BALTIMORE – Aquille Carr is used to being the hunted, as the electrifying sophomore guard from Patterson High School has made quite a name for himself during his two-year varsity career.
“Yeah, I know I’ve got a big target on me every time I step on the court,” Carr said. So, basically, I just look forward to when they’re coming.”
Carr rose to the challenge again on Saturday, pouring in an event-high 26 points to lead the Baltimore All-Stars to an 84-70 win over the National All-Stars in the Under Armour I-95 Elite Challenge at St. Frances Academy.
A two-time Baltimore Sun Player of the Year, Carr averaged 32 points per game while leading Patterson to a state runner-up finish this past season. He started slowly Saturday as National guard Josh Newkirk from Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C. put on a show early. Newkirk scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the first half, as he opened with a 3-pointer and threw down three impressive dunks.
Newkirk – who already has scholarship offers from Arizona and Indiana and interest from a Who’s Who of college heavyweights including North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgetown – and Carr traded buckets during one stretch in the second half, and engaged in a little jawing.
“Yeah, the Internet, the YouTube videos, I’ve seen all that,” Newkirk said of Carr. “It was fun. That’s what basketball’s about, and it was a fun battle.”
In the end, though, Carr was simply too much. Using the same lightning-quick moves that he used to take Patterson to the Maryland 4A finals, as he drove and hung in the air for a series of lay-ups and knocked down jumpers when National defenders played off.
“In the first half [Newkirk] was trying to do a lot,” Carr said, “but I had to shut it down in the second half and let him know. … It was a good experience. There was a lot of people out here that I know can play, so they’re coming to play and make a name for their self.”
Overall, players from both sides said they enjoyed the game, which game them an opportunity to play against – and with – players they don’t typically see. Newkirk was already familiar with National teammates Nigel Holley (New Hanover, N.C.) and Shane Whitfield (Pamlico, N.C.), as the three play AAU ball together with North Carolina Xpress.
“It’s real good,” Newkirk said. “I’ve never really played in, like, an All-Star game. It was a good experience going against the top players, and I just liked it. It was my type of atmosphere.”
In addition to Carr Baltimore got 11 points apiece from Tavon Saddler (Aberdeen), Anton Waters (Forest Park) and Tony Williams (St. Paul’s).
Sindarius Thornwell of Lancaster, S.C. scored 14 points for the National team to join Newkirk in double figures.
The National team picked up a 90-86 win over Baltimore in the Class of 2012 game, behind 17 points from Terrell Rogers (Indian Head, N.C.). James Ford of Christchurch School (Va.) and West Charlotte, N.C.’s Mark Blackmon each had 14 points.
Forest Park guard Quentin Judd had 23 points for Baltimore, and provided the highlight of the night when he threw down a dunk over 6-foot-10 Tobechukwu Okafor of Mt. Zion (N.C.). City’s Lionel Greene also had 23 points for Baltimore, while DaQuan Cook of Maryland 2A state champion Digital Harbor added 18.
Baltimore won the 2014 game 68-64. St Frances’ Allen Costley led the way on his home court with 14 points.
The National team was led by James Ergas of Chaminade College School in, Ontario, Canada. Ergas scored 15 points.
The event also featured a girls’ game for the first time, as a team of Baltimore talent took on a group of players from throughout the DMV. The DMV All-Stars won, 63-61, behind 11 points from St. John’s junior guard Mooriah Rowser.
Baltimore’s Infinity Alston (Digital Harbor) led all scorers with 14 points.
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