Week 5: Abdul-Rauf, 3-Headed Monsters Look to Stay Perfect
By Craig Ellenport July 17, 2018
Three-Headed Monsters coach Gary Payton had just called timeout with his team and Tri-State tied at 48 in the marquee matchup of the BIG3’s Week 4 lineup. Payton’s squad had possession and the next basket for either team would win the game. Everyone knew what was next: Get the ball in the hands of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. After all, the 49-year-old sharpshooter already had two game-winning shots in the first three weeks of the season.
“You don’t ever want to leave this guy open when the game is on the line,” BIG3 commissioner Clyde Drexler said last week, after Abdul-Rauf’s 3-pointer stunned the Killer 3s.
When action resumed, the Monsters immediately got the ball into their playmaker’s hands … but he didn’t shoot. Abdul-Rauf, drawing a double-team, dished a perfect bounce pass to Qyntel Woods, who had a clear path to net for the game-winning layup.
Heading into Miami’s American Airlines Arena for Week 5, the 3-Headed Monsters are the last remaining undefeated team in the league. Co-captain Reggie Evans has been the BIG3 Player of the Week twice and newcomer Woods has made a big contribution to the team’s success. But with team captain and reigning MVP Rashard Lewis out for the season, it’s Abdul-Rauf who has energized his team.
“Mahmoud is just one of those guys,” said Drexler. “He’s a gym rat. He loves the game, and he’s the epitome of what the BIG3 is all about – having fun, showcasing his skills, enjoying the sportsmanship of playing professional basketball.”
Drexler has referred to Abdul-Rauf as “Uncle Drew” because of the grey in his beard. To put the age factor in perspective: When Abdul-Rauf was drafted by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in 1990, current teammate Qyntel Woods was 9.
“He is an example to every single one of us that age and other factors don’t need to limit performance,” said BIG3 CEO Amy Trask, “because what he’s doing is magnificent.”
More than age, it’s about toughness for Abdul-Rauf. Not only is he the oldest player in the league. At 6-1, 160 pounds, he’s also among the smallest. The BIG3 can be very physical and, as Drexler pointed out, he’s taken a few big blows already.
“He doesn’t complain,” said Drexler. “He gets up, dusts himself off and he comes back stronger. He’s what we want every player in the BIG3 to be.”
Not surprisingly, BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube also had great praise for Abdul-Rauf.
“His durability is remarkable,” said Cube. “He’s there every week and he’s playing. Some guys that are younger are getting nicked and missing a week here and there. But here we go… 49-year-old guy, there every week. And not only there every week, but he is a game-changer.
“This is what the league is about – guys like that still letting you know they got it.”
Here’s a look at this week’s games:
TRI-STATE (3-1) vs. GHOST BALLERS (0-4) – 7 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch
Despite the record, the Ghost Ballers have been in all four games this season, thanks in large part to their prolific scoring duo of Carlos Boozer and Ricky Davis. Boozer is fourth in the league (17.3) and Davis is sixth (15.3). Boozer also is tied for the league lead in rebounding (10.8) — one of just two players in the BIG3 averaging a double-double. … David Hawkins continues to be a surprising scoring leader for Tri-State. Hawkins is third in the league (18.0). He also leads the league with 16 assists. … Nate Robinson, who last week became the second player in BIG3 history to be ejected when he drew two technicals, is averaging 11.3 ppg. Robinson and Hawkins each have a pair of 4-pointers.
KILLER 3S (1-3) vs. BALL HOGS (1-3) – 8 p.m. ET on FS1
Both of these teams have been pretty competitive in their three losses, so expect a close game. … Ball Hogs co-captain DeShawn Stevenson continues to be among the league leaders in 3-pointers. … Still waiting for top overall pick Andre Owens to have a breakout game. In the meantime, the Ball Hogs have gotten a strong contribution from newcomer Jermaine Taylor, who has had back-to-back double-digit scoring games. … Killer 3s co-captain Stephen Jackson is fifth in the league in scoring (15.8 points per game) and fourth in rebounding (6.3). … Co-captain Metta World Peace returns to action after being ejected early in last week’s loss… Newcomer Josh Powell came in when Metta got ejected and played a strong game with 14 points and 5 rebounds.
POWER (3-1) vs. TRILOGY (1-3)
The league’s top scorers go head to head – Power captain Corey Maggette and Trilogy co-captain Al Harrington are both averaging a BIG3-best 21.0 points per game. … Power rebounded from its Week 3 loss to improve to 3-1 with a win over the Ghost Ballers last week, and Maggette led the way with 19 points and 7 rebounds. He’s also third in the league in rebounds (8.0) and second in assists (3.8). … Maggette is one of three players averaging in double figures for Power, along with Cuttino Mobley (11.8) and Glen “Big Baby” Davis (10.0). … After going 10-0 and winning the BIG3 title last season, Trilogy finally got a win last week after opening 0-3. Harrington (like Maggette) had a Week 3-best 19 points. … Derrick Byars, who was traded to Trilogy last Thursday, made an immediate impact, hitting three 3-pointers including the game-winner.
3-HEADED MONSTERS (4-0) vs. 3’S COMPANY (3-1)
Last week, in their first game without Lewis, 3-Headed Monsters co-captain Reggie Evans stepped up with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Evans is tied for first in rebounding (10.8); he and Boozer are the only two players averaging a double-double. … Abdul-Rauf led all BIG3 players last week with 4 assists, including that dish to Woods for the game-winning shot. Woods finished with 10. … 3’s Company captain DerMarr Johnson was among the Week 4 leaders with 15 points (including three 3-pointers) and 7 rebounds. … Baron Davis is third in the league in scoring (19.0) and the only player in the league to hit three 4-pointers.
|Corey Maggette, Power||19|
|Al Harrington, Trilogy||19|
|Reggie Evans, 3-Headed Monsters||18|
|Ricky Davis, Ghost Ballers||16|
|Carlos Boozer, Ghost Ballers||15|
|David Hawkins, Tri-State||15|
|DerMarr Johnson, 3’s Company||15|
|Carlos Boozer, Ghost Ballers||16|
|Reggie Evans, 3-Headed Monsters||13|
|Stephen Jackson, Killer 3s||8|
|DerMarr Johnson, 3’s Company||7|
|Corey Maggette, Power||7|
|Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, 3-Headed Monsters||4|
Several players tied with 3
|Derrick Byars, Trilogy||3|
|Al Harrington, Trilogy||3|
|DerMarr Johnson, 3’s Company||3|
|DeShawn Stevenson, Ball Hogs||3|
|Ricky Davis, Ghost Ballers||2|
Several players tied with 1
|Carlos Boozer, Ghost Ballers||1|
|Reggie Evans, 3-Headed Monsters||1|
|Jason Maxiell, 3’s Company||1|
|Josh Powell, Killer 3s||1|