McGonigle Hall was Pat Sajak and the
Student Pavilion was Chuck Woolery last
No, not literally, but the venues played
host to the Quaker City Shootout: Coaches
vs. Cancer Amateur Athletic Union tournament.
Bill Campo, one of the people responsible
for bringing the tournament to Temple,
said the tournament was a hit.
“The tournament has absolutely been a
success,” said Campo, the tournament director.
“Teams took a chance coming to this
tournament not knowing the level of competition that would be here. We thought they’d just be here based on reputation.”
Campo said the decision on where to play the tournament was relatively simple,
based on discussions with the state’s governing body for high school athletics.
“I was asked to contact the PIAA to see
if we could get a sanctioned tournament held here,” he said.
“They gave us an approval and Temple
was accommodating, so we chose Temple
and Saint [Joseph’s] depending on how
many teams would play. Temple had seven
courts and St. Joe’s had four, so we decided to play here at Temple.”
Breston Moody, a 10-year referee who worked the tournament, said Temple should benefit from the tournament being held on Main Campus.
“Temple is definitely going to benefit from this,” he said. “A lot of these kids that weren’t thinking about going to Temple get a chance to see the facilities. “It’s a stigma about inner city schools that they’re not safe,” he added. “But they’ll see what the city has to offer. It also shows that Temple is a first-class university.”
Charles Morgan, an assistant coach for Imhotep Charter School in Philadelphia, said the tournament was unsurpassed by other AAU tournaments he’s seen.
“As far as Philadelphia’s AAU circuit is concerned,” he said, “this one here at Temple is the best one I’ve seen in Philadelphia so far. It’s a lot of college coaches here, the games are well-organized. And it’s really great.”
A lot of coaches were in attendance. Even with NBA superstar LeBron James holding
a tournament at the same time in Ohio, more than 20 Division I coaches came to witness
the talent-laden competition.
Andrew Gabriel is one of those talented players. A senior forward at Christ the King School in Albany, N.Y., Gabriel played for Team Odom, a team sponsored by Lakers star Lamar Odom. Gabriel said he took pleasure in participating while also observing Temple’s campus.
“It’s been a great experience,” Gabriel said. “Something I’ve never experienced before. . . . Coming down to Temple was good. I really like how everything looked for the most part. With the arena we’re playing in and the way everything else looked, Temple is all right.”
But all of the talent wasn’t competing in the tournament. Current Temple players Dionte Christmas and Semaj Inge witnessed the event. Indiana Pacers forward Troy Murphy made an appearance. Local coaching legend John Hardnett was on the sideline, doing what has gained him acclaim – coaching.
A budding coaching legend, Dan Brinkley,
was also there. Brinkley coaches Prep Charter School, which has won back-to-back state championships and also claimed the Public League Championship. Brinkley coached two Division I-A-bound players in Marcus and Markeiff Morris, who each signed a Letter of Intent to attend Memphis next season.
“Philadelphia, being the [sixth]-largest city, should hold these large AAU tournaments,” Brinkley said. “There is a lot of great talent in Philadelphia and you have six Division I-A schools along with other Division II schools. It’s a basketball-rich city, so you should have these big tournaments here.”
He was also impressed by Temple’s athletic
facilities and said it might give Temple a little recruiting leverage.
“This is my first time being in the Pavilion here and this is a great, great facility,” Brinkley said. “I think it gives Temple a bit more exposure having the tournament here. When a kid is accustomed to playing in a certain facility, that’s when the idea gets started that ‘maybe I want to play for this university’ and maybe one of the kids who is starring in this tournament will star for Temple one day.”
One man who has a large say in whether a student-athlete will even play for Temple, more or less become a star, is coach Fran Dunphy, who was in attendance.
He said the focus shouldn’t be so much on Temple
“I don’t know how important it is to have it at Temple,” Dunphy said, “but it’s important to have it in Philly and recognize all the great schools and all the facilities that are available. It’s a great city to play basketball in.”
Yet even Dunphy realizes the value of having a tournament of this proportion on North Broad Street and what an opportunity it was for Temple.
“With that being said,” he continued, “I like people coming to Temple’s campus. Not only for the kids but for the parents also, to show Temple off. “A lot of people have come up to me and said, ‘I didn’t know you had all of this here to offer.’ The Pavilion is a great place to play.”
Campo said he expects the tournament to be in Philadelphia. He also said he is looking
to make it a more marquee attraction next time.”We’re competing with LeBron James’ tournament in Ohio, Penn Relays and junior proms,” he said. “Some kids have to decide what they want to do, so we’d like it to come back, but at a better time so it is more convenient.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at email@example.com.