For the first time in 13 years, Mecklenburg County will not have a major Christmas tournament. The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission decided to not put on the Bojangles Shootout this year due to financial concerns.
I think the tournaments economics are tough at the Bojangles Coliseum, which seats nearly 10,000 and requires heavy loads of tournament officials and police. Hosting the tournament on campus always worked best in the tournaments history, and heres hoping that the Sports Commission, or a private entity, will step in and bring back big time holiday hoops to Charlotte in 2013.
Once upon a time, the Bojangles was among the best Christmas tournaments in America and drew many of the nations best players. It also drew overflow crowds to Charlotte Latin and Marvin Ridge High Schools.
So while there wont be any big time basketball after Christmas in town, theres a pretty strong tournament in Gastonia this week, the Upward Classic.
Its got a strong regional field and some serious talent. The event runs Thursday through Saturday at Gaston Day School, which is about a 30-minute drive from uptown Charlotte. I think this event wouldve been better at Providence Day or Charlotte Latin, somewhere in town, but the drive isnt overly long to see some good hoops.
In the field are three of the areas top teams: N.C. Independent Schools 2A state champ Northside Christian, two-time Western Regional qualifier Berry and N.C. 4A power Vance.
Each will be tested.
Vance, for example, plays North Gwinnett, Ga., Thursday at 3 p.m. North Gwinnett has a pair of talented sophomore guards in Tobias Howard and Kamaran Calhoun. Vance has a talented group of guards, too, including Torin Dorn and Malik Massey.
Northside plays Oldsmar, Fla., in the best Thursday game at 6 p.m.
Oldsmar has three players who have signed with colleges, including former Salisbury forward, 6-foot, 8-inch Tony Nunn, committed to North Texas. Oldsmar also features 6-11 Glen Pierre, headed to Georgia Southern, and 6-1 guard DJ Bowles, who plans to play at Wichita State. And Oldsmar 6-8 sophomore forward Alex Owens is the top ranked player from Florida in his class.
Northsides 6-8 Luke Morrison is an Army recruit and 6-9 forward Phillip Reed is fielding D-1 offers. Northside juniors James Demery and Keyshawn Woods are two of the best in the state in their class.
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Berry plays Gaston Day, which features former Kennedy Charter guard Trevor Anderson, who is a national recruit in the 2015 class. Berrys Cazemon Hayes has signed with Delaware.
The Upward Classic is a strong event. Im glad its around.
Thursdays pairings: Gaston Day vs. Vance girls, 1:30 p.m.; North Gwinnett vs. Vance, 3; Northside vs. Berry girls, 4:30; Oldsmar vs. Northside, 6; Gaston Day vs. Berry, 7:30
Charlotte Catholic will host its Holy Angels Tournament Thursday through Saturday. The event features a local field: Boys and girls teams from Catholic, Queens Grant, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons, Porter Ridge, Charlotte Latin, Providence and Marvin Ridge. Also in the tournament are Piedmonts girls and Forsyth Country Days boys.
Thursdays pairings: Queens Grant girls at Catholic, 3:30 p.m.; Providence girls at Charlotte Latin, 3:30; Queens Grant at Catholic boys, 5; Cardinal Gibbons girls vs. Porter Ridge at Catholic, 6:30; Marvin Ridge girls vs. Piedmont at Charlotte Latin, 6:30; Providence boys at Charlotte Latin, 5; Marvin Ridge vs. Forsyth Country Day at Charlotte Latin, 8; Cardinal Gibbons vs. Porter Ridge at Catholic, 8.