Big Time: Ravens take title

LAS VEGAS -- The New York Ravens overcame the spectacular performance of Florida Hoopsters' Darius Washington Friday to win the 2002 adidas Big Time Tournament at Green Valley High School.

The well-balanced Ravens featured four players in double figures as they defeated the Hoopsters 71-69 to win their first Open Division title and second championship overall.

Open Division MVP Curtis Stinson led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Justin Marshall and Brian Laing both had 13 points and Tariq Atkins had 10 points.

"Togetherness was the difference," said Daon Merritt, who is considering DePaul, Florida, UConn, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State. "Stinson has been with us a long time and the new guys are playing well and adjusted well to us.

"We knew nobody would beat us."

The Ravens raced out to a 41-30 halftime lead and appeared poised to turn the game into a route just as they did in earlier games against Billy Shepherd Sports in the semifinals and in quarterfinal action against the Long Island Panthers.

But Washington had a different plan.

The junior from Orlando Edgewater High School, dominated the game with 21 of his 37 points coming in the second half. Washington finished the game going 12-for-20 from the field including 5-for-8 from 3-point range. He also chipped in 10 rebounds and was all over the court on defense.

Merritt, who had six points and six assists, was impressed.

"He's really good, shoots the ball well and he's just great," Merritt said. "He has the hunger. He wants to prove he's good."

Even though Sebastian Telfair and Charlie Villanueva receive the NYC hype, Merritt likes his own teammates.

"That's all hype with those guys," Merritt said. "The team that plays the hardest win. We've played 10 games (and went 10-0) in five days and we always play hard. And the coaches are great because they have to put up with us all summer."

Despite the loss, it's safe to assume that when people discuss who is the top player in the 2004 class, he's in the team picture if not the No. 1 choice.

Washington, who is considering Florida, Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona among others, also dominated the Michigan Hurricanes in similar fashion. The Hoopsters had to survive two missed free throws by Michigan's Dewayne Green with 1.7 seconds left.

Washington finished with 34 points on 8-for-11 shooting (4-for-5 on 3's), plus 14-for-16 from the free-throw line as the Hoopsters won 73-72.

2002 adidas Big Time All-Tournament Team

Lamarcus Aldridge (Texas Blue Chips I); Trevor Ariza (Pump N Run); Brandon Bass (New Orleans Jazz); Brandon Bell (Michigan Mustangs); Art Bowers (Tim Thomas Playaz Black); Ronnie Brewer (Mississippi Panthers); Jamar Butler (Team Ohio); Vincent Camper (New Orleans Jazz); Elliah Clark (Juice All-Stars); Drew Coffman (Midland Hawkeyes); Boubacar Coly (Atlanta Celtics); Jared Dudley (JR EBO/EA Sports); Olu Famutimi (Michigan Hurricanes); Nick Fazekas (Colorado X-Press Black); Dupree Fletcher (DTA Wisconsin Gold); Thomas Gardner (ICP); Taurean Green (Florida Hoopster); Lamont Hamilton (Long Island Panthers); Ivan Harris (Cleveland Bball 17s); Justin Hawkins (LA Rockfish); Jarad Haynes (Illinois Celtics); Josh Heytvelt (Seattle Rotary Select I); Ekene Ibekwe (H Squad/Belmont Shore); Brandon Jenkins (Michigan Hurricanes); Regis Koundjia (D.C. Assault I); James Lang (Alabama Ice); Shaun Livingston (Ft. Sooy-No Limit); Mark Lovein (Esperanza Aztecs); Ricky Lucas (Fairfax Stars); Dameon Mason (Illinois Fire); Richard McBride (Ft. Sooy-No Limit); Louis McCrosky (New York Ravens); Trey McDowell (SE Texas All-Stars); Andre McGee (Inland); Elvis Medina (So. Idaho Bball Club); Daon Merritt (New York Ravens); Tasmine Mitchell (New Orleans Jazz); DeMarcus Nelson (EBO/EA Sports); Travis Outlaw (Alabama Ice), Sean Phaler (Villa Park); Tim Pierce (Oakland Slam N Jam); Mitch Platt (Las Vegas Stars); Jajuan Robinson (Baltimore Bombers); Kenji Rockett (San Diego All-Stars); Kevin Rogers (IEBP Players); Adrian Schaffer (Tri County Cobras White); Warren Scott (Mississippi Panthers); Mustafa Shakur (Hunting Park Warriors); Josh Smith (Atlanta Celtics); Earl "JR" Smith (Tim Thomas Playaz Gold); Rodrick Stewart (Gary Payton Nike Select); Curtis Stinson (New York Ravens); Peyton Stovall (Billy Shepherd Sports); Sebastian Telfair (Juice All-Stars); Tyler James (Milwaukee Running Rebels); Robert Vaden (Spiece Top Prospects); Ayinde Ubaka (Oakland Slam N Jam); Charlie Villanueva (Long Island Panthers); Darius Washington (Florida Hoopsters); Matt Webster (Billy Shepherd Sports); Omar Wilkes (Pump N Run); Dwain Williams (JR EBO/EA Sports); James Williams (Dallas Slam I Red); Marvin Williams Jr. (Seattle Rotary Select I); Jermyl Wilson (DTA Wisconsin Gold).

To show how many quality players there were in the Big Time Tournament the following players were part of my all-tournament ballot but weren't selected: Brian Butch, Marcus Williams, David Pendergraft, Derek Raivio, John Winston, Lodrick Stewart, Dwight Howard II, Lorenzo Wade, Sean Banks, Will Sheridan, Warren Carter, Demetrius Nichols, Brett McDade, Ramel Bradley, Andres Sandoval, Dion Harris and Justin Petty.

Other high profile players not selected include Jackie Butler, Mike Williams, Glenn Miles, David Burgess, Rajon Rando, Daryl Watkins, Chris Taft, Terrance Roberts, Wesley Washington, Lawrence Carrier, Hassan Fofana, Omari Isreal, Ryan Appleby, LaKeith Blanks, Sammy Mejia, Adam Morrison, Tyrone Nelson, Ray Ray Reed, Harrison Schaen, Tron Smith, D.J. Strawberry, Lorenzo Thompson, Kyle Visser and Marquis Kately.

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