Big Time: Thursday News & Notes

LAS VEGAS -- It was win or go home Thursday at the adidas Big Time Tournament. <br><br> North Carolina commitment Marvin Williams and recruiting targets J.R. Smith, Shaun Livingston and Josh McRoberts all advanced in the tournament, but rising junior target Martell Webster [pictured] did not.

Webster, a 6-foot-6 swingman, hit three 3-pointers en route to nine points in a 79-70 loss to the Baltimore Bombers in the Open Division. UNC coach Roy Williams was watching.

"When I'm playing out there, I don't really pay attention to the college coaches," Webster said. "I just see them as fans in the bleachers. I don't look up to them during the game. Basketball comes first."

Webster played with his friends and peers on Seattle's Friends of the Hoop, a junior-dominated team, foregoing chances to play with the high-powered Rotary Select I team, which features Marvin Williams. Loyalty is part of what makes Webster an elite player as the Seattle Prep High School star hasn't had the smoothest childhood.

Webster was born in Chicago and moved to Seattle when he was 1 1/2 years old. When his mother passed away, Webster moved in with his grandmother, Bulah Walker. His teammates are like a second family.

"I have two best friends who are like my brothers," Webster said. "I stay with (FOH teammate) Huston Conti's family during the school year and Mitch Johnson. I love them. Mitch and I will sometimes work out on the weekend. It's been like that ever since (I moved in with my grandmother).

"All my friends on my basketball team are like family," Webster said. "There is a lot of chemistry on the team."

Webster and Conti went on vacation to North Carolina to visit some of Conti's relatives. While on the trip, Webster visited UNC and met ex-coach Matt Doherty.

"I'm not worried about how fast the recruiting process is going because I have a couple of more years," Webster said. "If schools send me any letters, I'll take them. I'm not going to tell them not to send them. "I've been to all three of those colleges (UNC, Arizona, Missouri), and have seen their campuses."

Washington, UCLA, Oklahoma and Maryland round out Webster's list. Helping the Tar Heels' cause is Webster's friendship with UNC recruit Marvin Williams.

"People think he and I are like brothers," Webster said. "We are really close. When we are down in Seattle, we shoot together sometimes, and we play each other sometimes. We beat his team last time, so we have bragging rights.

"He's going to North Carolina and they are one of my top choices. There is a chance I might join him."

Williams would love to have Webster as a college teammate.

"He has everything," Williams said. "He's nice and has the heart of a lion. I've known him for a couple of years now. But he has to do what is best for him."

After recently wrapping up the recruiting process, Williams knows what Webster is about to go through.

"He has to stay tough and focused," Williams said. "It gets tiring with all the phone calls and letters. People keep calling from the Internet all the time. I'd be trying to play Nintendo and they kept calling."

Academics will play a key part in Webster's decision.

"School comes before basketball," said Webster, who will wrap up his summer at the Pumps Best of Summer tourney in Los Angeles. "It's the first the way to make it because basketball is second. (Basketball) is just a bonus. My favorite class is biology, but I want to major in business and have it stay related to sports."

Rotary Select I rolls: Marvin Williams was dominant Thursday in Rotary's 85-56 pasting of Granite State Raiders, a New Hampshire team.

Williams was aggressive going to the basket, whether off the dribble or hitting the boards as he finished with 17 points (7 FGs, 3 of 6 at the FT line). He's not the total package on offense just yet, but he's getting closer and closer. He'll be scary good when he does put everything together.

Paulus in attendance: New York rising junior Greg Paulus arrived in Las Vegas according to some who watched Syracuse/Rochester RAP lose to Daniel Gibson and the Houston Hoops, 86-73. But the star point guard didn't play as he injured his ankle at the Nike Camp.

And while it is true that Gibson likes Coach Williams, anyone who knows his parents, also know he'll be a Longhorn in the fall, say sources close to the situation.

Oakland guard mentions UNC: Oakland Rebels combo-guard Quentin Thomas has included the Tar Heels on his long list of colleges. A great shooter, Thomas' team exited the tourney after losing to in-state rival Pump N Run and UCLA star recruit, point guard Jordan Farmar.

Noah and Davis like UNC: Both Joakin Noah (2004 class) and Theo Davis (2005 class) said North Carolina has contacted them recently. Noah, who is a 6-10 power forward for the Long Island Panthers, and Davis, a 6-8 power forward for the Ontario Cyclones, both excelled at the adidas ABCD camp. Updates on both players' recruiting situation will come Saturday.

The Smith watch: After watching Marvin Williams in the 7:40 p.m. game (PT), and Webster in his 9 p.m. game, Coach Williams finished off his evening by watching J.R. Smith and the Tim Thomas Playaz Gold defeat Houston Lynx Blue in the 10:20 p.m. game.

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