The smallest player drew the biggest crowd reaction by far Saturday at the inaugural Maryland Super 60 Showcase at St. Paul's.
With about 1:45 remaining in the Class of 2013 game, Patterson point guard Aquille Carr drove down the right side of the court, facing blanket coverage from a Team Maryland defender the whole way. After dribbling one step inside the 3-point line, the 5-foot-6 Carr crossed over once, twice, faked forward, pulled back and buried an 18-footer as his opponent literally fell to the floor after biting on Carr's fake.
"Un-uh. Nope. That's it," said a Team Maryland assistant who rose from the bench, walked to the scorer's table and called the game with less than 1:30 remaining. As the crowd erupted, Carr just smiled, having finished with 12 points to lead Baltimore to a 55-34 win. Once he pulled back and let the jumper fly, Carr said he knew it would fall.
"[The defender] was playing me hard the whole game, like he was trying to get a point across. But I wasn't even trying to go hard until the fourth quarter. So I was letting him get all his talk in the third and second. Then I just killed him," Carr said with a laugh.
It's been that kind of year for Carr, who immediately became one of Baltimore's best players in his freshman season at Patterson. Carr averaged 25.5 points, eight assists and 5.3 steals, earning Baltimore Sun All-Metro honors. Life in the spotlight is something he has come to relish."[The best part is] when people come up to you and ask you, 'Is you Aquille Carr?' and 'Can you dunk?'"
The answer to the second question is always an emphatic "yes." He had two breakaway opportunities Saturday but brought it too strong on both, with the ball ricocheting off the back of the rim. Elevation is not a problem for Carr, as evidenced by his jaw-dropping slam against City's Nick Faust -- arguably the top-ranked junior in Baltimore -- during a regular-season game.
This summer, Carr will team with Faust in Nike Baltimore Elite's backcourt for the 17-and-under age group. It's a lot of exposure for a freshman, and several high-major programs have already taken notice. Carr said he has heard from Kentucky, Memphis, Wake Forest, Delaware and Arkansas.
"It's kind of a lot of pressure," Carr said, "but I just keep moving."
• When Warren Powers Jr. takes the floor, it's hard not to wonder how the 6-foot-4 ½, 210-pound forward would fare on the football field.
After all, Powers is the son of the former Maryland football player of the same name. When the younger Powers was choosing a high school, his father had a few simple words of advice -- none of which involved him playing football.
"He kind of just wanted me to go with my heart," said Powers, who scored eight points Saturday for Team Baltimore. "Whatever I wanted to do, he just told me to go hard and do what I wanted to do."
Powers' choice was to play basketball at Glenelg Country, an academically rigorous school 25 minutes away from his Finksburg home. GCS, which doesn't have a football program, allowed Powers to showcase his game immediately.
Powers claimed a spot in the starting lineup from Day 1, averaging 14 points and six rebounds for the Dragons, who finished in the MIAA B Conference's final four. Several high-major schools have already noticed his game, including Maryland, which Powers calls his "dream school."
Xavier, Virginia Tech and Richmond are also keeping tabs on Powers, who's playing for Team Melo this summer. Powers said he'll probably play the 3 in college, unless he outgrows the position -- a distinct possibility with a father who's 6-7.
"I hope I pass him," Powers said. "A couple more inches."
• For the past two summers, Powers has teamed with Anton Waters in Team Melo's frontcourt. The pair was together again Saturday, with Waters delivering one of the most eye-opening performances of the afternoon.
Waters, a freshman at the Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship (formerly Walbrook), scored 10 points with an impressive array of post moves and dunks.
"I felt good," Waters said. "I just wish the game was a little more live."
Waters, 6-5, 183 pounds, said he doesn't watch much college basketball and hasn't given much thought to recruiting. Expect that to change sooner rather than later, especially if he keeps playing as well as he did this past season.
"My freshman year was a good experience because I was a freshman playing varsity," Waters said. "And I was in the starting five averaging a double-double. So yeah, it felt good."
Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on the Maryland Super 60 Showcase.
Baltimore Sun photo of Aquille Carr by Kim Hairston / Dec. 22, 2009