The Fabulous Fifty- Metro DC’s All-Time Best Schoolboy Basketball Players

In no particular order:

“One-Arm” Gary Mays, ARMSTRONG, Ernie Cage, DeMATHA, Jack George, ST. JOHN’S, Grant Hill, SOUTH LAKES, Elgin Baylor, PHELPS/SPINGARN, Wilbur “Ducey” Smith, FAIRMONT HEIGHTS, George Leftwich, ARCHBISHOP CARROLL, John “Sleepy” Austin, DeMATHA, Jim McBride, DeMATHA/DUNBAR, Bobby Lewis, ST. JOHN’S, Julius “Pete” Johnson, FAIRMONT HEIGHTS, Bill Butler, MACKIN, Harold Fox, NORTHWESTERN, Donald Washington, ST. ANTHONY’S, Matthew Gantt, DOUGLASS, Anthony “Jo Jo” Hunter, MACKIN, Collis Jones, ST. JOHN’S, Austin Carr, MACKIN, Aubrey Nash, DeMATHA, Ollie Johnson, SPINGARN, Danny Ferry, DeMATHA, Tom Little, MACKIN, Stan “Snookie” Kernan, McKINLEY TECH, Fred Hetzel, LANDON, Billy Bryant, ARCHBISHOP CARROLL, Earl Jones, SPINGARN, Gary Browne, WALT WHITMAN, Ed Hummer, WASHINGTON-LEE, Larry Featherstone, BELL, Jerry McDaniels, FAIRMONT HEIGHTS, James “Turk” Tillman, EASTERN, Billy Gaskins, CARDOZO, Herb Estes, T.C. WILLIAMS, Stacy Robinson, CROSSLAND/DUNBAR, Reggie Greene, EASTERN, James Brown, DeMATHA, David Bing, SPINGARN, Garcia Hopkins, DUVAL, Tom Hoover, ARCHBISHOP CARROLL, Walt Williams, CROSSLAND, Penny Greene, PARKDALE, Wil Jones, DUNBAR, Willie Allen, RICHARD MONTGOMERY, Phil “Bo” Scott, CARDOZO, Lamar McCoy, WESTERN, Tom Sluby, GONZAGA, Herb Gray, Sr., PHELPS, Jim O’Brien, JEB STUART, Ed Epps, CARDOZO, Harry Nickens, SPINGARN

Like Glenn Harris, I’m adding an extra quintet-

Randolph “Apple” Milan, McKINLEY TECH, Lew Luce, WOODROW WILSON, Bernard Williams, DeMATHA, Floyd Lewis, WESTERN, Ronnie Hogue, McKINLEY TECH

(even at this number, this is by no means comprehensive or representative of the rich talent pool here- so we’re gonna follow Glenn Harris’ lead and drop a c-note on you by mid-March- we haven’t forgotten anyone)

BCB

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53 responses to “The Fabulous Fifty- Metro DC’s All-Time Best Schoolboy Basketball Players

  1. My father is Stan Kernan mentioned in this article and I was not aware what a great a basketball player he was. He is a great father and a loving husband to my mother. He never talks about his achievments in basketball but never misses a College basketball game or one of his childrens or grandchildrens games. Thank you for this artice.
    Kyle Kernan

    • Kyle, he was an excellent shooter. He coached me at Parkdale, but I was a tad rebellious at the time. He won state while my rebellious butt was in the bleachers. How is your dad, BTW? Tell him that David Moore asked about him. What did he do with his awards that he garnered, or did he downplay the significance to you?

  2. Thanks for visiting Kyle. Your father was one of the best player’s the city ever produced, as well as a heck of a football player, a basketball All-American at McNeese State, and a teenager whose summer leage team won a title in a league with older players such as Dick Groat and Cliff Hagan.

    BCB

    • I had the fortune of being coached by two of the top 50, as I had Herb Gray, Sr as a junior high coach. Still keeps up with his former players, as I was surprised to see him show up to my father’s funeral. He told me that he’s retired and whenever something happens to one of his “boys”, he shows up as a sign of support. As great a man as he was a coach.

      • Sounds like a good guy. We interviewed him (and his son) for our documentary. The irony is, we did it on Father’s Day.
        BCB

  3. My father is Frank Fuqua… and when I sent him what Stan Kernan said about him and that Paul Arizin said he was one of the best big men
    he ever faced. … well it made him smile! He too is a great husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Basketball is in his blood and his passion has been shared with all throughout the years.

    • Thanks Renee.

      BCB

    • Richard M. Skinner

      Renee, my comment will be of little interest to you I’m sure. Mainly because about the closest I got to a basketball court was that of an avid fan of your dad while he played at Maryland. In addition to being captivated by his athleticism and abilities on the court I was equally impressed with him as person of genuine kindness and being a true gentleman. I’m sure Frank wouldn’t even begin to remember me as my closest personal contact with him was a couple classes with him while at Maryland and living near him in the Veteran Family Units on Campus. He made such a positive impression on me for his character and as a player, After all of these years I’ve never forgotten him and never will.

  4. No — THANK YOU! It is so awesome to be able to do web searches on your dad and find information you didn’t know previously. My dad played basektball for DeMatha and then played basketball for the Marine Corps and University of Maryland. He won the ACC championship in 55. They use to have his full size 6’7″ poster hanging in Cole Field House — even though he never played there. He was assistant basketball coach at DeMatha under Morgan Wootten for years. In the 60s he received a Presidential request to travel in Europe giving basketball clinics. In 73-74 he was assistant coach under John Thompson at Georgetown. For the past 50 years he has worked at Dean Smith’s basketball camps in Chapel Hill. After teaching the kids (Michael Jordan was one), he always worked with the big guys. He use to also be flown to Kansas to work with their big guys every year until Dean Smith retired and Roy Williams left Kansas for Chapel Hill. I think this year is the last year my dad will make the trip to Chapel Hill. He made one last trip for one of his grandsons – Robert Fuqua – this past summer. He looked at this 3 great grandsons (3, 4 and 5) and said he didn’t think he could hold out for them. I would love to hear more stories about other’s my dad played with thru the years. Perhaps they will stumble upon this site and share. Thanks again!

  5. We are always happy to see people connect with their relatives’ achievements via this site.

    Best

    BCB

  6. Frank Fuqua coached at Gonzaga High School for a few years. In fact he was very kind to me as a transfer in Junior year…he cushioned the blow of being cut from the squad without making much of the tremendous difference in our heights, he at 6’7″ or so and I a foot shorter and equally challenged in basketball talent.

    However, I went on to be a basketball coach at the high school and college level and was honored to be the head coach at D.C.’s Mackin Catholic for its last 3 years of existence.

    Please add to your list: Johnny Dawkins, MACKIN; Michael Smith, MACKIN/DUNBAR; Mark Nickens, MACKIN; Mark Tilmon, GONZAGA

  7. Thanks for this!

    I think it would be improved by adding the years played (or, graduated). Also, who went on to star as an all-American and/or as a pro?

    • Thanks Curt. As for the college or pro part, my list is solely based on what the players did as preps, so I left career details out so as not to give the impression I took their later careers into account.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      BCB

  8. I can see that this post was written a while back, but after doing a Google search for Ed Epps, I came upon your post.

    I was very sad to find out about his recent passing last week; I was a teacher at King school where he coached and taught physical education & health. I am not from DC, so I had no idea of his incredible past. I just knew he loved our kids and was always one of the teachers I could go to when I needed help–especially with one of my boy students. Everyone had the utmost respect for Coach Epps.

    I was hoping you could, like you did for some of the other responders, inform me as to some of his accomplishments playing here in the city. I have read today that he was a star at Utah State…

    I only wish I could have had the conversations with him myself…I am a basketball fan, and am truly fascinated by this revelation (for me, at least) because he was never stuck on himself–never trying to relive the “glory days” so much so that he wasn’t making a difference in there here and now. Because of this humility–I literally had no idea he had such an accomplished background.

    I will forever be inspired by the dedication he placed into helping and supporting young people.

    • I noticed on our dashboard that people had “Googled” Ed Epps’ name to get here, but had no idea he died. I interviewed his college coach, Dale Brown, about eight years ago.

      BCB

  9. He passed just this week (funeral results are still pending). Do you have info about his days at Cardozo?

    • Ed Epps was a ferocious big man for Cardozo High in the late ’60’s, who was named All-Met in 1967. His teams played in city championships under Coach Harold Deane. He used to have classic duels under the boards w/ his contemporaries, Lamar McCoy of Western, and Larry Featherstone of Bell Vocational. From high school, he started for Dale Brown at Utah State (the man who went on to coach Shaq).

      It’s nice to hear of his life away from the court.

      BCB

  10. I worked with Frank Fuqua at Roy Williams’ Basketball Camps at Kansas. I was 19-21 or so and somehow we had a good connection. During the afternoons we would sit and talk about basketball, career advice, stories from his coaching days, and about life in general. A kind a gentle soul who I owe a lot of the success I have had as a coach to him. He gave me the courage at a young age to follow my convictions and showed by example that coaching isn’t about you, its about the players and the way you handle them. A world class man who I am sad to say I have lost touch with over the years of moving around the country. I trust and hope he is well and if anyone can forward an email my direction I would appreciate it, though it will take me weeks to write him and be able to thank him properly for what I learned during our summers at camp. Finding this posting was a welcome surprise… thanks!

  11. Glad to see the great Snookie Kernan, from McKinley Tech mentioned. I was very fortunate to play for him at Parkdale (69,70) . I’ll never forget the day he brought the Fabulous Five to practice for us to work our press against them. Those guys were so good and it was 20 years after they played high school ball. I thought so much of Coach Kernan that I became a High School Coach (both Boys and Girls, just like him).

  12. Snookie Kernan was such a great basket ball player, that people forget he was an outstanding all around athlete. After he had graduated from Tech, we put together a sort of rag tag football team at Turkey Thicket playground in Brookland. Snookie was our tailback. I was the single wing quarterback (ie a guard who lined up in the backfield). We were playing a well organized team from somewhere in Maryland. On our first play from scrimmage I called a sweep right with Snookie carrying. I was supposed to block the end. I don’t know if I did, but Snookie faked the line backer out of his shoes, cut up field, and turned on his jets. 65 yards later he made the TD. On the first play of our second possession, I called the same play only this time he only went 60 yards for the TD. This led some of our team to say “Damn it Snookie, leave some thing else for us to do!” So Snookie went in as a defensive back, two plays later he intercepted a pass and went 40. He was a gifted athlete and in his last year at Tech, he was awarded the trophy as the most outstanding high school athlete in the DC area. I almost forgot he ran track in the spring time. He will always be remembered not only for his talent but also for his kind and humble personality.

    JC

  13. I know this post is old but I was wondering what Coach Fuqua was up to these days and decided to look him up. He was a coach of mine at Dean Smith’s camp back in the day. Great coach. I even roomed with his grandson one year at camp. I can’t remember his name….James maybe? I might be completely off but that is the name coming to mind. This was back in ’92, ’93, or ’94

    • There was a Frank Fuqua, the father. I don’t know him, but the son has posted here.

      BCB

    • Shaun Gilligan/Fuqua

      Hi Jesse, Shaun here I remember that year, the berlin wall fell and I remember watching it with you! I know that this is an old post but hope you get this my grandfather is doing fine for his age just turned 80 this past October.

  14. I believe Snooky Kiernan coached me in Pee Wee baseball at Hearst playground in 1964 or so and we won the championship. By he way, what ever happened to Donald Washington, the foster son of John Thompson. I know he went to North Carolina and played freshman ball, and had some personal problems, but I never heard anything about him since, even from Coach Thompson.

  15. Pete Strickland

    List is great to read but not very comprehensive: NO Adrian Dantley? No Bill Langloh? No Charles ‘Hawkeye’ Whitney? No Kenny Carr? No Eddie Peterson? No Craig Shelton? No ‘BeBe’ Duran? No Paul Coder? No Perry Carter? No Herron Brothers? No Sherman Douglas? No David Reavis?

  16. Some of these lads were class, really something for youths to watch.

    Basketball Equipment

  17. I do not know how Adrian Dantley did not make this list of the Top 50 Greatest All Time Metro D.C. HS Players. I regard this as an oversite. Please check the stats for All Metropolitan HS Basketball Players and you just may have to do a retraction. They are all great and I’ve seen and played with or against many of them….BUT, if A.D. ain’t on THIS list then somebody’s gettin’ bamboozled.

  18. Read a lot of entries on this blog bur never saw a mention of these outstanding scholastic players: Andrew White (Western), “Leapin Louie” West (Eastern), Andy Agnew (Coolidge, Roosevelt??- not sure), Phil Lucas (Cardozo), “Skeeter” Swift (Va. HS??-not sure), “Rip” Scott (Cardozo), Mark “Beanie” Christian (Northwestern) and Frank Jones – Will’s brother(Armstrong??-not sure). Not only were these guys impact players for their respective teams but each could carry a game on their shoulders….night after night.

  19. curtis campbell

    I am going to stop going to this site. I cant believe that anyone could have a list of the best basketball players in the history of the Washington DC area and NOT say the names of CHARLES AND RANDOLPH CAMPBELL of Ballou High School . UNREAL

    • Please don’t abandon us, I think your brothers were great, and my list was a matter of opinion, as was Glenn Harris’. That’s why we opened the poll up for visitors.

      BCB

  20. curtis campbell

    Do you have any ideal how many sports writers careers were started do to the play of Charles and Randolph Campbell in the early 70s. I think there omission by glen and you are due to thing else. But they both rest in peace knowing that they were two of the best EVER. My last comment

  21. No Garland Williams (Mackin) or Sid Catlett (Dematha)?

    • Good points. Williams played on the one Mackin team that defeated DeMatha for a championship. He was also a good player at Ballou.
      BCB

  22. Greg "Mac" McPhail

    New most of the players in the mid 70’s and can attest to their basketball abilties. Stacey Robinson was a very, very, good player and an even better person. We have been friends for 30 years and I have never heard him utter a bad word towards anyone.

  23. there was also a very good team from the interhigh western high school ( 28-4, 3 losses in overtime , one double) in 1973 that lost to dematha for the renewal of the interhigh/catholic championship game, since the brawl in 1963 (st johns vs eastern, football, dc stadium) lead by larry wright, john smith, chester baxter and stan mayhew.

  24. DONNIE TRAVIS — Roosevelt and Bell (1959 to 1962)
    And then there’s Dick Bush of Cardoza, Harry Burchette of Coolidge, Lawrence “Catfish” Bradford of Bell and later Western. Come guys, you’re
    forgetting a lot of great ballers — too many to mention right now.

  25. Curt Smith, Coolidge
    Donald Hodge, Coolidge
    Anthony Tucker, Tech
    Donald Ford, Dunbar

  26. I am certain your intentions were well placed however, it’s difficult to rationalize how you could not have included one of DC’s legends of all time…..”Big Sid” Catlett.

    Rather than I speak to his accomplishments and legendary status, I’ll let Morgan Wootten through the following two articles speak for the stature and status of Sid Catlett II:

    http://www.washington.cbslocal.com/2013/10/03/morgan-wootten-recalls-the greatest-high-school-basketball-game-ever/

    http://www.thesportsfannetwork.com/forums/thread/11253-great-story-on-dematha-legend-sid-catlett/

    In five months (Jan. 30, 2015), the 50th Anniversay of the “Greatest High School Basketball Game of All Time” in D.C. history will be celebrated and “Big Sid” Catlett should be remembered for his participation in that game that helped put D.C. basketball on the National map for all time!

    Remember, that team will forever hold a place in the National Basketball Hall-of-Fame for all time. With all due respect to all the great ones that you chose to mentioned, how many of them can make that claim?

    I should also add that, although that game was a “team victory” for DeMatha, Big Sid as a 10th grader (Jabbar was a senior), led DeMatha in scoring and went on to be selected All Met and All American for the next two years!

    For that alone, he should never be omitted from anyone’s list of the greatesst prep basketball players in D.C. history!

    P.S. Big Sid as well will tell you that he owes much of his development to Frank Fuqua while attending DeMatha.

    • I agree that Big Sid was the bulwark of the team that beat Power Memorial. He was a HSAA. If Garland Williams doesn’t transfer from Ballou to Mackin, Mackin wouldn’t have had the size to dethrone the Stags in ’67. Catlett was from Edgewood, in McKinley Tech’s zone. Imagine him on the strong Tech teams of the late 1960’s!

      BCB

  27. Pardon the oversight, the game referenced fifty years ago this coming January was between DeMatha and Power Memorial featuring the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar and for those who may be unfamiliar, DeMatha snapped Power’s 71 game winning streak!

  28. I attended Terrell Junior High when Bernie Williams and Jim McBride were there. I stayed in contact with Bernie over the years and know that he passed away. I know nothing about Jim after he left Dunbar. Do you have any stats on him from college. I heard that he averaged over 40 at some junior college in California in the mid 1960s.

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