Slam Dunk tournament returns to Delaware

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 (photo courtesy Slam Dunk to the Beach)

(photo courtesy Slam Dunk to the Beach)

It’s back. The high school basketball tournament that featured dozens of future NBA all-stars returns to Delaware this weekend.

Lebron James. Carmelo Anthony. Kevin Durant.

Just a few of the basketball superstars who took played in the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament in Lewes, Delaware more than a decade ago.

After a decade-long break, the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament will draw some of the best high school basketball teams to the First State between Christmas and New Years.

“You hear the name Lebron and Carmelo and Dwight Howard, our vision and what we wanted to do was recreate that,” said Matthew Robinson, chairman of the Delaware Sports Commission. Robinson and the commission want to restore the event to its former glory.

“Our hopes are that players that are playing this year and future years are going to be the next superstars playing top level college basketball and so forth,” Robinson said. And there’s a good chance at least one of this year’s participants will make a big splash in college. “Just for example this year, we have Isaiah Briscoe from Roselle Catholic who just signed with Kentucky and is ranked the number one point guard in the country.”

Lebron James alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary High from Ohio will also be playing in the tournament.

Tarnished reputation

The tournament’s reputation was tarnished after it’s abrupt cancellation in 2004 amid financial allegations against original organizer Bobby Jacobs.

Jacobs was eventually sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution for taking money from the tournament fund.

“We talked a lot about that it’s time to move forward and let’s start making our own history,” said Robinson. “We’re well aware of what occurred last time, and I think we’ve put the appropriate measures in place that that’s not going to happen.”

The crown jewel

While the sports commission’s work ranges from Senior League softball in Sussex to NCAA tournament games in Newark, Robinson sees Slam Dunk to the Beach as the commission’s crown jewel.

“During the six years of the organization, we were looking for a signature event that we could really put our, associate ourselves with, and during that time we often heard about the slam dunk event,” Robinson said.

And with Governor Markell and other state leaders joining Robinson for the tournament’s kick-off announcement, he knows there will plenty of eyes watching to make sure this year’s event is a success both on and off the court.

“We just want the fans, the players and the local business to all have a great experience and then like you said, it’s just a no-brainer to have for future years.”

While hundreds are expected to attend the games at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, the tournament will be broadcast on radio, TV and online with ESPN3 and My Cozi TV Delmarva. ESPN3 will deliver the December 29 game between Roselle Catholic High School (NJ) and Gonzaga College High School (DC) live at 6:00 p.m.

Games will also be broadcast on radio. One game each day will be aired on Fox Sports 1290 AM, WDOV 1410 AM and Fox Sports 960 AM. The games can also be heard nationwide on FoxSports1290AM.com, WDOV.com and FoxSports960.com. 

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