Hampton’s Ronald Curry was the first in 1998. Fellow Crabber Anthony Barber became the second Wednesday night.
Those are the only two players from the Peninsula who have played in the McDonald’s All-American game. But there is Art Jones, another Hampton grad, with the asterisk.
The first McDonald's All-America team was chosen in 1977. It was made up of 15 players, including such notables as Gene Banks, Albert King, Jeff Lamp, Al Wood, and a charismatic kid named Ervin Johnson.
Jones was not selected to that team. He was, however, a member of the D.C.-area All-Star team that went against the McDonald’s All-Americans in the Capital Classic in Landover, Md. Jones scored three points in a 112-92 loss.
“A lot of those people you read about in magazines, I wanted to prove I was as good as they were,” Jones said. “I was the only guy in the game from Virginia, and I wanted to prove we have good athletes, too.”
As for what moment he most remembers from that night, three guesses which player it involved.
“The ball was going out of bounds, and everyone chased after it,” Jones said. “Magic got it and flipped a behind-the-back pass to Gene Banks, who went down and dunked it. Magic wasn’t even looking, he just threw it behind his back.
“The crowd went crazy. That was the first glimpse into the Magic Johnson Show.”
The first McDonald’s All-American game wasn’t played until 1978, when 10 players from the East were matched against 10 players from the West. Jones was then a freshman at N.C. State, where Barber is also headed. Jones played four seasons with the Wolfpack -- three under Norm Sloan, one under Jim Valvano.
Jones, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 11.7 points a game and was named State’s MVP as senior. That was Valvano’s first season in Raleigh.
Two years later, the Cardiac Pack won the NCAA tournament.
Jones was selected in the the ninth round of the 1981 NBA Draft by the San Diego Clippers but didn’t make the team. He was an assistant coach at Hampton and Kecoughtan for a while.
Now 53, Jones went back to State and earned his degree in December.
"Jimmy V always talked school and how everybody doesn't make the NBA," Jones said. "It was something I needed to do, and it was always in my mind."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times