Inaugural I-95 Challenge has star power

The two cities that make up one of the nation's top hoops hotbeds will face each other Saturday in the inaugural I-95 Elite Challenge at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.

Event organizer Dwayne Wise selected about 80 of the cities' top players from the class of 2009 through 2012. Though some had obligations to various elite camps, the event has plenty of star power.

Headlining D.C.'s 2009 roster are Kansas State commits Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder. D.C. Blue Devils teammates and rising prospects Mouphtaou Yarou and Stuart Clarke will also represent the District.

The 2009 Baltimore squad is led by Isaiah Armwood, Naji Hibbert and Isaiah Philmore.

The 2010 D.C. team has the toughest challenge of the day. Roscoe Smith, Josh Selby, Jordan Latham, and St. Frances' Wayne Sparrow and Dante Holmes make for a star-studded 2010 Baltimore squad. Highly touted point guards Markel Starks and Daryl Traynham lead D.C.

D.C. Assault teammates Chris Martin and Jordan Goodman represent D.C.'s 2011 team.

The 2012 game will give spectators a look at the next crop of high school stars.

Wise, whose cousin is St. Frances assistant Mark Karcher, is an area hoops guru with connections in both cities. "I felt like I could be the one guy to bring everybody together because I'm a neutral person," he said.

He hopes to make the event annual, but may need a bigger venue. The 1,100-seat St. Frances gym is nearly sold out.

Proceeds from the event will go to the T.I.M.E Organization, a Baltimore non-profit aimed to get kids off the streets and in school.

"I just wanted to bring some life to the city because the city's always been known for things like violence," Wise said. "It's going to be a great event for these kids and this town."

What: Inaugural I-95 Elite Challenge, four games, classes 2009-2012
When: Saturday, starting with the 2012 game at 3:30 p.m.
Where: St. Frances Academy, Baltimore
Tickets: Limited; $10 at the door

Tentative rosters:

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