Classic exclusion doesn't faze Lakers' Rogers


The fact that Baltimore won't have a representative for this year's Capital Classic on April 13 at Cole Field House should come as a surprise since the last time that happened was 1990.

But what probably was more surprising was the response of the person who would have been Baltimore's representative -- Lake Clifton guard Shawnta Rogers.

"I'm not disappointed," said Rogers, who averaged 24.2 points, 9.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds, and was The Baltimore Sun's Boys Player of the Year this past season. "I wasn't really worried about playing."

Rogers, who led Lake Clifton (23-1) to the area's No. 1 ranking and No. 11 spot in the USA Today Super 25, has been more concerned with the Scholastic Assessment Test, which he will be taking for the third time on Saturday.

His last score was 690, 10 points shy of the minimum required for freshman eligibility. A host of schools, including California, Clemson, Dayton, George Washington, Maryland, Nebraska and Xavier, are recruiting Rogers, who was named an All-American by College Sports magazine and a honorable preseason All-American by Street & Smith's.

Dayton has been the only school that will give Rogers a scholarship if he doesn't meet the SAT requirements, said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore, who is miffed by Rogers' exclusion from the Capital Classic.

"It's absurd, abusive and ludicrous," he said. "I don't understand how you can't have the Baltimore-area player of the year not playing over guys who haven't accomplished nearly what Shawnta has."

Said Al DeStefano, coach of the Capital All-Stars: "I think Rogers is a super player, but it was a situation that there were certain kids already chosen, and there were only a couple of slots open. I went around D.C., Virginia and watched the state championships at Maryland. I think it was a very good year for local talent, but it's a numbers game when you have only 12 spots."

DeStefano, who's the head coach at John F. Kennedy High in Montgomery County added that Rogers, Guy Butler of Lake Clifton and Dunbar's Marvis Thornton, who helped the Poets to the state 2A championship and the No. 25 ranking nationally by USA Today, were considered.

Last season, Baltimore had three representatives -- Rodney Elliott (Maryland/Dunbar High), Steve Wojciechowski (Duke/Cardinal Gibbons) and Kevin Simpson (Dixie Junior College-Utah/Southern-Balto.).

"It's understandable that Baltimore feels like it's being snubbed, but, for example, for the last two years we haven't had a representative for Montgomery County," said Bob Geoghan, founder and executive director of the Capital Classic.

"Last year, we had three players from Baltimore, and everyone down here was saying 'How could you have three players from Baltimore?' It's nothing sinister, it was just the way the chips fell this year."

This year's game will feature five McDonald's All-Americans, including Ron Mercer of Oak Hill Academy, the country's No. 1 player. Mercer, who's being recruited by Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, played at the Charm City Classic at Loyola College in January.

Louis Bullock of Laurel Baptist, Maryland's No. 1 player, will lead the Capital All-Stars. Bullock, the state's Player of the Year by Gatorade, signed with Michigan.

Maryland, which lost in the NCAA tournament regional semifinals for the second straight season, will have its two signees on display in Laron Profit, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Cesar Rodney in Camden, Del., and 6-9 center Obinna Ekezie of Worchester (Mass.) Academy.

Two other players the Terps are recruiting -- Terrell Stokes of Simon Gratz in Philadelphia and Antric Klaiber from Episcopal in Alexandria, Va., will play.

Stokes, a 6-foot point guard, started as a sophomore two seasons ago when Simon Gratz won the national championship with North Carolina standout Rasheed Wallace.

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