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Torrey Smith's charity basketball game moves to U. of Maryland

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

Torrey Smith may be emerging as a star wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, but already he has created a solid foundation when it comes to charitable events.

Smith will be hosting his fourth celebrity basketball game Saturday as part of his Torrey Smith Foundation. This year's game has moved from his Fredericksburg, Va., high school to his alma mater, University of Maryland's Comcast Center, on Saturday.

Renamed "The Battle of the Beltway," the game will pit Baltimore Ravens players against Washington Redskins players. Besides helping Smith's foundation, this game also will benefit the foundation of Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

The former Maryland wideout said he's doing everything he can to make it like a Terrapins game, which he said always are family events.

"We run this charity game basically like a Maryland game would be," he said. "There will be giveaways and a halftime show and different kind of performances.

"There's face-painting going on. There's a photo booth. We really want to make it fun."

The fourth-year Raven started these charity games to bring pro athletes to his hometown as well as raise money to help youth programs.

"I was doing it at my high school, where everyone followed me through my (high school and college) career," he said. "Professional athletes just don't come to our area. We've had a few, including some that had won a Super Bowl, no one who had a big role in the game.

"No one's really done something where it could bring a bunch of athletes together and create a family environment where anyone from kids to even our grandparents could come out and have a good time. We created a game as a way to bring people down there. A lot of people love it, so now we're moving it up to the Comcast Center."

The College Park, Md., game also has changed to bring the NFL's Beltway rivalry onto the basketball court. It helps that the organizers that run Smith's foundation also manage Kerrigan's foundation.

"It's kind of way to get the fans excited about it because of the Redskins-Ravens theme," Smith said. "It's really just trying to build off of that and see what happens from there."

Smith has found during the first three years of the event that it is not easy rounding up NFL players for a basketball game. He knows that he has to invite more than will play in case someone is unable to make it.

"You get the guys to commit to it and stay with it. That's probably the biggest challenge of it all," he said Wednesday. "To be honest, we're a few days away and I've only had one person had something pop up that changed their plans.

"I'm thankful for that and I'm looking forward to everyone coming on out. I haven't seen some of the guys in a while, so it will be awesome."

The event has more meaning to Smith than just a basketball game. For the first time, it has helped his foundation raise enough money to create a scholarship fund, which will be named in honor of Torrey's brother, Tevin Jones. The first recipients will be announced at halftime.

"It's a way to bring the community together in a positive way and raise money for my foundation," Smith said of the game. "There's so many different things that we're able to do because we're in this position. It's a blessing, really, to be able to bring it all together.

"This year as a fruit of the game over the past years, we're giving out scholarships. ... We're excited about showing the people there what this is for. Being able to see some kids who have been working hard that we've been able to help -- and that's 'we' as in everybody who has been working with our foundation."

Other groups that have benefited from Torrey Smith's foundation include:

  • SPCS Youth Group
  • Westminster Boys and Girls Club
  • Dogwood Elementary School.
  • Dickey Hill Elementary Middle School
  • Starlight Children's Foundation
  • Bright Beginnings
  • And several Baltimore and Virginia grade schools

Smith said the foundation was part of his plan if he ever became a pro football player, adding he has been involved with community service since he was very young. After all, he won his first community service award in eighth grade.

He is now entering his fourth year in the NFL after having a breakout season with the Ravens in 2013.

There could be one problem with Saturday's charity event, though. His wife, Chanel, is expecting their child any day. That means he had to plan hospital logistics around College Park as well.

"I'm going to stay in a house close to the College Park area," he said. "My family's going to stay with her at the house, so she's going to only travel to the game and back. Just in case something happens, we can get to the hospital fast."

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