Former Maryland great Torrey Smith has worked diligently to have an impact on the lives of children in the Baltimore area since founding the Torrey Smith Foundation in 2011. One of the main avenues Smith has used to raise money for and awareness of his foundation has been the annual celebrity basketball game, which will be held this Saturday at the Comcast Center.
Smith will be co-hosting this year's event with the Washington Redskins’ Ryan Kerrigan. The event is appropriately dubbed "The Battle of the Beltway" and for the first time will be played at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center.
"I'm excited about moving it to the Comcast Center," Smith said Wednesday afternoon. "It's obviously a place I have some great memories watching our college team, that I still support until this day, playing some huge games there."
Torrey had previously held the event at his high school but the popularity of the event forced Smith to find a bigger location that could accommodate the increased demand for tickets.
"For the school to allow me to have my event there, it's pretty special," Smith said. "I love the school and I'm proud of it. For them to help me out and allow me to have the game at the venue like that is special. Obviously, It's grown from my high school but to have it at the University of Maryland, a class university, I'm proud just to continue to be associated with it."
Smith partnered with Kerrigan, who he's known since before he was drafted by the Ravens. The two players came together and used a Baltimore vs. D.C. theme to add a local flavor to the event.
"I'm glad that he decided to team up with me to benefit both of our foundations because obviously he's one of the top players in our league and in this area," Smith said about Kerrigan. "For both of us to team up and try to benefit our communities with where he is now with the Redskins, he's really helping the D.C. area. I'm from Virginia and I went to school in the same area he's looking to help. Obviously, I'm in Baltimore now, so for me, my ultimate goal is to kind of connect [interstate] 95, help all the way up 95. Ryan is doing his part to help in their territory and he's doing a great job."
Connecting D.C. and Baltimore's communities meant that holding the event at the Comcast Center not only provided a fantastic venue for the event, but an ideal location as well.
"The location is awesome too," Smith said. "I've had the Redskins-Ravens theme for the past few years. It's close to D.C., not far from Baltimore. Ravens fans can come on down, Skins fans, obviously, it's even more so in their territory. It's an easier commute for everyone, to play right in College Park, so everything is just perfect about the location."
One of the fun parts about the game is being able to have some friendly competition with friends, as well as current and former teammates, both at Maryland and in the NFL. And one battle I'm sure many Maryland fans will be looking forward to will be between Torrey and former Terp and Twitter legend A.J. Francis, who will be suiting up for team Kerrigan.
"If you could see my text messages from him," Smith said when I asked him about Francis. "It's been something every two days about 'I'm going to be MVP' and 'you put me on the other team.' I'm like, A.J., come on man. I played with you at Maryland. You're weren't that good, bro."
Smith continued about Francis' basketball game, but ultimately said there is no way his former teammate is going to be MVP.
"A.J.'s a good athlete," Smith said. " I'm looking forward to actually competiting against him. As you know, we had intramurals back in College Park, the team I was on, we won it every year. A.J., he actually was on our team when he came in. He's a part of it, A.J. can play ball. But he's crazy if he thinks he's going to be MVP. Every two days there's something from him. Every two days."
And after our call, Torrey took to Twitter to make sure A.J. knew he wasn't winning the MVP award:
@AJFrancis410 I just got done doing a conference call and told everyone how you think you are going to win MVP haha nonsense— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) March 26, 2014
Smith also announced on the call that he'll be awarding a scholarship at halftime of Saturday's game in memory of his late brother, Tevin Jones, who passed away after a motorcycle accident in 2012.
"We're able to keep his name going through someone else, each and every year, who will know who he is because of this scholarship. To keep his name going and help people in the process, we're all looking forward to that."
Below is a roster of Torrey's team for Saturday's game:
|Torrey Smith||82||WR||Baltimore Ravens|
|Gerrard Sheppard||7||WR||Baltimore Ravens|
|Haloti Ngata||92||Nose Tackle, DE||Baltimore Ravens|
|Jacoby Jones||12||WR||Baltimore Ravens|
|Lardarius Webb||21||Cornerback||Baltimore Ravens|
|Marlon Brown||14||WR||Baltimore Ravens|
|Terrell Suggs||55||OLB, DE||Baltimore Ravens|
|Tyrod Taylor||2||QB||Baltimore Ravens|
|Marcell Dareus||99||Defensive Tackle||Buffalo Bills|
|Joe Haden||23||Cornerback||Cleveland Browns|
|Tori Gurley||81||WR||Cleveland Browns|
|Anquan Boldin||81||WR||San Francisco 49ers|
|Anthony Allen||35||RB||Buffalo Bills|