By Matt Caputo
The 2008 Under Armour Capital Classic has come and gone, but SLAM was there all-weekend taking in the excitement. The weekend’s events were split between the dunk-contest on Friday afternoon at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, VA and the All-Star games (regional and national) on Sunday at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland.
In Friday’s dunk contest, the Bishop O’Connell crowd tried to rally around their schoolmate, Jason Clark, who is headed to Georgetown. Clark used a ton of attempts trying to complete a dunk in which he threw the ball off the wall behind the basket, however, he never really successfully completed the slam. Clark who would compete in the national game on Friday, was outshined by David Diakite of National Christian Academy, a local kid who was set to play in the regional game on Sunday. Diakite got the edge in the competition by completing two very impressive dunks. His first was an eye opening flight over four people standing inside the lane and his second was a classic leap from about half a foot past the foul line.
Before the regional game tipped off on Sunday, the players, coaches and participating were all treated to top-notch buffet at “Sidelines,” the eating establishment of Under Armour endorsee LaVar Arrington. The meal, much like the Wizards game was on Saturday night, was a chance for the players to hang out with each other in a non-competitive atmosphere.
In regional game action, the DC “District All-Stars” squared off against the “Suburban All-Stars” in a contest that was clearly a show-stealer. The Suburban squad hung tough after being down a ton in the first half. In the second half, however, the Suburban All-Stars turned up their intensity and managed to pull within one during the third. The District All-Star’s were lead by Chattanooga-bound Jasper Williams of Progressive Christian School who finished with 23 points and Under Armour Cap-Classic dunkman David Diakite, who finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
Although the Suburban team benefited from strong efforts from Harold Washington (22 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Erik Etherly (21 pts, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals) the District All-Stars were just too tough and held on for 131-128 victory.
In the big show, the National All-Star game, Dan Hurley of Saint Benedicts High School in New Jersey coached a stacked line-up of talented players. One of which was Oleg Czyz (currently featured in SLAM #118) who had a monster game. Rumor had it that had Czyz’ plane landed in time, he’d have walked away with the slam dunk championship. With the extra rest, Czyz helped the U.S. All-Stars power past the Capital All-Stars in a game that was hardly ever close. Czyz finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds and should be looking toward a productive freshman season at Duke.
Andre Cornelius, who Coach Hurley said was “a big steal for George Mason University,” finished with 13 points, 8 assists and 4 steals for the U.S. team, as did his roommate for the weekend, Sylven Landesberg (pictured above) who finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Also adding extra star-power to the U.S. line-up was Ralph Sampson III, the son of former-NBA player Ralph Sampson Jr. Young Sampson finished with 6 points and 6 boards, while the son of former LA Laker Michael Thompson, Klay Thompson, finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
In the end, the US All-Stars took a huge win over the Capital All-Stars 123-85 and Oleg Czyz earned the Most Valuable Player honors.
In the end, Under Armour, along with SLAM and Corrigan Sports, did a great job of breathing new life into a game that has always been rich in tradition and talent. This event was a great example of where Under Armour will be taking basketball in the future. Keep an eye out for their logo on a court near you.
***STAY TUNED TO SLAM ONLINE FOR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO COVERAGE OF THE 2008 UNDER ARMOUR CAPITAL CLASSIC.