Stories Beneath the Shell | Stars Shine for Charity in Torrey Smith’s Celebrity Basketball Game

From University of Maryland’s Stories Beneath the Shell News (http://www.umdsbs.com/sports/429-torrey-smith-s-charity-basketball-game)
POST 31 MARCH 2014 BY JOE ATMONAVAGE

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People from up and down I-95 flooded the Comcast Center Saturday for a dramatic finish at the Battle of the Beltway Celebrity All-Star game.The celebrity all-star game, which was put together by former Terp and current Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith as well as Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins, featured over a dozen current NFL players as well as Grammy winning artist Wale and Hall of Famer Darrell Green.
 
Smith’s team was tagged as Team Ravens while Kerrigan’s was Team Redskins.  Team Ravens, which featured top NFL players such as Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Joe Haden, Jacoby Jones, Terp alumni LaQuan Williams, and Anquan Boldin among others, won the game 63-61 in overtime on a Jacoby Jones tip-in.

Team Redskins consisted of players such as DeAngelo Hall, Fred Smoot, Antwaan Randle El, former Terp A.J. Francis, Wale, and Green among others.

While it wasn’t the smoothest game of basketball ever to be played at the Comcast Center, many of the participants could hold their own on the hardwood.  DeAngelo Hall took home MVP honors for Team Redskins while Tori Gurley of the Cleveland Browns won MVP for Team Ravens.  Hall used his quickness to get to the basket and score a lot, but also had no problem stepping behind the three-point arc and knocking down a few three balls.  Gurley, who originally committed to North Carolina out of high school to play both football and basketball, was by far the best basketball player on the court.  He scored in a variety of ways, but he got the crowd on their feet with multiple thunderous dunks.

There was a healthy amount of trash talk leading up to the game on social media, in particular between two former Terps.  Smith and Francis were bickering back and forth all week on Twitter.  Francis claimed the MVP trophy was his to lose while Smith continually told Francis it just wasn’t going to happen.  Both had solid games.

Smith used his blazing speed to get out in transition for easy layups and a few dunks.  It took Francis a little while to get going, but the massive defensive lineman was tough to handle in the post and showed off a nice touch around the rim.  It looked as if Francis was possibly going to take home the MVP trophy after he put Team Redskins up two points with a basket with under a minute left in the game.  But Team Ravens responded quickly and then finished off their opponent in the overtime session.

While it was fun to see these world-class athletes play basketball, this was much more than just an all-star game.  This was a charity event led by two classy local athletes.  The Torrey Smith Foundation and Ryan Kerrigan’s Blitz for the Better Foundation both benefitted from the game.

The Torrey Smith Foundation was founded in 2011 in order to better the lives of Baltimore area youth by providing educational support, opportunities and resources needed to excel in the classroom and life.  The goal of the foundation is to touch the lives of more than 35,000 children by 2016.  This year’s all-star game was the fourth Smith has hosted.  The previous three were at his old high school gym in Virginia, but the event has gotten so big that the move to the Comcast Center was needed.

“It is still kind of surreal in a lot of ways,” Smith said before the game when asked about how big the game has gotten.  “The biggest thing is that we are able to help more people because of it. We were able to create a different kind of environment.  It is more of a family feel this year.”

Smith was also able to honor his brother who passed away in 2012.  He rewarded four well-rounded high school students with scholarships in the name of his brother Tevin Jones at halftime of the game.  Smith called it a “big moment” for his family and foundation because the scholarship is one way it allows Jones to live on. – See more at: http://www.torreysmith.org/blogpost.aspx?ID=1015#sthash.CHiHj8ta.dpuf

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