Updated: 4/18/03 2:11 PM ET
After playing in both the McDonald's All-America Game and the Roundball Classic, LeBron James undertook his third prep all-star game at Thursday evening's 30th Annual Jordan Capital Classic at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. No one else had played in three games - that third game means the player is ineligible for his freshman season (NCAA by-law 14.6).
So much for the announced deferral of James' decision on NBA vs. college.
LeBron does put on a show. Tonight he was clearly the most athletic player on the floor and was named the MVP for his Silver Team, taking the crown as the Minute Man (34 points in 34 minutes). But there was another MVP: Shannon Brown who led his Black squad to the 107-102 victory. Brown had 27 points in 32 minutes, 21 of those in the second half.
The lead see-sawed throughout the first half with the Black team taking a four point advantage (54-50) at halftime. James had 17 points and eight rebounds and was aided by Oklahoma-bound Brandon Foust (right) with 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor.
The Silver team was paced in the opening stanza by Chris Paul (Wake Forest) and Dion Harris (Michigan) who poured in 11 points each along with Kansas recruit (at least at this point) J.R. Giddens' 10 points.
Brown, who was held to six points in the first 20 minutes, understood his role after the break. "I knew I needed to take charge and put some points on the board," said Brown who did have six assists in that first half.
The Silver team was able to maintain their lead until Brown's three-pointer at 7:19 put the Silver on top, 85-82. They would never relinguish this edge as their tenacious defense held off the Black team's surge in the closing minutes.
Brown was 12-17 from the floor, including 3-6 from behind the arc, as he led the victors with 27 points. Paul led another quintet in double digits with 18 points on 8-11 shooting, along with six rebounds, five assists and six steals. Courtney Sims (Michigan) paced the Silver with nine boards.
James was remarkably consistant with 17 points in 17 minutes in each half for the game high 34, but on 13-30 shooting. He also had six assists and six offensive and six defensive rebounds.
Uncommitted senior Linas Kleiza headed four other double digit scorers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Duke-bound Kris Humphries tied James for the game high of 12 rebounds.
As the game ended, the electronic media surged onto the court, mostly focusing on James for the 11 o'clock news or ... The announcement of the MVPs was delayed as a result.
When the dual MVP awards finally were broadcast, a portion of the remaining crowd actually booed James' annoucement. One speculation was that these folks were Carmello Anthony supporters.
This game met its expectations with top athletic performances, a tightly contested battle and a good deal of unselfish play with teammates looking to set up their compadres for alley-oops and the like.
James is on his way to the pros. The remaining athletes are heading to the college ranks. That seems just fine.