Hoop-It-Up, which begins its two-day run on the parking lots of Oriole Park at Camden Yards today, boasts itself as the premier three-on-three street basketball event, and with street ball comes playground trash talk.
Take Cynthia Dorsey, coach of defending women's Top Gun champions Foot Locker Three, who gives out this warning:
"I hear that some of the other teams are bringing in some other players, but the talent cannot be any better than us," Dorsey said. "I'm not bragging, but I know we have the best team."
Foot Locker Three displayed that talent by going 6-0 in last year's Hoop-It-Up in Baltimore, 5-1 at the regionals in Washington and 2-4 at the nationals in Dallas.
"Last year, we came out like it was fun and games. But when we got out there, we discovered the talent we had," Dorsey said.
Foot Locker Three retains starters Karyn Swann, Angela Jones and Angel Webb -- all former players at UMBC.
Jones and Webb worked under Dorsey at a local Foot Locker store, and Dorsey recruited them for Hoop-It-Up last year.
Jones, 25, scored four points and had five rebounds in Foot Locker Three's 7-3 win over Lelthwalk in the final at Baltimore.
Webb, 21, led the East Coast Conference in scoring and rebounding her junior year and was chosen UMBC Female Athlete of the Year. At 5 feet 11, Webb was second in the country in blocked shots that season.
Swann, 22, is the defensive specialist.
In 1991, Swann, 5-8, was chosen the East Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The only change is that Dorsey, 35, who sustained an ankle injury, will be strictly a coach and not a substitute.
So, exit Dorsey and enter Kisha Ford, last year's Baltimore Sun Player of the Year.
Ford, who is heading to Georgia Tech, averaged 21.5 points, third-best in the area, and 13.3 rebounds for Bryn Mawr. An All-Metro selection all four seasons, Ford was chosen to the Kodak All-America team last season.
The defending men's Top Gun champion, Villa Maria, also is virtually intact. The starting trio of captain Marty Johnson, Jeffrey Robinson and Mike Dukes returns, with the addition of substitute Derrick Hendricks.
Robinson is the main scoring threat. He is the No. 2 career scorer at Siena and holds nine school records.
Robinson, a 6-6 swingman with precise outside shooting, sees Hoop-It-Up as a chance to play competitive basketball close to home.
"To me, it's fun. But it's also competitive, because you run into some good ballplayers," Robinson said.
Robinson last played professionally in 1991 with the Empire State Stallions of the United States Basketball League. Former Towson State Tigers Johnson, Dukes and Hendricks played professionally overseas.
The third annual Hoop-It-Up in Baltimore is the 37th stop on the tour this year. Hoop-It-Up tournaments will be held in 50 cities in the United States, 14 in Europe and 11 in Japan.
The tournament in Baltimore will be played on more than 80 basketball courts and more than 4,000 players are expected to compete in 70 divisions.
Besides the games, Hoop-It-Up offers 10 skills competitions that include two dunk contests, a long distance shootout and two timed speed shooting contests.
The Hoop-It-Up tour is produced by Streetball Partners International, Inc. of Dallas and Global Sports of Philadelphia, and it is supported by national and local sponsors.
What: Third annual Hoop-It-Up three-on-three basketball tournament. Benefits Cystic Fibrosis and Baltimore area high school athletic programs.
When: Today and tomorrow, both beginning at 9 a.m.
Where: Parking lots of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Who: More than 4,000 participants on 80 courts.
TV: Channel 2 has live coverage noon-2 p.m. on Sunday.