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Sports

King James Tournament drawing young athletes to Akron

4/16/2009 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

GREATER AKRON — More than 580 teams of amateur girls and boys basketball players from around the country will gather in Northeast Ohio for the fourth annual Applebee’s King James Shooting Stars Classic basketball tournament. 

The tournament, set for April 24-26, will be hosted by The University of Akron, Kent State University and other local schools. It is organized by the Northeast Ohio Basketball Association, which was founded by Dru Joyce II. Joyce, head varsity basketball coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and former coach of Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James, said the tournament was created to provide a way for amateur players to receive exposure to college coaches and scouting agencies.

The tournament will consist of traveling amateur girls teams, a first for the tournament this year, and boys basketball teams categorized into brackets according to their ages. These brackets include ages 10 and younger to ages 17 and younger.

“This has been such a terrific annual event for our community; we’re really grateful to LeBron James for the many ways he has given back to his home town,” said Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. “... This event is quickly taking its place as a major event in the constellation of attractions that bring people to Akron from around the nation and the world.”

According to city officials, Akron has backed the tournament from its inception and this year will provide 27 sites in Akron on 33 gymnasium floors for the tournament. The city also will provide onsite security.

According to Susan Hamo, president of the Akron-Summit Visitors and Convention Bureau, the tournament is an economic booster.

“It brings in roughly $2.5 million to Greater Akron each year and raises Akron’s profile for its dedication to amateur and youth athletics,” she said.

The tournament is family friendly, and all games are open to the public. Weekend passes will be available at each game site for $17 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens. Daily passes are $10 for adults; $8 for children, students and senior citizens; and free for children ages 5 and younger.

For more information, visit www.neobasketball.com or call (330) 668-6547.

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