Boys Basketball: Tourney’s impact goes beyond court
BY RICK ARMSTRONG firstname.lastname@example.org October 24, 2012 10:12PM
Oswego's Elliot McGaughy passes around the Geneva defense during the Hoops for Healing tournament last November in Oswego. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2012 7:18AM
Hoops for Healing. It’s so much more than a Thanksgiving basketball tournament, albeit a very good one.
“One team will be 4-0 when it’s over, others will be 3-1, 2-2, 1-3 or 0-4, but every kid is a winner. As coaches you send the right message,” Naperville North Athletic Director Doug Smith said Wednesday night at Edward Cancer Center as he kicked off a reception for the eighth edition of the tournament that is hosted by North and Oswego high schools.
“A lot of other (Thanksgiving) tournaments, they’re just playing a game. We’ve evolved a little bit.”
The eight-team tourney has raised more than $125,000 in its history and funds two one-week summer sessions — the third week in June and first week in August — of Camp Hope that Edward Cancer Center holds each year.
Each camp session is for 40 children, ages 5-12, whose parents or grandparents have been diagnosed with cancer and are being treated locally.
Smith, a cancer survivor himself, started a similar event in 2001 when he worked at Woodstock High School. He came to Naperville in 2003 and approached Oswego officials with the idea in 2005.
The schools take part in fundraising for the event and players hear presentations from cancer survivors.
“When you receive that diagnosis (of cancer), it changes the dynamic of the family,” said Edward Cancer Center social worker Linda Conlin. “The camps play an important part in helping children who are affected by the diagnosis cope.”
Campers receive instruction in a variety of sessions ranging from yoga, martial arts and music therapy to basketball, with some of the players and coaches involved in the tournament volunteering as instructors.
“We’re hoping this helps children adjust and know they’re not alone and know there are people they can go to,” said Conlin.
High school basketball teams don’t start practicing until next week but this year’s field at Naperville North and Oswego (Nov. 19-20, 21, 23) will be a good one.
IHSA Class 4A runnerup Proviso East, which went 32-1 last year and eliminated West Aurora in supersectional play, is one of four new teams in the field. They are joined by Andrew, which went 24-3 last season; Metea Valley, which had 25 wins; and Benet, which has won 20 or more games each of the last three seasons.
Joining the two host schools are Naperville Central and Oswego East.
“We think it will be one of the best (Thanksgiving) tournaments in the state,” said Smith. “No team in the field had a losing record last year, six of them won 18 or more games and four won 20 or more. Combined, they had a record of 168-61.”
For sponsorship information or to purchase a Hoops for Healing T-shirt ($5 of the $10 purchase price goes to support Camp Hope), go to: www.hoopsforhealing.org
You can go home
West Aurora will again take part in the Rock Island Thanksgiving Tournament but athletic director Jason Buckley noted there’s a twist this year, due to a scheduling conflict at the host school.
Normally, the Blackhawks open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, return home and then trek back to Rock Island for one game Friday and two more on Saturday.
Due to the conflict, West will play host to Chicago Tilden the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the first-round game.
The game will not be part of the season ticket package at West and all seats will be by general admission, said Buckley.
Waubonsie Valley’s Jared Brownridge has verbally committed to the University of California-Santa Clara.
Warriors’ coach Steve Weemer said the senior guard had also made visits to Southern Illinois and Drake.
“Jared had multiple offers but he liked the fact that they were loyal to him at Santa Clara,” said Weemer. “They were on him early and stayed with him. He was really impressed with their business school, too, and that was important to Jared and his family. Plus, it’s a good basketball program in a good conference.”
Brownridge needs eight points to become a 1,000-point scorer at Waubonsie Valley.