AAU basketball for the big boys

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

When Rico Smith and Tony Banks, coaches of the local Louisa Pride AAU youth basketball league, were searching for a way to raise money to benefit the program, they didn’t look far.

They didn’t need to.

Smith and Banks stuck to basketball, a sport that they have used to change the lives of local youths, as a means of eliciting donations. The two have organized the first annual “Who’s Got Game” basketball extravaganza, a five-on-five tournament set to be held on Saturday, May 17 that organizers hope will entice some of the best ballers in the area.

The tournament is being held to raise money that will pay for the ninth and eleventh grade Louisa Pride team’s travel to the esteemed annual Commonwealth Subway Games in Roanoke in mid-July. Parents travel with the team for the weekend tournament to provide supervision and a more familial feel to the event. This year, Smith said Pride officials wanted to ease their financial burden.

“What we want to do is raise money that will pay for the hotel for the parents,” Smith said. “The money is going directly back to hotel expenses in Roanoke.”

Unlike most charity tournaments though, the “Who’s Got Game” competition will feature five-on-five, full court basketball at the Betty Queen Center. Teams will be allowed to have a maximum of 10 players, all of which must be 21 or older. Organizers are even providing officials certified by the Virginia High School League.

Smith said that a maximum of eight teams will be able to participate in the event, and each team is guaranteed to play at least two games, after which the teams will be reseeded and the single-elimination portion of the tournament will begin.

“It’s going to be just like an AAU tournament, just for adults,” Smith said.

To read the entire story, see the May 1 edition of The Central Virginian.

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