Gary Ervin and his fellow Halifax Rainmen frontmen vowed to go out with a bang this weekend. They more than delivered.
Ervin turned in a 20-point, 13-assist, 11-rebound triple-double and was one of four Rainmen who prominently factored into Team East’s 144-135 victory over Team West in the inaugural Premier Basketball League all-star game before a crowd of 3,186 at the Metro Centre yesterday.
The six-foot point guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., predicted in an interview with Metro last week that a Rainman would win MVP. That honour, along with a $1,500 cheque, was his, as he helped wash away the disappointment of the Rainmen’s semifinal playoff demise.
“We just wanted to give the fans some excitement,” Ervin said.
“It was a little bit of trash talk when I said (a Rainman would win MVP) but it was a little bit of confidence. I know we work hard and we’re competitors.”
Rainmen were the top three scorers in the typically relaxed, lightly-defended contest.
Desmond Ferguson followed Ervin with 19 points on five three-pointers; Eric Gilchrese, an injury fill-in for Tony Bennett, had 18; and Eric Crookshank chipped in with 13.
The six-foot-eight Crookshank has never hit a three-pointer during his three-year Rainmen career, but jacked up nine shots from beyond the arc yesterday and drained three of them.
It turned out he had a bet with West head coach Michael Ray Richardson.
“I said I could hit five and if not I had to take him out to dinner,” Crookshank said.
“I guess I’ve got to take him to dinner.”
But his .333 percentage has him pondering a change to his game.
“Next year, I’m gonna add that to my arsenal,” he kidded.
Team East finished with nine players in double figures and spread the offence around.
Team West, meanwhile, had outstanding individual performances from Lincoln Smith (33 points, eight rebounds) and Elvin Mims (23 points, 12 rebounds).
“Some people can be selfish in all-star games but we did a great job sharing the wealth,” Ervin said.
Total weekend attendance was 6,402.
“It was unbelievable,” Crookshank said.
“It was an exciting weekend and I think the kids and the fans are just blown away.”