But while Hanks played a 12-year-old who uses a quarter in a arcade machine to size up in a grownups’ world, Rameau used a different approach.
It was a devastating windmill dunk against ASA College in Hagerstown Community College’s 93-84 victory in last Saturday’s NJCAA District 3 playoff game. The move not only changed momentum in a tight game, it has become the Hawks’ calling card as they enter a Big world.
By winning the district title, the Hawks advanced to next week’s Division I national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., for the first time since 1994. Rameau’s slam over a taller ASA opponent is about to become HCC’s “coming of age” moment.
“The play that Kervin made is the type of plays we are going to have to make in the national tournament,” said HCC coach Barry Brown. “The other teams now are going to be much bigger and they are more talented opponents. We will be facing bigger everything.”
Everything will start super-sizing for the Hawks (29-4). Every one of a possible five games in six days — starting against Lee (Texas) College on Monday at 5:30 p.m. — will be played on the biggest stage in front of some of the biggest crowds HCC has experienced.
And, of course, the biggest tournament title the Hawks have ever played for will be on the line.
“This is a great opportunity for us — to get on the court and play a gifted, athletic team,” Brown said. “We have to get out there on the big stage and play in a relaxed manner.”
The Hawks play many styles, but the most efficient is playing efficiently. HCC has shown tendencies to try to play too uptempo, but in this case it will have to attack each game with big expectations.
“We have to play solid defense and play bigger than we are to rebound against bigger teams,” Brown said.
“We have to control the tempo and make the best out of each possession,” Brown added. “We are going to have to watch playing time because of the possibility of playing five games in six days.
“We have to be confident and be aggressive and give contested looks at the basket. We will be playing on a court that is no one’s home court, except for Hutchinson, so getting momentum will be important. Most of all, we have to do it together with no complaining and just do what we have to do.”
It is a David vs. Goliath attitude, because in some ways, if the Hawks handle the situation correctly, being smaller can have its advantages.
“We have to be able defend and rebound against them, but they will have to figure out how to defend us,” Brown said. “Being smaller can help extend defenses.”
One spot where HCC could match up consistently is at guard, with the starting tandem of 6-foot-4 Donte Thomas and 6-3 Jerel Carter. But Brown pointed out that many of HCC’s players would be considered guards on most college teams.
“We have good size on the perimeter,” Brown said. “If Thomas and Carter play as they are capable of, they can play with anyone.”
The only thing that might not be a big obstacle for HCC are the expectations.
“If we get past Lee, each game we will play will be bigger and tougher,” Brown said. “We want to play one possession at a time and be controlled and efficient.
“There is no pressure on us. A lot of the teams in the tournament are from the West and the pressure is all on them because they have been there before. We aren’t used to being in that situation. We just have to go out there and play ball and let the chips fall where they may.”