Thursday, April 17, 2008

County players make mark at Capital Classic

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After spending the past winter on the basketball team at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., Prince George’s products Chris Braswell and Roscoe Davis were teammates one last time on Sunday. Before becoming college opponents, Braswell and Davis were members of the Capital squad in the 35th annual Capital Classic at the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland.

Davis, who spent last year at Henry A. Wise High School before transferring to Hargrave last fall, scored 10 points. Braswell, who played for Suitland High and then transferred to DeMatha High before concluding his high school days at Hargrave, added 12. Both agreed that their last year of playing together at Hargrave enabled them to improve considerably, and for the next four years they will be going against one another. Davis is heading to West Virginia University and Braswell is staying closer to home at Georgetown University, both in the Big East conference.

‘‘I think the last year really helped a lot,” said Davis, a Gazette-Star first-team selection his junior season at Wise. ‘‘I think we both got stronger. We spent a lot of time going against each other in practice. We also did a lot of work in the weight room. I’m looking forward to my next four years at West Virginia. I was impressed with coach [Bob] Huggins when I went on my visit. After that, I knew that’s where I wanted to play in college. It will be fun to go up against Chris when we play Georgetown.”

After facing academic difficulties at DeMatha, Braswell said he was able to settle in at Hargrave, both on and off the court. The 6-foot-8 forward got to work on his game in practice every day against a taller player, the 6-11 Davis.

‘‘Hargrave turned out to be the right move for me,” Braswell said. ‘‘I was able to work on my academics and my basketball and now I’m heading to Georgetown. Roscoe really helped push me in practice each day. I’m looking forward to playing against West Virginia. Those games in the Big East are always tough and now with Roscoe on another team it will make it that much more intense.”

Braswell and Davis were joined by fellow county products Will Alston (Laurel, two points), Marquise Simmons (Central, five points), Maurice Sutton (Largo, four points) and Sean Thomas (Gwynn Park, six points) on the Capital team. Olez Czyz, a Duke University recruit from Reno, Nev., playing for the U.S. All-Stars, led all scorers with 23 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. University of Maryland recruit Sean Mosley (St. Frances Academy) added 16 for the U.S. All-Stars, who beat the Capital Stars, 123-85.

Capital coach Joe Wootten, the son of former DeMatha coach and Hall of Famer Morgan Wootten, was impressed with the county products even in defeat.

‘‘I really think Roscoe Davis is going to be a good fit at West Virginia,” Wootten said. ‘‘He’s a very good post player with plenty of ability to get up and down the court. Chris Braswell should do well for Georgetown. I look forward to seeing those two kids go up against one another the next four years.”

In the preliminary game, three county graduates participated on the Suburban All-Star squad, which suffered a 131-128 defeat against the District All-Stars. Harold Washington (Gwynn Park) led the Suburban squad with 22 points, Terrence Burke (Northwestern) added 17 and Chase Smith (Eleanor Roosevelt) had 11.

The District All-Stars owned a 70-58 lead at the intermission and stretched their advantage to 102-89 heading into the fourth quarter. Burke, Smith and Washington helped lead the Suburban squad back to tie the score at 128-128 only to see Good Counsel’s Jordan Clarke (20 points) connect on a 3-point field goal with five seconds left to lift the District All-Stars to the narrow victory.

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net.