’9″ SF-PF, Minnetonka (MN) Hopkins HS) took over the game at one brief stage and finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Oklahoma signee Brandon Foust (6’6″ SF-PF, Columbus (OH) Brookhaven HS) made all six of his shots en route to 13 points, including a couple of great dunks of his own.

Capital Classic Notes

• When James was announced as the co-MVP of the National game, the boo birds sounded. James played a great game, but his team lost. Last year’s co-MVPs were both on the winning team, leading many to believe he got this just because he’s LeBron James. Generally, the MVP should only go to a member of a losing team either if co-MVPs are always awarded (not the case here) or if the player had a much better game than anyone on the winning team. The latter was certainly not the case in this one, as Brown was unquestionably the game’s MVP.

• Linas Kleiza, who was presented with the Mr. Basketball of Washington, DC at halftime of the National game, said he’s down to Missouri and Florida State. Reports have him signing with Missouri, and he said that should make a decision next week. The native of Lithuania had plenty of support at the game, as most of his Montrose Christian teammates were in the stands.

• Patrick Ewing, Jr. seemed to leave the door open for signing at a school other than Indiana, where he committed. Asked if he didn’t choose Georgetown in part from wanting to get out of his father’s shadow, he mentioned head coach Mike Davis as “the real reason that I’m probably going to be attending Indiana University.” Causey, his good friend and former AAU teammate, drew laughs when he teased him about his college decision, saying, “Of course, one of my best friends, Patrick over here, kind of let me down on his decision.”

• Talking about his high school career, LeBron James didn’t hesitate to talk about the benefits of the much-maligned AAU circuit, as well as the whirlwind tour his school had this past year – and for something aside from basketball. “We all hear about basketball, but I think the best part about us is we’re all friends. It’s a lot more than basketball, it’s about off the court things also.”

• A number of celebrities were present, including His Airness. Sitting with him were Patrick Ewing and Warren Sapp, while Spike Lee and former Capital Classic participant Carmelo Anthony were among those sitting courtside, and Morgan Wootten was among those in the seats.

• Two players who were named as participants for the National game were not present. They were Michigan State signee Brandon Cotton (6’0″ PG, Detroit (MI) St. Martin DePorres HS) for personal reasons, and Duke signee Luol Deng (6’8″ SF, Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy) due to a stress fracture in his foot.


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