Victor Oladipo timed it just right. The DeMatha High School swingman couldn’t explain how he knew to be in the right place at the right time, but knew what to do once he arrived.
His one-handed follow up dunk before the halftime buzzer sent the crowd at American University’s Bender Arena into a frenzy and gave his Capital All-Star team a lead at the half on the way to a 117-108 defeat of the U.S. All-Stars in the 37th annual Capital Classic.
The Capital Classic pits Washington, D.C.’s best seniors against their counterparts from around the nation and is the longest-running national high school basketball All-Star game in the country.
Players were selected to participate by Maryland sports event promotion companies and game organizers Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which also organizes the Baltimore Marathon, and Sports America Inc., which produces nationally-televised events around the country.
“I guess I just timed it right,” the Indiana-bound Oladipo said. “Everybody was hyper, jumping around everybody stood up on the bench. I just wanted to get a little bit of the action in this lovely All-Star game that we’re in.”
The second half of that “lovely All-Star game” saw plenty of fast-paced action, including the U.S. team’s Jayvaughn Pinkston going shot-for-shot against Capital All-Star and Montrose Christian standout Josh Hairston. The Villanova-bound Pinkston led all scorers with 26 points but Hairston’s 14 points and 10 rebounds provided a glimpse as to what to expect from the future Duke Blue Devil.
Hairston and Pinkston’s on-court showdown was a duel of two of the most decorated high school players in the country, but it wasn’t the first time the two have tangled.
“Me and Jayvaughn played against each other in my 16-and-under year in Vegas in the Adidas Hoops Championship,” Hairston said. “We was just out there joking and having fun. He said he was getting ready to go by me so I told him I was going to go by him and we both ended up doing it so we was just out there having fun.” 
Wise High School’s Daryl Traynham and Georgetown Prep’s Markel Starks were also pivotal for the Capital team. Traynham’s speed and vision were on full display as the 5-foot-10-inch guard jetted around defenders all night to finish with 15 points and six assists. Traynham will try to repeat the performance next season at the University of Massachusetts. 
The Georgetown-bound Starks finished as the game’s MVP with 18 points, three rebounds and one steal.
But on a team with several standouts, MVP awards could’ve been handed to a number of players. Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers (KIMA) standout Eugene McCrory scored a team-high 20 points, and Oladipo finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Even Ballou High School’s Donte Thomas, the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association Player of the Year, finished with a respectable 12 points and three assists.
“I had fun out here tonight” Thomas admitted. “It felt great to be in this game. This is a big thing for me. Playing with these players, they showed me a lot.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO