Jordan McRae and Trae Golden gave a glimpse of what Tennessee fans have to look forward to in coming years, as the Vol signees showcased their skills in the Night of Future Stars event on Friday at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a gym filled with Cardinal red and Wildcat blue, fans booed as the public address announcer introduced not one, but two Tennessee signees.
Seemingly unfazed by the crowd, however, Golden and McCray were all smiles.
The first event of the night was the 2-on-2 tournament. Golden and McRae, paired as teammates, were matched up against ESPNU 100 shooting guard Trey Zeigler and McDonald’s All-American Ray McCallum.
After a couple of misses from beyond the arc, McRae grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a slashing Golden for a layup.
But two buckets by Ziegler and a 3-pointer by McCallum put “Team Tennessee” behind 7-2.
After knocking down a mid-range jump shot, McRae caught fire from long range, hitting two 3-pointers that cut the lead to one.
A defensive stop put the ball back in McRae’s hands with a chance to win the game. The talented guard from Hinesville, GA squared up and launched another 3-pointer. But this time, the shot rimmed out.
On the next possession, Trey Zeigler scored the game’s final basket and earned a hard-fought 14-10 victory.
The Tennessee signees weren’t able to take down McCallum and Zeigler, but neither could anyone else. The talented duo advanced to the championship round where they defeated Louisville commits Russ Smith and Justin Coleman by a score of 13-10.
In the 3-point Shootout, Golden was credited with five points and McRae scored nine – just one short of the 10 needed to advance to the championship.
The final event of the evening was the Slam Dunk Competition.
Dunk contests are typically judged by which participants can elicit the biggest crowd reaction. But Jordan McRae, ranked No. 38 on the ESPNU 100 for 2010, put on quite a show in front of the hostile crowd.
After scoring just 25 out of a possible 30 points on his first attempt, McRae threw down a high-flying windmill dunk that drew a loud applause from the stands and earned a perfect score from the judges.
It wasn’t quite enough to put him in the finals, but McRae certainly proved he could compete.
Golden and McRae will take the floor again tonight in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.