The Big Shots AAU Basketball Tourney invaded Washington, D.C. on April 9 and 10, bringing out some of the most high profile high school players in the region. With college scouts and other notable basketball browsers in the building, all eyes were centered on Baltimore’s Aquille Carr. The Patterson High School (Baltimore, Md) product is nothing short of an athlete, literally. The 5-foot-6-inch Carr did double duty over the two-day tourney, hooping with two AAU teams both 16 and 17-years-old. Carr, 17, is just a sophomore, which allows him to practically play nonstop with his summer hoops team, the Under Armour Baltimore Panthers.

On the final day of the tourney, Carr brought what’s quickly becoming a bit of Baltimore City folklore to the Capital Sports Complex in District Heights, Md. The Baltimore Sun’s 2011 Player of the Year narrowly missed out on a 17-and-under title on a buzzer-beating three pointer but returned immediately to action and won a championship for his 16-and-under team.

“I just keep my head,” Carr said about playing for two teams. “I know my teammates are going to help me out because they know I’m coming from game to game so when I’m tired they help me out. It’s a good chemistry around our team so basically we just know how to play and we play off of each other.”

Carr didn’t need much help for his last game of the day, finishing strong with some impressive drives to the basket, a few lightening quick passes and some effortless shooting. The 16-and-under title game moonlighted for some redemption after a poor showing in his 17-and-under game. The legend around Carr is apparently brewing as evidenced by the standing room only space for his 17-and-under title match. A few chants of “overrated” rang out from a pair of hecklers, or “haters” as Carr calls them, in the stands after a string of sloppy turnovers from the point guard.

“It’s just normal to me,” Carr said about the increasing attention. “I don’t worry about what people are saying and just play.”

It wasn’t just the “haters” who were out to see Carr perform, a small contingent of basketball scouts who attended the tourney were all in line to catch a glimpse of Carr.

“He’s good, small, but man can he play,” said Clark Francis, publisher of the HOOP SCOOP, a nationally acclaimed recruiting service.

The Baltimore City phenomenon is scheduled to return to action in the area on April 30 when Big Shots travels to the Leadership Through Athletics (LTA) sports facility in Lansdowne, Md to host another two-day tournament. Carr will need all the rest he can get as he’s expected to be pulling double-duty once again. The life of a living legend never gets a rest.

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Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO