Big Time: Friday News & Notes

LAS VEGAS -- The North Carolina basketball coaching staff will have a busy day Saturday during the adidas Big Time Tournament. [Pictured: J.R. Smith]

Among the team's that qualified for the final day tournament include Marvin Williams' Rotary Select I, Shaun Livingston's Fort Sooy-No Limit vs. J.R. Smith's Playaz Gold.

In the first game today, the Atlanta Celtics play Connecticut Select Red at 9 a.m. (PT), followed by Ft. Sooy-No Limit vs. Rotary Select I, Pump N Run All-Stars vs. Houston West All-Stars and Playaz Gold vs. Michigan Mustangs I.

Livingston cruised into the final day with two blowouts but Williams and Smith went through nerve-wracking games to advance.

Rotary Select I defeated Houston Select I in its first game, 65-55, with Williams leading a well-balanced attack with 14 points (five FGs, 4 of 6 on FTs). Ten of his points came in the second half.

In Williams' second game, he scored nine points and fouled out as Rotary Select I edged the New Orleans Jazz 85-78 in overtime. Teammates Rodney Stuckey (20 points), Chester Giles (17 points) and Lyndale Burleson (16 points) supported Williams.

Smith survived a monster effort by LaMarcus Aldridge as the Playaz Gold defeated Team Texas Elite, 85-80 in overtime. In the Playaz second game, Smith came up large down the stretch with two key baskets to lead his team to a come-from-behind 74-73 victory over SE Pump N Run. Smith finished with 29 points on five 2-pointer's, six 3-pointers and 1 of 2 from the line in front of UNC assistant coaches Joe Holladay and Steve Robinson. Recent Richmond commitment Courtney Nelson hit the game-winner with 4.5 seconds left for the Playaz.

Despite an impressive week, Smith hasn't received a UNC scholarship, but sources indicate that it could be coming soon. The decision is up to UNC coach Roy Williams and whether he thinks he will qualify academically and if he fits into the "Carolina system." As some long-time Williams followers have pointed out, flashy wasn't an adjective of any Kansas players.

Livingston played in front of coach Williams and assistants Robinson and Holladay against the Houston Hoops and Daniel Gibson. Ft. Sooy-No Limit crushed the Hoops 89-68 with Livingston's teammate Justin Cerasoli stealing the show. Cerasoli was unstoppable off of penetration and on the fast break and scored 35 points. Livingston scored 18 points, while Gibson struggled and looked tired.

Ft. Sooy's second game against the Michigan Hurricanes had the same script. Livingston adeptly slided into a supporting role (14 points) as Cerasoli pumped in 25 points to lead Ft. Sooy to a 92-73 victory. Livingston went 4 for 10 from the field, 5 for 8 at the line with three assists and three turnovers. Roy Bright led the Hurricanes with 24 points.

Friday was also the good-bye for rising junior Josh McRoberts.

McRoberts' Indiana Red team won its first game, a 56-53 victory over in-state rival Spiece Blue Demons. McRoberts scored a game-high 22 points thanks to four FGs and going 14 of 16 from the free-throw line. McRoberts stepped up when sensational sophomore teammate Greg Oden went down with an injury.

Oden (19 points) returned for the second game but Indiana Red lost to Connecticut Select 82-77. McRoberts scored 15 points (five FGs and 5 of 7 from the line) in the loss.

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