Cam Reddish sat in the locker room for a moment of peace. The crowd of nearly 500, including Isaiah Whitehead of the Brooklyn Nets, watched a first-round game at NYC Jam, but Reddish sat alone, adjusting his socks. Not 15 minutes later, Reddish would be on the court, taking part in a furious two-on-two contest, recreating the classic NBA video game at the Milbank Center in Harlem.
Amid the hectic schedule of being a Top-10 high school basketball recruit—which includes everything from AAU and charity games to recruiting trips and interviews—NYC Jam represented a moment to breathe. An opportunity to show off the handles. An event where dunk contests break out mid-game. An opportunity to let loose and have fun.
"I've got a few tricks up my sleeve," Reddish said, moments before leading his Team USA two-on-two team to a 54-42 victory over the Magic NYC Jam squad.
At the inaugural NYC Jam, the two-on-two matchups could turn on a dime, switching from three-point shootouts to dunk fests to crossover contests. Featuring some of the best high school basketball prospects in the country, the event turned into a showcase, entertaining the crowd on a rainy August night.
The first round ended up with the semifinals set up between the Raptors, featuring Luther Muhammad, Bryce Wills and Jose Perez, and Team USA, featuring Reddish, Mohammad Fofana and Emmitt Williams. The first half consisted of a lot of trades, dunks and long range threes, with Williams hitting a deep trey at the buzzer of the first half, the game tied 22-all.
With two minutes remaining, Team USA led 34-30, and things tightened to 38-37 with only a minute left. Reddish hit a go-ahead shot with 35 seconds left to bring USA into the lead, but with 0.5 seconds remaining, Perez hit a layup to upset Reddish and the favored USA, putting the Raptors in the finals.
The second game of the semifinals pitted the Sonics, featuring Noah Farrakhan, Jalen Gaffney and Richard Springs, against the Celtics, featuring Dashawn Davis and Justin Winston. The first half ended with the Sonics leading 22-17 with Farrakhan catching fire from deep three-point range and Gaffney showing off his hops with several high-flying dunks. The Sonics cruised to the finals after winning 43-30.
This set up the finale between the Raptors and the Sonics. After his game-winning shot against Team USA, Perez came up big again, tying the game late at 39-39 to send the match into overtime, where the Raptors dominated. Muhammad showed off some slick handles and deep range while keeping the Sonics nearly scoreless in the two-minute overtime, finishing off the 50-41 victory with a dunk.
As the crowd rushed the floor following the victory, and as the Raptors trio held up their championship trophies, cameras flashing, many taking videos on their Snapchats and Instagram stories, Wills looked at the roof, a big smile on his face.
"You only know," Wills said. "'Chips only."