There have been few times in the past six months that Marlon Quillens hasn't thought about David Brown.
Friends through their association with Baltimore City Community College, where each played, Quillens and Brown became teammates at Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, N.C. Pfeiffer reached the NAIA national championship game this spring, but Brown wasn't on the bench to celebrate with Quillens.
Early one Saturday afternoon in January, Brown was gunned down while in a car at a traffic light on Russell Street.
Tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Baltimore City Community College,
Quillens and 18 other local basketball players will honor Brown at the inaugural David Brown Memorial All-Star Game. Tickets are available at the school for $5, and proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund at BCCC in Brown's name, as well as the BCCC basketball program.
Keith Booth (Maryland), Donta Bright (Massachusetts), Michael
Lloyd (Syracuse), Diego Jones (West Virginia) and Paul Banks (Texas-Arlington), the starting five for Dunbar's 1991-92 national championship team, will be playing.
Other local stars participating include Rodney Elliott (Maryland), Kwame Evans (George Washington), Kevin Norris (Miami), Shawnta Rogers (George Washington), Damon Cason (Towson State) and Kevin Simpson (Dixie Junior College in Utah).
The game, which is sanctioned by the NCAA, is the highlight of the school's Peace in the Street Festival -- an attempt to find ways to end the random violence that has claimed so many victims, including Brown.
"It's rough growing up in the city," said Quillens, who played at Southwestern from 1986 to 1988. "You never know what is going to happen at any moment. It could happen to anybody."
The death of Brown was a chilling example.
Brown and some friends were on their way to see Norris, the
starting point guard for Miami, play Georgetown at USAir Arena on Jan. 7. At the traffic light on Russell Street, a dark blue four-door sedan with North Carolina tags pulled up next to them.
Words were exchanged, then four to five shots were fired at the 1985 Chevrolet Spectrum in which Brown was a passenger. Brown, 23, died at the scene. No arrests have been made.
"All of us were robbed," said Deborah Hodges, Brown's aunt. "We just have to accept this loss, but it still hurts."
Pictures of Brown hang on the walls of his grandmother's house on Barclay Street, where he spent most of his time. Norris has a large picture of him in his dorm room at Miami. Evans wrote the words "I love D.B." on the back of his sneakers.
"David was a beautiful person who had a lot of charisma," said BCCC coach Roger Dickens. "Everyone he met or had contact with liked him."
And many were inspired by the way he had turned his life !B around.
Brown dropped out of Baltimore's Southern High after the ninth grade, then began selling drugs. One day four years ago, he suddenly decided he wanted to change his life and stop wasting away on street corners, his friends say. He worked to get his GED, then enrolled at Baltimore City Community College.
Brown, who never played high school basketball, became one of the best junior-college players in the state, averaging 24.2 points in 1993-94 and earning All-Maryland JUCO honors.
Although a hand injury limited him to action in five of Pfeiffer's JTC first nine games this past season, Brown, a 6-foot-3 junior shooting guard, was averaging 10 points and 3.8 rebounds.
"He was a very outgoing person and everybody on campus liked him," said Bob Lutz, Brown's former coach at Pfeiffer, who's now an assistant coach at North Carolina-Charlotte. "He was very talented, the type of talent you can't teach. He was going to be a tremendous player."
The players participating in tomorrow night's game respected and admired Brown. They want to spread the message of peace.
"This is real," said Norris, who knew Brown for seven years. "We need peace to keep tragedies like what happened to David from happening. Everybody needs to get along and love each other."
"All of us were very proud of David," said Hodges, his aunt. "Saturday will represent how much people cared about him. It just happened so suddenly. People haven't stop talking about it and won't for a long time."