One hundred of the most talented players from the DMV area were together in one gym in downtown Washington D.C. this weekend for the 2012 Red Bull Midnight Run. There was NBA D-Leaguer Mike Anderson, who flew in from Europe the day before to attend, Baby Shaq, the almost legendary streetball player, Corey Allmond, the man who once broke the Rupp Arena record for triples in one game and even John Wall, who came in to help judge the talent. For all of the players, it was a chance to stake their claim to being the best in the region while also getting treated like royalty by Red Bull.
The whole basis of the event revolved around Red Bull’s Midnight Run, which will be the first or two events that’ll help dwindle a roster of 100 selected players down to 35 and then finally to a final eight. Those eight will head to Brooklyn to take on the best from Chicago, New York and Boston. The players split up into units of five and on three courts in a downtown Washington D.C. athletic facility, they went at it until midnight. The goal: impress Wall and the rest of the staff in attendance enough to get invited back for the second midnight run (which will take place in September).
The players were outfitted in Wall’s signature Reebok Zig Encore sneakers, and premium Reebok uniforms, while also being given a dope Mitchell & Ness snapback hat for the event, an exclusive Undefeated Midnight Run shirt, Skullcandy headphones, a gym bag, as much Red Bull as they could drink, and their own locker. From there, the actual basketball started at around 9 p.m. and continued well into the night.
The best team in the event was probably a group of shooters who had been playing together since they were in middle school. Along with the help of Kevin Durant, they won the Goodman League Championship last summer, and this weekend, they were led by Anthony Williams and Jamal Haywood, who rained triples all night.
Some of the other standouts included Virgina Beach’s 6-8 forward Ralph Hegamin Jr., who compared himself to Carmelo Anthony afterwards, and was so good during the games that Wall was shouting him out all night. Then there was Allmond, who played this season for the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He was ripping nets from deep, and got so much love from Wall that I thought they might be long-lost friends. Truthfully, Allmond once set a record against Wall when the two of them were in school. The former Sam Houston St. star lit him and Kentucky up for 11 three-pointers in one game.
But perhaps the best part of the night was how evenly dispersed the talent was. The event’s final two games showed this perfectly. In one, forward Kelly Beidler tipped in a teammate’s miss at the buzzer to win, while on a neighboring court, two teams went at it deep into a second overtime.