Smith, Williams shine at Roundball Classic

CHICAGO -- North Carolina signees Marvin Williams and J.R. Smith both put on a show Wednesday night in the 2004 EA Sports Roundball Classic at the United Center.

Smith went 7-of-12 from the field, including two 3-pointers, to finish with 16 points to capture the East MVP award. However, the East squad lost to Williams and the West team 124-110 in front of 15,421 fans.

"It was a great honor to get the MVP award and to play in the gym that Michael Jordan played in," Smith said. "This week was a great experience, and to play with these great players was the best. I wished I could play with them all of the time."

Williams was equally as strong, finishing with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including spectacular dunks over Josh Smith and Dwight Howard.

"(Those dunks) fired me up," Williams said. "It happens sometimes, that I dunk on people."

Smith had a few highlight reel dunks of his own, including a 360 dunk, tip dunk and a cradle dunk. Smith also drew plenty of cheers on a nice finish on a Josh Wright (Syracuse signee) lob pass.

Of course, Smith remembered the one that got away during the first quarter.

"My eyes got real big and I was running after the ball, and I dropped it," Smith said. "But I did get the 360."

Williams' teammates, Shaun Livingston (12 points, 7 assists) and A.J. Price (8 points, game-record 15 assists), shared West MVP honors.

"It is all about winning," Williams said. "No one came out selfish. We all played together and we won."

Naturally, with how strong Williams performed in front of so many NBA personnel, the obvious question came up after the game from several reporters. Will he enter the NBA draft?

"I don't think so as far as right now," Williams said. "I'm not sure what people (scouts) are saying about me. My mindset right now is about college and school. I just want to have fun."

Smith and Williams didn't guard each other and rarely crossed paths except for a few occassions. Helping out on defense, Williams managed to block Smith's shot once.

Smith was normally matched up with UCLA signee Aaron Afflalo (six points), while Williams went against Indiana signee Josh Smith (15 points) in a rematch of their classic adidas Big Time matchup in Las Vegas last July.

"They have their sneaky ways of matching me up with Josh," Williams said. "It is always a blessing to play against someone like him. He's going to play in the NBA some day, so for me to play against that, it is really good."

Since they weren't guarding each other, they could watch at times how each one was playing.

"He was real nice to watch," Williams said. "He's fun to watch. Sometimes while I was on the court, I just kept watching him."

"He's a great player," Smith said. "I can't wait to play with him at North Carolina next year. Hopefully, we can win a national championship."

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