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AOW: Beaver leads Cru to tourney championship

August 21, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

For a good basketball team to distinguish itself among the elite teams, there is one thing it needs more than anything else — a No. 3 scoring threat.

For every Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant there is a Derek Fisher, and formerly a Glen Rice, to take the pressure off the top two scoring options.

Such is the case for the Cru recreation basketball team out of El Centro. Robert Christiansen and Vincent McSee are the clear-cut top two scoring threats, but stepping up as the No. 3 is Javar Beaver.

In four wins at the SOS Baller Jams tournament in Brawley last weekend, the 15-year-old Beaver totaled 85 points to go with 11 steals, earning team MVP honors and leading the Cru to the championship.

"I really think some of those other teams went in there over confident and didn't really take us seriously," said the 5-foot-8 Beaver. "So we kind of used that. For me, I just went in hoping to do the best that I could and try my hardest."


The output is a bit of a turnaround from a final game the Cru played in a tournament in Las Vegas the previous week. Beaver played a solid first three games in the Las Vegas tournament, averaging near 15 points, but fell victim to foul trouble in the final game, limiting his playing time and scoring.

"He really bounced back from that Vegas tournament and scored back to where he's capable of," said Cru coach Von Gaines. "He really struggled in that last game because of foul trouble. But he put it behind him and stepped up in this tournament."

Averaging a little more than 21 points per contest, Beaver, who plays shooting guard and small forward, led the Cru to double-digit wins over the Kings 2 in the title game, along with wins over Dynasty, DEA and the Kings.

Much like one of his favorite basketball players, New York Knick Latrell Sprewell, Beaver's play is more of a "slashing to the basket" style.

"I'll watch him play and I'll try to do some of the things he does. He's a really good player and I've learned just by watching him play," said Beaver. "Even though I've learned by watching (Sprewell), I think coach Gaines is the main reason for how well I'm doing. He's helped me a lot and I don't think I'd be half as good as I am without him. Everything I know is because of Von."

Said Gaines: "He's only played for us for two years, but he's been a starter in every game since he joined. Javar is a guy that is interchangeable in that he can play either (shooting guard) or (small forward). He's a really good basketball player and all that is because of his heart and determination."

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