Welcome to back to HHG, Y’all…
This 2nd edition of the DMV “Super 3” focuses on the decade of the 1980’s. Frankly, picking 3 players that exemplify what hoops was in the DMV during this decade was a challenge. There’s a LOT of meshing of both the 80’s and 90’s in terms of players and accolades, but these 3 ballers (at least in my eyes) stood out above the rest when it came to repping the DMV’s best during this era. Before we get started, here’s a short list of DMV basketball talent that DIDN’T make the list for the 1980’s:
Danny Ferry (2 Time All-Met, McDonald’s All-American, NCAA All-American, National High School & NCAA POY, NBA Pro)
Jerrod Mustaf (3 Time All-Met, McDonald’s All-American)
Michael Tate ( 3 Time All-Met, McDonald’s All-American)
Aaron Bain (3 Time All-Met)
Tommy Amaker (2 Time All-Met)
Dennis Scott (2 Time All-Met, McDonald’s All-American, NCAA All-American, NBA All-Star)
Anthony Tucker (All Met)
Sherman Douglas ( 2 Time All-Met, NCAA All-American, NBA Pro, NBA-All Rookie Team)
Johnny Dawkins ( 2 Time All-Met, NCAA All-American, NBA Pro)
Adrian Branch ( All-Met, High School All-American, NCAA All-American, NBA Pro)
David Robinson (NCAA All-American, Multi-time NBA All-Star)
Yeesh, that’s enough…I’d be here typing all day if I continued to run down the list of quality talent that DIDN’T quite crack the Super 3 for this era. The array of players that didn’t make the cut is representative of just how competitive the DMV has been over the years in terms of putting quality talent out there.
So, without further adieu, here’s the DMV “Super 3” for the decade of the 1980’s!
1) Len Bias – Northwestern High School (University Of Maryland)
We ALL know the story by now. It’s been over 30 years since ANYBODY that was close to a TV set saw the coroner’s gurney exiting a UMD residence hall with Leonard Bias’ lifeless body on it. We know the potential he exhibited during a highlight-filled career at the University of Maryland, where he became one of the most unstoppable forces in College Basketball, in arguably the TOUGHEST College Basketball conferences EVER in the 1980’s Atlantic Coast Conference. He was an athlete that was simply ahead of his time on the basketball court; 6’8, 215 chiseled pounds, and almost a 40-inch vertical leap, he was already an athletic freak in small forward terms. Add the ball skills and shooting of a 2 guard and you had something that college basketball (and possibly the NBA) hadn’t seen before. We’ll never know if Len’s NBA career would’ve progressed along the same trajectory as MJ’s, but it would’ve been fun to see him try. We DO know that his development and play was iconic for THIS region, and he’s still the measuring stick for a LOT of kids that come out of the area. He was truly one of a kind and a talent that was taken from us WAY too soon.
2) Walt “The Wizard” Williams – Crossland High School (University Of Maryland)
Yeah, Walt’s one of those dudes whose career blends into the early 1990’s but what he did in the area during the late 80’s going into the new decade warrants a spot in the Super 3 for this decade. Another 6’8 guard/forward hybrid, The Wizard was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of PG County, as well as the region. He could play all 5 positions on the floor, and could score effectively at all 3 levels (On the block, mid-range, and from the perimeter). He scored almost 2000 points in only 2 years playing varsity at Crossland High School. He was a scoring machine, point blank. As good as he was, he could’ve gone to school anywhere in the country, particularly in the wake of Len Bias’ death and the subsequent NCAA punishment handed down for violations under Bob Wade’s tenure at the school. Instead of going to any number of ACC schools on transfer, he chose to stay at UMD, helping the program survive in the process. Often he played without the benefit of television exposure (as a result of NCAA sanctions) but was still able to dominate the competition at the collegiate level, become a consensus 1st Team All-American, and become a lottery pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. His loyalty and visibility for this region landed him on this list as much as his exploits in college, or his career longevity in the NBA. When I see a kid rocking knee-high socks on a blacktop anywhere in town, I think of the Wizard.
3) Grant Hill – South Lakes High School (Duke University)
The ‘Duke University’ part of this excerpt kinda made me throw up in the back of my mouth a little bit, but Calvin Hill’s son deserves a spot on this list for a variety of reasons. First, Grant’s probably the illest small forward ever to come out of Northern Virginia and arguably one of the most versatile players to come out of the region ever. Athletic enough to guard all 5 positions at 6’8 and 225 pounds, and fast enough to get to the hoop whenever he wanted as a small forward, he was dominant in this area without even scratching the surface of his abilities. We got a chance to actually see that phase of his development while he was playing for that evil empire down in Durham. Multi-time NBA All-Star that could’ve been even more, if not for injuries derailing his career. Grant definitely left his mark on basketball in the area, even if folks identify him with that coach in Durham that never seems to age.
So…There it is, the ‘Super 3’ for the era of the 1980’s. Mane, that was tough…LOL
LOTS of GREAT players; LOTS of GREAT history…ALL DMV. Until next entry!