HoopHall tournament launches in NWA
Take Northwest Arkansas’ most recent high school rivalry, then add in a few nationally accredited basketball teams, a good chunk of star players, and two of the state’s tradition-rich programs.
That’s what it will be next week when the first HoopHall South Classic takes place with 10 games Thursday through Saturday inside Wolverine Arena in Bentonville West.
âThe unique side of that was when we wanted to host this event, it would be great to host it the first week of January and have the Bentonville-Bentonville West game right in the middle of the showcase,â said the athletic director of Bentonville, Scott Passmore. .
âWe were able to get some great high schools in central Arkansas and also have some of the showdowns with some of these teams. We hope to generate some interest not only from Northwest Arkansas, but other parts of the state and other states as well. “
The event is the last of four regional tournaments held in conjunction with the Spaulding HoopHall Classic, and the first will be held in the southern United States. It is managed by Position Sports, a longtime partner of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Passmore said plans to hold the event in the area began 2 years ago with Hall of Fame officials, who came to Bentonville to examine the schools and the community. The plans were finalized last January with help from sponsors like Walmart and Visit Bentonville, and Passmore doesn’t want it to be a one-year deal.
âWe want to get some good basketball in Northwest Arkansas,â Passmore said. âOur intention is that this is the first year. We don’t want it to be a one-and-done thing. We want to make basketball a big event in Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas, and we want this event to grow to the point that we have to turn teams away from coming here. We want to do it right.
In order for Bentonville and Bentonville West to play that week, some changes had to be made to the 6A-West schedule as both teams play towards the end of the conference cycle. Springdale and Fort Smith Southside hosted the two Bentonville schools and Passmore praised athletic directors Wayne Stehlik of Springdale and Michael Beaumont of Fort Smith for their assistance.
Bentonville and Benton-ville West will be joined by Little Rock Parkview and Little Rock Central, as well as Branson (Mo.) Link Prep, St. Louis Chaminade – who performed in Bentonville in 2014 – Bronx (NY) Cardinal Hayes, Glendale (Ariz .) Dream City Christian, Henderson (Nev.) Coronado, Washington (DC). St. John’s and New Orleans (La.) Carver.
âWe were able to have teams from all over and that really got us excited,â Passmore said. âIt was nice to see Chaminade on the roster, being the sporting director when they came here and played before and knowing the talent they bring.
âThe people working with the Hall of Fame provided us with a list of programs that may have come up, and we were able to focus on the teams of interest. Some of them have an interest in Arkansas with talents that are verbally committed to the Hogs, and we thought that was important as well.
A number of players who will be heading to Wolverine Arena are currently listed in the 2022 ESPN 100 rankings, including Arkansas signatory Jordan Walsh of Link Prep at No.7. Others include No.14 Julian Phillips of Link Prep (signed with LSU), # 29 Yohan Traore of Dream City Christian (not engaged), # 33 Tarris Reed of Link Prep (signed with Michigan), # 52 Milos Uzan of Dream City Christian (signed with Oklahoma ), # 59 Felix Okpara from Link Prep (signed with Ohio State) and # 78 Rickie Isaacs from Coronado (signed with Texas Tech).
Most teams will get two games in three days, with the exception of the two schools in Little Rock as Central will play on Thursday while Parkview will play on Saturday. The girls’ solo game – Bentonville vs. Bentonville West – is Thursday and will count as a Conference 6A-West game.
âFor our girls, the ability to play in a full gym with that kind of atmosphere is something our programs don’t know about all the time,â Pass-more said. “It will be a once in a lifetime experience for them and something they will last for a long time to come.”
In one look
CLASSIC SOUTH HOOPHALL
at Bentonville West High School, Centerton
ADMISSION Tickets cost $ 15 per daily session and are available online at www.bentonvillesportsnetwork.com. Tickets at the door are $ 20 per session.
THU 1 Bronx (NY) Cardinal Hayes vs. St. Louis Chaminade Prep, 5 p.m. THU 2 Bentonville vs. Bentonville West *, 6:30 p.m.
THU 3 Branson (Mo.) Link Prep vs. Glendale (Arizona) Dream City Christian, 8 p.m.
THU 4 Bronx (NY) Cardinal Hayes vs. Little Rock Parkview, 4:30 p.m. THU 5 Henderson (Nev.) Coronado vs. Washington (DC). St. John’s, 6 p.m.
THU 6 Bentonville vs Bentonville West%, 7:30 p.m.
GAME 7 New Orleans (La.) Carver vs. Branson (Mo.) Link Prep, 9 p.m. Saturday
THU 8 Washington, DC St. John’s vs. Little Rock Central, 3:30 p.m. THU 9 Henderson, Nev. Coronado vs. Bentonville West, 5 p.m. THU 10 New Orleans, La. Carver vs. Bentonville, 6:30 p.m. midday
* – girls’ match that will count in the 6A-West Conference standings & – will count in the 6A-West Conference standings