VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- When Aquille "The Crime Stopper" Carr bounced Mitch "White Thunder" McGary a lob off the backboard during warmups for the Boost Mobile Elite 24, Carr figured the result would be just the spark his Raymond Lewis squad needed to emerge victorious.
After all, McGary's violent dunk shattered the backboard into hundreds of tiny pieces and broke the rim, sending the players and capacity crowd into a state of pandemonium.
"After that I thought it was about to be on," said Carr, a junior point guard at Patterson (Baltimore, Md.). "That got me hyped so I just knew that I was about to do my thing and my team was gonna get the win."
Carr was right about one thing, he shined to the tune of 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Still, it wasn't enough to outlast the duo of Kyle "Slow Mo" Anderson and Justin "The Prime Objective" Anderson -- no relation -- who led a dominant second half surge to help the Marques Johnson team roll to a 142-132 win.
Kyle Anderson, a senior point forward at St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), finished with 18 points and eight assists, while Justin Anderson, a senior swingman for Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), added 23 points in the win. They were named co-MVPs for Marques Johnson.
Carr and Shabazz "The Real Deal" Muhammad, a senior small forward at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) who added 25 points and nine rebounds, were named co-MVPs for Raymond Lewis.
"This was by far the best way to end the summer for me," Justin Anderson said. "We really dug deep in the second half and made some stops and got our offense rolling."
The game was a tale of two halves: Raymond Lewis controlled the tempo in the first half, which helped them claim a 68-66 halftime lead. But in the second half, Marques Johnson indentified Carr and Muhammad as the two players they desperately needed to slow down.
The result was an 18-6 run to open the second half, which Raymond Lewis couldn't recover from.
"It was tough when they got things rolling," Carr said. "They just had their transition game going and we were a little out of sync out there. But honestly I'm not even mad about it. This is one of the best experiences I've ever been a part of. I'm grateful to have played at all."
Carr's sentiments were echoed by all 24 players, who raved on the bus ride back to their hotel after the game how fun it was to watch rap group Rej3ctz perform at halftime, how exciting it was it to earn nicknames from legendary streetball announcer Duke Tango and how cool it was that Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx came and hosted a portion of the game.
"This whole experience was just great," said Julius "The Jewels" Randle, a junior forward at Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), who added 10 points for Marques Johnson. "It was one of the most fun things I've ever done."
Added Rodney "Runnin' Rod" Purvis, a senior shooting guard at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) who scored 12 points with five rebounds for Raymond Lewis: "To have NBA guys here like John Wall, Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans was just special for us. I don't think anyone was complaining."
Not even McGary, who had to sit out of the game wearing bandages from what he called "minor cuts from the glass."
"They wanted me to go to the hospital and miss the game, but there was no way I was leaving," said McGary, a senior power forward at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.). "I had so much fun this week I told them I wasn't missing anything and I'd just go afterwards. We all had a ball here all week. It's the best."
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