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Boucher and Co. put on a show at ASU

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ALBANY -- Grayson Boucher --better known by his street-ball persona "The Professor" -- said winning was the main thing going through his mind Friday.

That didn't stop him from putting on a ball-handling clinic.

Boucher and his team, AND1, captivated the many fans who saw them defeat Team Albany, 156-139, at Albany State University's HPER gym in the Kings of the South Basketball Game.

The inaugural showcase -- dubbed "AND 1 Street Legends vs. Albany's finest" -- was organized by Fred Pickett and Albany-native and former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch.

The game served as the kickoff to The Battle of the South Basketball Tournament and Branch's own football camp, which both start today.

"The purpose of this event is to bring something to the community," said Pickett. "We hoped to give (the community) something that they hadn't seen in a long time."

As for the game itself, from the opening tip, the AND1 Legends jumped ahead of Albany's finest, which was composed of local talent and sponsored by J.L. Litman Memorial Funeral Home.

AND1 high-flyer Robert Martin, aka "50" was the go-to-guy in the beginning of the first period and, to the contrary, did most of his damage from the outside rather than with his signature, rim-rattling dunks.

"The fans support and really appreciate us being out here," Martin said.

Team Albany also put on as good show for the crowd, compiling their collection of signature moments. But in ordinance with what the fans paid $10 to see, the AND1 Street Legends turned the game solely into a high-rising affair courtesy of timely passes from "The Professor" to notable gravity-defying plays from "The Air Up There" and "Sky-High," who finished with crowed pleasing jams.

"It got a little flat out there so I knew it was time to turn it up," said Boucher." I started pushing it and luckily, dunkers were open."

And that's just what he did, as his 1-on-5 dribbling-affairs resulted in defender confusion that was acknowledge with "Oohs" and "Ahhs" from the crowd.

When he was done making the defenders chase their tails, he would throw the ball somewhere near the rim, where a member of his team would be waiting to deliver it ferociously through the net.

And the crowd cheered.

At the end of the first half, Team AND 1 led 78-55. In the second half, Team Albany tried to make it a game, cutting the score to 109-100, but Team AND 1 ironically turned up its defense, which led to a number of turnovers that helped them build back their lead and coast to a victory.

The crowd was the main concern of all parties involved.

"When the crowd is going wild is the best feeling and that's the reason we really do this," said Boucher.

Branch agreed.

"I was just trying to bring a different feel to the city," Branch said.

"This is just the beginning of it. Probably next year, I may do this with my whole weekend and probably have a flag football or a softball game as well."