It’s easy to see that the Red Bull 2-on-2 Revolution tour is picking up steam as it snakes its way down the East Coast. In the tournament’s fourth stop, Baltimore’s Cloverdale Park (where Carmelo Anthony honed his game growing up), teams from New Jersey and Philadelphia showed up, and the championship game featured Team Boston — who is actually from Baltimore.
The semifinals had an all-Philly matchup on one court, with an all-B’more contest going on the opposite court. In the Philly-Baltimore final, No Mercy, composed of Philly natives Tyrone “Redz” Hill and DeSean White, walked away with the $2,000 check, Skull Candy headphones and Kicker iPod stereos.
Not that the Charm City didn’t produce a ton of homegrown talent. Everywhere you looked, guys who played at Division 1 colleges were in action: the alumni list included Temple, Penn, UTEP, East Carolina, Cal State-Santa Barbara, Providence, Hartford and Georgia State, to name a few. Omar Strong, an up-and-coming playground legend in Baltimore who is the go-to guy on Carmelo’s pro-am squad at the Melo Center — repeat: The go-to guy on the team ‘Melo plays for — was lighting up opponents until his College Boyz team was knocked out in the quarterfinals. Former St. John’s star Marcus Hatten was also on hand, just as a spectator since he’s preparing for his next season playing pro ball in Belgium.
During a rest period right before the semifinals, an impromptu dunk contest broke out. DiAndre Brown, who looks like a miniature Dwight Howard, wowed the crowd with strong windmills, while teammate Cedric Smith (a CBA veteran), one kid who looked like DeMarcus Cousins‘ little brother, and another guy who looked almost exactly like Rajon Rondo took turns throwing down self-alley-oops.
Baltimore was also the first stop on the Red Bull tour in which a female played. Stephanie Sulik, who played high school ball in Wisconsin before moving to B’more a few years back, said she came to Cloverdale Park for her usual Saturday morning run when she found out about the 2-on-2 tournament. She found a teammate and signed up, but lost in the first round to a team of two former D-1 players. But thanks to the tourney’s “Rajon Rondo Rules,” players like Stephanie can at least make it a battle.
“The Rondo Rules makes it more even,” said B’more ballplayer Tracy Smith. “It’s not all about height and size, so small dudes like me can get something, too.”
Still, size always helps. DeSean White, a 6-8 forward, was the star of the winning No Mercy squad. In a dominating 22-4 performance in the title game against Team Boston (from Baltimore), White scored 18 points on a variety of mid-range jumpers and drives to the cup. White, who is playing professionally in Japan next season, teamed with 6-3 bruiser Tyrone Hill to own the boards and take advantage of their height against Frank Queen and Lamont “Franchise” Hawkins, a pair of 6-foot guards. In their all-Philly semifinal, No Mercy knocked off E2 (Ed Breswell and Ellis Gindraw), last week’s Philly champions.
“We’re ‘No Mercy,’ but we should have called our team ‘Too Easy,'” White boasted after picking up the check. “I don’t wanna sound cocky, but I’m confident we can beat anybody. With the talent we have in Philly, we can go anywhere and beat anybody.”
The fifth and final stop on the Red Bull tour is August 21 in Washington D.C. (Barry Farms Rec Center). Spots are already being filled and space is limited, so if you want to try your hand at the cash and prizes, e-mail us at Revolution@dimemag.com, fax us at 212-564-9219, or call us at 347-316-1924.
You can also download registration forms here: