PHILADELPHIA — The 10th annual McDonald's All American High School Basketball Game will be a homecoming of sorts at the Spectrum, where the first game was played in 1978.
Today's game will also be a homecoming for forward Brian Shorter, who left Philadelphia last fall to attend Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
"It's really special for me," said the 6-7 Shorter, who averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds per game this season to be named to the McDonald's All-American team. "I've been away for about a year and everyone wanted to see me play. Now I can play at the Spectrum and the game will be on TV. I feel very happy about that. This is my hometown."
Still, Shorter felt he had no choice but to get away from possible negative influences when he left Simon Gratz High School with 1,969 career points and an opportunity to break Wilt Chamberlain's Public League scoring record.
"It worked out the way I thought," he said. "I'm out there in the country and I can think a lot. In the city, there are a lot of distractions."
Shorter's only problem has been an inability to score 700 points on his college boards. If he fails to do so, he will have to sit out his first year at Pittsburgh, where he has accepted a scholarship.
The West holds a 5-4 lead in the series, although the East has won the last two games.
Shorter will be a member of the East team in Sunday's game, set for 2 p.m. and scheduled to be televised nationally by ABC.
The game will be played under college rules for the first time with two 20-minute halves, a 19-9 three-point line and a 45-second shot clock.
The East squad:
Perry Carter, a 6-8 forward who averaged 24 points and 19 rebounds per game for Pittsfield Maine Central Institute; John Crotty, a 6-1 guard who averaged 22 points for Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, N.J.; Greg Koubek, a 6-6 forward who averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds for Shenendehowa Central H.S. in Clifton Park, N.Y.; Mark Macon, a 6-4 guard who averaged 30 points and 13 rebounds for Buena Vista H.S. in Saginaw, Mich.; Eric Manuel, a 6-6 guard who averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds for Southwest H.S. in Macon, Ga.; and Rodney Monroe, a 6-3 guard who averaged 27 points for St. Maria Goretti H.S. in Hagerstown, Md.
King Rice, a 6-foot guard who averaged 21 points for Binghampton H.S. in Binghampton, N.Y.; Dennis Scott, a 6-6 forward who averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds for Flint Hill College Prep in Falls Church, Va.; Elmore Spencer, a 6-11 center who averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocked shot for Booker T. Washington H.S. in Atlanta; Anthony Tucker, a 6-8 forward who averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds for McKinley H.S. in Washington D.C., and Bobby Martin, a 6-9 forward who averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds for Atlantic City, N.J., H.S.
Martin is also looking forward to playing before a home crowd.
"You get a chance to show what you can do against the best," he said. "It's a real motivational factor. Playing with the best against the best, you want to do your best."
Members of the West squad:
Chris Corchiani, a 6-foot guard who averaged 24 points and 10 assists for Hialeah-Miami Lakes H.S. in Hialeah, Fla.; Jay Edwards, a 6-4 guard who averaged 20 points for Marion H.S. in Marion, Ind.; Jerome Haromon, a 6-4 guard who averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds for Lew Wallace H.S. in Gary, Ind.; Bill Heppner, a 6-9 center who averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds for Crystal Lake Central H.S. in Crystal Lake, Ill.; Sean Higgins, a 6-8 forward who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds for Fairfax H.S. in L.A.; Larry Johnson, a 6-7 forward who averaged 29 points and 19 rebounds for Skyline H.S. in Dallas; Treg Lee, a 6-9 forward who averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds for St. Joseph H.S. in Cleveland.
Marcus Liberty, a 6-8 forward who averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds for Martin Luther King H.S. in Chicago and is considered the best high school player in the country; Mike Maddox, a 6-8 forward who averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds for Putnum City North H.S. in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Elliott Perry, a 6-foot guard who averaged 34 points for Treadwell H.S. in Memphis, Tenn.; David White, a 6-6 forward who averaged 19 points and 17 rebounds for Boca Ciega H.S. in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Brian Williams a 6-10 center who averaged 17 points and 13 rebounds for St. Monica Catholic H.S. in Santa Monica, Calif.; and LaBradford Smith, a 6-4 guard who averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds for Bay City H.S. in Bay City, Texas.
"It's a great feeling," Smith said. "I know every high school player sets this goal--to play in the McDonald's All American game. It's something to look forward to and to strive for."